Annabel and James are, as you know, wildly into music. I blew their minds last year when I introduced them to music videos. Honestly, I think James could watch music videos all day. I started showing him Kidz Bop videos on YouTube Kids, and he was obsessed. Annabel quickly became a fan, too, and now Kidz Bop CDs are on constantly in Annabel’s bedroom, our house, and our car. I honestly should have seen that coming.
Dancing to Kidz Bop’s version of “Watch Me (Whip/ Nae Nae)”
Kidz Bop is a group of teens singing kid-friendly versions of popular songs, and they’re a wildly successful operation because they’ve released a bazillion albums in sixteen years. And I mean…they’re fine. They sing well. They can dance. They’re basically Mouseketeers. It’s nice that they remove the dirty words from songs, because I don’t want Annabel singing inappropriate lyrics at school, ya know?
But have you ever really listened to the lyrics the Kidz Bop crew sings? Probably not, because you are a person with better things to do. I, however, am often a captive audience for these songs, and I’m also a person who learns song lyrics quickly. I figured they edited out only the blatantly bad words and the innuendos, but as it turns out they change the words if they could be even slightly controversial. On the Taylor Swift song, Bad Blood, the line “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes,” was changed to, “Band-aids don’t fix, dontcha know.” Even metaphorical bullets are bad, people!
Annabel got the latest Kidz Bop album for her birthday (Kidz Bop 31, omg), and I listened intently to each song to hear how they’d
ruin it change the lyrics. Almost all of them are weird or hilarious.
~The first song on the album is Justin Beiber’s “What Do You Mean,” and it only had one major lyric change, from “Wanna argue all day, make love all night,” to “Wanna argue all day, hang out all night.” This is fine, I don’t like thinking about Beibs making love, anyway.
~For Shawn Mendes’ “Stitches,” Kidz Bop completely eliminates the first two stanzas of the song, removing references to being cut by a knife by words. Bye bye, metaphors!
~In Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams,” the line “I said, ‘No one has to know what we do,’ His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room” is changed to, “I said ‘No one knows just what we went through,’ His hands are in the air, he looks across the room.” That…makes no sense, but ok.
~One of the weirdest things about my kids is how much they love Macklemore’s “Downtown”…as sung by Kidz Bop. As rap songs by white guys go, it’s fairly tame…I mean, it’s a song about mopeds. The Kidz Bop version eliminates entire stanzas of the song, meaning we don’t get to hear them sing about 1988 Mariah Carey hair (it’s very rare). They do still sing to “get off my mullet,” which makes me laugh every time, and they change, “Big girl,” to “Smart girl,” plus other little changes that don’t change the meaning of the song. And they manage to get in a shout-out to themselves, removing the part where Macklemore spells his own name in favor of spelling out “The K, the I-D, the Z,” which prompts me to remind Annabel the correct spelling of the word, “kids.”
~Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s” (I want to put a giant SIC after writing that title), is basically a song about a woman who has sex with dudes, then dumps them when someone better comes along. But Kidz Bop made it a song about finding better friends. The line, “Now, there’s one in California who’s been cursing my name, ‘Cause I found me a better lover in the UK,” is now “There’s one in California who’s been calling my name, ’cause I found me a better friend in the UK.” It also includes the verse, “1,2,3 they’re gonna run back to me, ’cause I’m the best friend that they never gotta keep.” Whaaat. Stop. I had to play Annabel some Zack Attack “Friends Forever” to combat the trauma of hearing that her friends might want to trade up.
~The one that baffled me the most was Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” THE ENTIRE SONG IS ABOUT A BOOTY CALL. How on earth could the Kidz make it clean? Well, now it’s about friends calling each other when they need to talk. You see, ever since he left the city he’s been feeling stressed out and left out! Because she’s traveling and made new friends! It annoys me far more than the original.
…I might be putting too much thought into this.
Kim Q says:
OMG, hilarious! I thought I was the only one who put so much thought into this nonsense. Of course, my 5 year old loves All About That Bass. She listens to it on Spotify, where the lyrics are not sanitized. She asked my husband, “Daddy, do you like a little booty to hold at night?” My husband thought that was the funniest thing he’d ever heard and answered her honestly, “Yep!”
That’s hilarious!!! We listen to spotify whenever I “forget” the Kidz Bop CD at home, LOL
My daughter LOVED All About That Bass. We let her listen to it on the radio because at the time she was only 5 and really didn’t understand the whole song. One day she says to me. “Mommy, I know what Booty is”… que me panicking internally ‘where did she learn that?! OMG, she understands the meaning behind the songs now, what have I done!’
But before I had a chance to say anything to her she says “It means treasure mommy; pirate treasure” Turns out they had be talking about pirates in school that day. I just about bust out laughing. We still listen to the radio, but now that she is almost 7, I make sure I’ve heard the song before I let her hear it as she understands a lot more and ask a lot more questions!!!
Kim Q says:
There is also the ever popular Pirate’s Booty snack as well. Maybe we could get together and KidzBop THAT into the song. Hahaha!
