When I first heard of Kidz Bop years ago, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. Selling pop hits re-sung by children sounded like a bizarre way to get parents to buy music for their kids. Aside from being a slap in the face to the artists themselves—whether or not they can be called artists; it really does vary, I suppose—this practice is just another way to get yuppie parents to buy useless junk, telling them that though today’s pop music might not be good for their children, it can be transformed into something positive when portrayed with prepubescent vocals.
But instead of quickly dying out, the product skyrocketed, apparently, and now also features social networking, videos, photos, games, and plenty of other kid-marketed pop junk to last you more than several lifetimes. And it’s not even just pop. They have kids taking on the beloved monster ballads of my youth, which should definitely only be performed by their big-haired, loud-mouthed original singers. I suppose there is a lot of adult content there that grown-ups feel more comfortable about when it is delivered by the mouths of babes.
All I can say about this is barf; my child is six and we listen to all kinds of music. Rendering pop music useless by listening to it performed by children simply doesn’t fit into our lives. She does listen to some music sung by children, of course; she has nursery rhymes and traditional children’s music on CD and so forth. That’s why it’s called children’s music, though; it’s meant to be performed by children.
We also listen to lots of classic rock, oldies, classic country, Latin music, classical music, New Age songs, and yes, even some pop. “Born This Way” is one of her favorite songs, as is “Firework.” But I don’t dumb them down for her by buying them performed by other children; she is so much smarter than that, and it would also interfere with her musical learning. Music is way too important in our home to listen to in any way other than its authentic, intended version; if we listen to cover versions of songs (and we do), I make sure to tell her that.
We both love to explore Spotify and YouTube, finding songs that we love. One of her current favorites is to look up music from the sixties that was featured on television, such as songs by The Supremes, because it’s so different from TV today. In none of our adventures do we actively seek out songs performed by children unless they occur that way naturally.
I wonder how much money those kids get paid to sing, anyway?