Saturday, September 26, 2009

Let's Bop, Baby! Or, On Second Thought, Let's Not

Somehow we have reached the stage in which the kids get to dictate the music we listen to in the car. I thought that wouldn't happen for at least five more years. I mean, they're six and three, why wouldn't they want to listen to the greatest hits of the 80's, 90's, and today? I had absolutely no say in what I had to listen to until I started driving. Kids today! (Imagine me pounding my cane on the floor next to my wheelchair.)

It all started when McDonald's gave away KidzBop CD's with the Happy Meals. I should have known that a company who can't even spell "kids" correctly is bad news. And "bop"? Who the heck "bops" anymore? That sounds like something you do down at the sock hop in your poodle skirt before sharing an ice cream soda with two straws with your steady boyfriend.

And these songs weren't from that era (the greatest hits of the 50's...). In case you (luckily) were not aware, KidzBop produces versions of popular songs with kids singing them (usually the solos are sung by adults who are impersonating the original artists). These are songs you don't need to search for, too. Just turn the radio on and you'll hear them. They are the hottest hits of today, the one-hit wonders, the bubblegum pop so schmaltzy it makes your teeth hurt. You can't escape these songs, and now they are available on CD so your kids can listen to them over and over and OVER again until you feel like beating your head on the steering wheel. Just don't get stuck in traffic, is my advice.

I felt kind of strange listening to these songs with my Very Small Children. Most of the songs had been sanitized of lyrics that might be offensive (in "Photograph" by Nickelback, the words have been changed to "oh my gosh") but some of the concepts are age-inappropriate. It just seems wrong for a first-grader to memorize all these songs about hooking up and falling in love (although I have to be honest, my kids have heard their share of Love Songs with Delilah). I just don't necessarily want them at this age to be thinking about getting this party started and being hot and then cold and ending up bleeding love. And somehow it seems that having kids sing those songs is almost worse than occasionally hearing the originals in the mall or in someone's minivan. Having kids sing them makes it seem that the concepts belong to kids, and they really shouldn't.

Being inconsistent and also lazy enough to want to avoid a fuss, I let the kids listen to those Happy Meal CD's (which had only five songs each--and believe me, they were burned in my brain) until I could check out some other KidzBop CDs from the library. (Because that's how we roll--free music, at least until the due date.) I chose the 80's Gold and later the Country, thinking maybe they might be less inappropriate than the recent hits. Hahahaha not really. I didn't even know that the lyrics to "Hey Mickey" were so risque.

So come on and give it to me any way you can
Anyway you want to do it it, I'll treat you like a man

At this point I hoped it just went over Miss Pink's head (I know it went over Mr. Blue's.) So far we have not gotten a call from the school saying she's yelled across the playground to a boy that he's so fine he blows her mind. But the country disc was odd in a different way. Some of the choices were fine, like "Life Is a Highway" and "Jesus Take the Wheel" (hey, I just noticed both of those use car metaphors.) But then there were a couple of songs in which the subject matter was just not something kids would relate to: "Why" which asks, "Why does it always come down to you leaving before I say I love you?" Which on further reflection, heart-breakingly, may be something kids are more familiar with than they should be--and in which case, why remind them that grownups can be so bad at relationships? The other one is a song, originally made popular by Leann Rimes, I believe, that tells about a thirty-year-old woman who had "thought by now she'd have a man, two car seats in a minivan" and who now tells the world that "something's gotta give."

[Side note: Something's gotta give...or what? The song is saying something's gotta give you butterflies, and you're not going to settle until you get True Love, but I don't understand the ultimatum. "Universe, you better send me a man...or I SWEAR I'm going down to the sperm bank and starting a family all by myself!"

Judging by how much help I need to raise my children, I don't recommend starting out alone on purpose. And desperation is not all that attractive. I'm just sayin'.]

And my FINAL point in this diatribe is: why remake these songs anyway? Yes, I know the answer is "to get our greedy paws on the huge sums of money spent by preteens on useless crap" but really, wouldn't you rather listen to Bon Jovi rock out instead of a pretender? The way this is going, my kids aren't going to know the difference between songs that defined an era and the cheesy cover versions voiced by overly cheerful fluting-voiced teenyboppers (there's that word again, and again I sound like an old fart!) And FYI, the Michael Jackson impersonator does a particularly egregious version of "ABC"--he couldn't even touch Michael's high notes. FAIL. I noticed while researching this post that the latest KB album includes a remake of "The Climb." Really, KidzBop? Really? Has it come to this, that a song sung by a real-life pop princess who portrays a pop princess on a TV show--in other words, a song written expressly for an audience of preteens--is repackaged and sold to that same audience?

*sound of my head exploding*

Okay, it's late and I need to get to bed because we have church in the morning. Tune in next time for my solution to this perplexing problem, or, How I Saved My Forehead from Permanent Damage.



  1. I love this post! You're so funny and clever. Those CDs would drive me NUTS. My kids are currently hooked on '50s Doris Day musicals, which isn't so bad.

  2. Also, what is with all the "kicking it"? Apparently it is appropriate to do "on the dance floor," "with my girl," "with my man," etc.

    We're listening to Hear Comes Science by TMBG. Good compromise, and no bopping.

  3. *giggle*
    I could almost HEAR your head explode!!!

    I've got 2 awards for you, go claim them here:

  4. Just wait until your kids "perform" these songs to you and your husband all dressed up and you try really hard not to frown at the content of the song, or laugh at how ridiculous the songs sound remade. That's where we are right now. Fun stuff... ;-)

  5. My CD player in my van broke about 8 months ago and I was too lazy to get it fixed but I have to say it's been nice--I don't have to listen to the kids music unless it's the radio.

  6. I can't stand Kidz Bop cd's. Boo has one, and thankfully it is dying. I won't buy them, no matter how much she begs me.

    I am with you on the music though. They are so young, and will have all the time in the world to explore their musical tastes. It is hard.

    Oh, and in my car the rule is whoever is driving gets to pick the tunes. Torture when I am driving and Hubby is in the car...Musical's it is! hahaha So mean.