If you have never seen a Kidz Bop commercial, please click away from this post immediately, and save yourself from a disappointment of soul-crushing proportions.
But if you are a parent of young children, you’ll have read the title of the above video and likely muttered under your breath, “No way in hell am I gonna watch that again!”
Because today that television spot has played at least five times during commercial breaks on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, and you cannot bear to hear the Kidz’ version of “Rolling in the Deep” even ONE MORE TIME!
I mean, it’s bad enough that the Top-40 song genre is comprised of formulaic rubbish, spoon-fed to the musically-illiterate by executives trying to promote a look or a brand. But Kidz Bop takes that formula and dumbs it down a few more notches by employing a band-of-children to record cover versions for these mediocre songs. It’s aesthetically offensive.
It’s possible I’m over-reacting. Perhaps you don’t think it matters if your young ones have fine-tuned their musical sensibilities at this early stage in their lives. You may, however, have an opinion about some of the singles included in the Kidz Bop compilations. While the naughty words are indeed edited out of these songs, aren’t you creeped out knowing your eleven-year-old daughter is essentially singing Pink’s “Fuckin’ Perfect” or Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” into her hairbrush microphone?
While we debate the ethics of pushing Ke$ha on the pre-teen set and groan at the thought of Justin Bieber’s “Baby” made even worse by the Kidz Bop singers, the franchise continues to increase in popularity. It’s now in its 10th successful year and is the #1 music brand for kids ages 5-12. There’s been a World Tour, a nationwide talent contest and, coming this month, a book series!
Even if it doesn’t faze you that pre-teens are growing up a bit too early, take another look at the preceding paragraph. Kidz Bop is being marketed to children as young as five! Why aren’t these kids listening to Laurie Berkner or Ralph’s World or They Might be Giants? Even Jack Johnson! And if you’re looking to introduce your children to some well-known performers, check out this Amazon list. It’s chock full of artists who are a lot cooler than the “stars” imitated on the Kidz Bop CDs.
I’m not saying we can totally shield our children from the schlock that’s being thrown their way by eager marketers. Pre-adolescence is a time when kids begin to push boundaries, solidify their identities and emulate pop culture in an attempt to fit in. But grade school children aren’t mentally or emotionally prepared to confront the issues facing their older brothers and sisters. There’s absolutely no reason to jump-start adolescence and extend that painful phase any longer than necessary.
You should probably also turn off the TV, for that matter. But that’s a topic for another day.