That’s funny because the version I heard WAS cleaned up, but they inadvertently made it worse. They changed “I’m bringing booty back” to “I’m bringing it all back,” which would be fine if “it all” didn’t sound a lot like “anal.” Ha!
Debbie A-H says:
Watching that video may well be the highlight of my day!
Talking about putting too much thought into it, and I hate to nitpick, but Ex’s and Oh’s is Elle King, not Ellie Goulding.
ha, they got mashed together in my head!
We are Kidz Bop listeners too. OMG I’ve been dying to know how they were going to sanitize Hotline Bling. I mean, it can only mean one thing.
It’s quite easy to imagine 10 years down the line Jamesie doing that dance in the background, while Annie and her friends are seriously rehearsing their moves to the beats of another hit song by that famous singer called Perry Swift.
Marjorie Steele says:
My son is now almost 13 and we had many years of kidzbop cd’s! I am so happy he is over them LOL. Love the video of them dancing!
This makes me happy my daughter doesn’t know these CDs exist.
I love Elle King and love her song “Exs and Ohs” but I cannot be part of that apostrophe abuse. Drives me nuts. So I agree with you.
Too many apostrophes! Where are the copy editors?!
Kayla K says:
Heather – Any idea if they make DVDs of all the KidzBop music videos? My girls love to sing, but love to dance and watch dancing even more. I wish I could find a DVD to watch instead of trying to get them off the internet all the time.
All I can find is a dance moves DVD, which is probably hilarious and has good reviews and sounds like something your daughters might like! We have AppleTV, so I will turn on the Kidz Bop channel on Vevo and play their videos on our TV!
Jana L Frerichs says:
James is an EXCELLENT background dancer! LOL
Annnd now I have “Friends Forever” stuck in my head! That’s hysterical… I guess it doesn’t have to make sense for kiddos to like it as long as it’s got a good dancing beat! But, I imagine smarty Annie will realize pretty quickly that the songs on the radio are different than the Kidz Bop songs. On another note… aren’t they on like Now 85? I had Now 3. Between that and Kidz Bop 31 I feel so old.
More so than how white-washed Kidz Bop lyrics are, it’s disturbing how trashy/violent/sexualized lyrics have become mainstream. There are very few songs my kids can really sing from mainstream radio without changing a lyric or two. My daughter loves Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good” which is so fun and so catchy, but….I don’t need my 6 year old repeating some of those lyrics.
Jen L. says:
I have a very good memory and a while back you wrote that you did not like Kidz Bop and I thought that perhaps your kids weren’t listening to it yet. Now you have been sucked in. :)My kids love it. We listen to it in the car all the time and sometimes I even forget to change the channel. I found a Groupon for Kidz Bop concert last December and we had a blast. The kids are actually talented.
I did? I don’t remember writing about them at all! Well, I still don’t really like it. I’d much rather listen to the originals!!! I don’t hold it against the singers in the group, though – they are definitely talented and several of them have gone onto bigger and better things!
I think it was a Surfing Sunday article about KidzBop! hahaha
Diane B. says:
Have you noticed they also change totally random lyrics? In Photograph, they changed “the locket you got when you were 16” to the age being 13. Okay, I get they’re playing to a younger audience, but I don’t really want my 13 yr old wearing a locket with a picture of a boy in it. What’s wrong with 16? As my 8 yr old says, “16 is NOT a bad word!”
The best ever change was “Move BITCH get out da’ way, get out da way bitch get out da way” to “Move please, let me get through, let me get through please let me get through!” I laughed so hard when we played it at camp one summer…
Our kids haven’t been in to kidz bop since 22 was released, but I used to do the same thing! Fascinated me what they changed and how they changed it. Kids used to love it though!
They are going to have a real hard time with the Facebook lyrics quizzes later in life. Hahahaha.
Haha…that’s hysterical! We listen to Kids Bop on gonoodle (an awesome dance) website in my classroom. I’ve never listened to the songs enough to hear the specific words but I’ve noticed a few times kids singing (what I thought were) odd words in popular songs but I wonder now if it’s a Kids Bop version!
I write fiction for fun, and one afternoon, I desperately needed a Kidz Bop song for the story I was writing (the plot point: a parent jamming to Kidz Bop with his daughter and receiving a speeding ticket, which is much funnier in context). The long and short of it is: I spent like an hour on YouTube, listening to Kidz Bop songs. I can’t say I enjoyed them, but at the same time, I just could not stop listening. Sucked in like a black hole.
Kathy V. says:
My teen daughter just told me there’s a Kids Bop version of Ice Cube’s “Straight Outta Compton” only it’s by “Nice Cube” in their version. Haven’t heard it but why even TRY with a song like that? lol
So my oldest babe is 19 months old and has been dancing since she could sit up. (She will literally walk into the kitchen, start dancing and sign more while pointing to Alexa if there’s not music playing) Anyway.. I was getting bored of Toddler Time radio station so I switched to Kidz Bop and totally had a flash back to this post. To be honest, it’s a nice shift from the endless rounds of Itsy Bitsy Spider and Elmo’s Song, however I’m a little nervous as I feel like I have literal years of Kidz Bop ahead of me.