The Best and Worst of Kidz Bop

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By — Xandrine Foxfire

This was originally a seventeen page long review of all forty Kidz Bop Albums.  I can never get back the time I spent writing it.  It was a wild ride from start to finish.  By the time I got to the tenth track of the original Kidz Bop album, I couldn’t tell if I was laughing or crying anymore.  By Kidz Bop 20 I was in distress over how much I was enjoying myself, and by Kidz Bop 27 there was absolutely no shame left.  Just me earnestly listening to these kids sing their heart out. 

The Kidz Bop albums are… a very mixed bag.  No amount of words can actually convey the experience that is listening to any of these albums without interruption. Since Kidz Bop albums are composed of Top 40 covers, there is never a concise tone. They are also not sorted in any particular fashion, which can make the listening experience generally distressing. You’ll be listening to a very cheesy Bruno Mars song and with absolutely no warning the track will switch and a group of children will be performing a melancholy cover of The Gorillaz. This experience is both amazing and genuinely awful, and the fact that the singers are children only amplifies the ambivalence. 

Reviewing Kidz Bop albums based on the track listing felt genuinely unfair, because some of the best songs are in the worst albums. It’s like a red herring- you listen to these songs that feel painfully manufactured, with unimpassioned and recognizably infantile voices, and then you hear one song that stands out.  A track with so much talent and passion, and it’s so insanely exciting! You’re so proud of these kids, they sound like they’re having an amazing time, and for a brief moment you think the album is getting better.  Then the track switches, and you’re upset because now you’re listening to a cover of Livin’ La Vida Loca that makes you envy Hellen Keller.  A review based solely on production of the albums simply does not cut it. A quiet discussion of the best and worst Kidz Bop songs, however, slaps.

Let’s start with the worst: Bring Me To Life.  This cover is… bad.  It’s honestly so bad. The longer I listened to it the more I wished the internet never existed.  It’s that bad. Up until Kidz Bop 15 the child artists were mostly providing backing vocals for adults covering the songs. The best comparison I can find is with 90’s cartoon theme songs (The Magic Schoolbus theme is a good one that comes to mind), where an adult voice is the main focus of the song and you have kids performing little interjections and chiming in on the chorus. In the context of a theme song, this style is generally a positive and feels fun/kid inclusive. Applying it to a gothic rock song, however, is a poor decision. The kids bring in an unintentional feeling of comic relief.  The cover makes you laugh, but also feel bad because you know it’s not meant to be funny.  I genuinely believe that this is the worst Kidz Bop cover.  It made me feel like I had hives but underneath my skin, and I gave me an uncontrollable nervous laugh. If I could, I would sue the Kidz Bop corporation for the emotional distress this cover of Bring Me To Life caused me. -1000/10

Other awful mentions: Livin’ La Vida Loca, Accidentally In Love, The Frog Song, and Bang Bang.  

The best Kidz Bop song ever is Price Tag.  It’s genuinely amazing. I listened to it three times in a row and enjoyed it every single time I played it.  The kids just sound so incredibly happy and passionate, and the song is honestly a wonderful choice for a children’s group to cover.  There is a specific feeling that comes with hearing a good Kidz Bop song- it’s a full body sensation.  Goosebumps, a grin that hurts your face.  Listening to a good Kidz Bop song honestly feels like reading the autograph section of an old yearbook and seeing “H.A.G.S <3” over and over.  It’s weirdly cathartic and I highly recommend doing some soul searching and finding your favorite Kidz Bop album- it hits different. 

Other amazing Kidz Bop tracks to listen to: Pon de Replay, Put Your Records On, Jenny From The Block, and Blank Space (but like, ESPECIALLY Blank Space, it goes SO hard I’m in constant awe of the talent these children have).

I hope someone quietly appreciates these talented kids with me, and also that no one contacts me for a year because the Kidz Bop albums emotionally drained me.