WTF Island

Children Tackle Hair Metal, Awkwardly, In Monster Ballads

In our usual mail haul this morning, Rocks Off received an invitation to a porn store's grand re-opening (natch), a copy of the brand-new Fucked Up album, David Comes To Life, and the anxiously awaited Kidz Bop Sings Monster Ballads that we have been anxiously awaiting since its creation was first whispered about on Twitter.

Kidz Bop has been running since 2001, sanitizing huge pop hits for children every few months once they have a roster of singles to cover. They are sung by children, with the more adult lyrics changed to more palatable, less adult facsimiles. The voices of the kids are way poppy and smiley, with the songs' more depressing and heavy elements smoothed into talent-show dullness.

The Kidz Bop empire came on the scene about the same time as the Langley Schools Music Project was reissued to acclaim from the indie world in 2001. The 1976 recordings of rural Canadian school kids singing current and past pop hits like "Good Vibrations" and "Sweet Caroline" were heard all over, from parties to clothing stores. Spin "Desperado" for a quick, morose ride.

A decade later, a kids chorus would sing Radiohead's "Creep" on the initial trailer for Oscar winner The Social Network.

Where the Langley kids tapped into the childlike wonder of their pop songs, Kidz Bop features vocals with almost no connection to the lyrical content. They could be sung phonetically by children who lack any English-speaking skills. Maybe it's because the Langley kids were having fun and not hired-gun tykes with proverbial guns to their heads and dreams of American Idol superstardom in those same brain casings.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty