Talk to me about Kids Bop

Due to negligent parenting, my daughter has eaten two Happy Meals in the last three weeks, and each of these contained a half-length CD of Kids Bop.

Each contains four pop songs, sung by kids or by young adults who sound like the original artists, plus the Kids Bop anthem. 

Can someone explain this to me? Because as far as I’m concerned, they’ve retained all the negatives of pop music while simultaneously removing any element that rendered these songs musically interesting.

I doubt the producers’ lofty goal was to drive my children into the arms of Mozart, so what’s the deal? Talk to me here. Help me understand why on earth anyone would deliberately spend money in order to obtain a CD of the same crap we can hear on pop radio (and which, I might add, I do whenever we’re in the car) with the good vocals and the cool guitar-playing stripped out.

I could understand if the music had been bowdlerized in order to remove the offensive elements. But as far as I can tell, the lyrics remain the same. I also would understand if the music had been hand-selected in order to remove elements that are unsuitable for children, but again, the selection seems to be filled with the same nihilism you’ll find on regular pop radio. Plus, the lyrics involve things children don’t ordinarily do (such as driving a car) and yet there are children singing them.

I said to my Patient Husband, “Children shouldn’t be that cynical,” which I’m afraid made my guardian angel, companion from my youth, laugh out loud. Because along with my novel, I wrote the book on being a cynical child.

Therefore, talk to me: explain this travesty to me. 

(And for the record — pun intended — I offered my daughter the real versions of any song she found attractive off these two CDs. The only good thing I can say about them is that they aren’t The Collected Songs Of Hank The Cowdog. But that’s the only thing.)


Edited to add: someone has informed me that the lyrics DO get changed, but since this is mostly a family-friendly weblog, I won’t put the specific lyric changes here.  But apparently there are songs where the term commonly used for a breeding female dog is replaced with “girl,” and “PMS” gets changed to “change your mind.” Which in a way makes the whole deal seem more sketchy, not less, to me.


  1. Jason block

    Kidz Bop is the same thing what people try to do with the cleaning up of the movies. (No disrespect intended to the CleanCopy people or Filtering DVD)

    It is trying to introduce pop music without all the bad stuff(again I dont listen)

    A more sane choice would be Radio Disney. (Disney actually has the artists record/provide cleaner version of songs.)

    Whatever happened to parental responsibility. Besides…kids need to hear the original artists do the original music. 🙂

    1. philangelus

      The lyrics don’t appear to have been changed, though. They’re not singing about popping their pills from a Pez dispenser, yeah, but there’s still things like “I don’t wanna be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately” and other hope-expunged sentiments.

      I’m not saying kids need to hear only happy-happy-joy-joy (and I *do* play pop / rock in the car, but I also know when to change the channel) but if they’re going to go through all this trouble, why not select songs that have a little hope in them?

  2. Jason block

    Oh I agree. Hope is good. But most inspirational pop is–for lack of a better world–very treacly.

    I happen to love “Place In This World” by Michael W. Smith.

  3. Wendy

    Didn’t the Ray Conniff Singers do the same thing for adults (strip all the flavor out of pop songs) back in the seventies? 😉 Meanwhile, when I was eight or so, I think I horrified my parents by developing an affinity for the works of the Kingston Trio. Talk about morbid…

  4. cricketB

    We had the Mini-Pops. No clue why it’s cute for kids to parody adult things.

    Wendy, I loved our one Kingston Trio album. They had a fun sense of tragedy. (And Stuart McClean, and Peter Paul and Mary, and Murray McLaughlin, and Roger Whittaker.)

    I agree — why leave the words but take out the rest?

    1. Wendy

      My family had several albums. I forgot the title of the song that appealed most to my ten-year-old sense of irony: the one that starts with, “There’s rioting in Africa…” followed by cheerful whistling. “The Shape of Things” was another favorite, but hardly kid-friendly subject matter.

  5. Anna

    I don’t care for Kidz Bop at all. I’m not sure I even see the value of scrubbing the bad words out of the songs.
    It seems… disingenuous to let them listen to the music, feeling like you’ve protected them from something. (What, exactly?)
    FWIW, I don’t see the value of Radio Disney, either.

    My kids do listen to pop music, I just don’t feel the need to make it kid-friendly. They also listen to kid’s music, classical, oldies, musicals, etc.