(I'm premiering the "Emily Disapproves" stamp with this post. I'll use that icon to indicate that what I'm writing about should have never seen the light of day, and that Emily the Disapproving Rein-Cat would respond to the post's topic by either making an incessant, repetitive noise or peeing on something the post topic liked and/or ate dinner near.)
The question I pose here is: what's worse than Kidz Bop? That's a pretty tough one, if you ask me, because everything about Kidz Bop is so very awful. But I think I might have found the answer: Kidz Bop videos.
Make no mistake, Kidz Bop is deeply wrong. Even their name is deeply wrong, and I'm not just referring to the mispelling. Do they mean "the bop of kids" (a possessive) or "children do, in fact, bop" (a short declarative statement)? Have I already put more thought into this than the folks behind Kidz Bop did? Probably. Moving on.
Then there's the premise: pop songs covered by children. Apparently, there's a great hidden market need here that never even occurred to me. (Not that I spend a lot of time thinking about kids. Frankly, they scare me a little.) I guess I can understand that there's a kind of no-man's-land between children's songs and pop music, but I just don't think that Kidz Bop is the answer. Because there's something utterly creepy about hearing these songs sung by children.
Obviously, Kidz Bop songs don't include anything sexual (beyond the vague ideas of wanting someone, and there's really no avoiding that the pop genre) but they do include some really jacked up choices. A previous Kidz Bop release included "Float On" by Modest Mouse, with the profoundly surreal sound of a group of children peppily singing, "I backed my car into a cop car the other day -- yeah!" Deeply wrong.
Even wronger, though, is the fact that the upcoming Volume 11 has children singing "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. Yes, "Crazy," the haunting, throbbing gem about insanity and suicide. Deeply, deeply wrong.
But enough about the earth-shattering wrongness of the music, let's go to the film! Here's a Kidz Bop video set to "Move Along" by the All-American Rejects.
Leaving aside the totally pedestrian concept and execution of the video, is that kid with the mike really the lead singer? 'Cause the vocalist has clearly gone through puberty, and not to be unkind, but I don't think Blue Polo Shirt has yet. (Poor thing, he looks so scared once the roller coaster gets going, and I can totally relate to that. I talked myself into riding Da Vinci's Cradle at Busch Gardens this past summer, and once that thing started moving, I became utterly convinced that I was going to die and started screaming accordingly. After I was back on solid ground and had stopped shaking, I felt so embarrassed for J, having to be seen with The Lady Who Lost Her Shit on Da Vinci's Cradle.)
In fact, I'm pretty sure the lead vocals for most of these songs aren't done by actual children. "Walk Away" has a singer that sounds like a watered-down Kelly Clarkson, "Move Along" has someone who I'm pretty sure is at least able to vote legally, and "Crazy" has a dude who is clearly trying his hardest but can't match Cee-Lo's creepy gospel sweetness.
And here, we have what sounds like an elementary music school teacher leading a bunch of kids and a surly teenage boy in a chirpy rendition of "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence:
I love the total dissonance of the kids' voices playing over the actual artist's video. It's almost as good as a bunch of kids singing, "Save me from the nothing I've become!" (So let me get this straight: sex is bad, but nihilism's totally okay for kids?)
Volume 11 closes with a weird chant called "Chicken Noodle Soup," which was apparently an actual song recorded by DJ Webstar. It reminded me of a slower, weirder version of the classic "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" Flash animation.
I don't want to know why they left freaking siren throughout the song. I don't want to know what those damn kids were doing on 119th and Lex last night. And I really don't want to think about what violence my mom would have visited upon a CD with such an annoying song on it if I'd played it as a kid. (I'd like to think I had better taste as a kid, but I wore layered neon socks in 7th grade, so there's no guarantee I wouldn't have played something this obnoxious.)
Yes, I'd think that my darling, horrible Emily would roundly disapprove of Kidz Bop and its videos. Watch this space for more scowling rein-cats as pop culture keeps producing crap. And have a happy weekend, y'all!