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.