Kidz Bop Kids take on the changing pop landscape of 2018 on Kidz Bop 38
Kidz Bop Kids have come a long way from their first album in 2001. Hundreds of child singers and dancers rotated through the group and the lineup for Kidz Bop 38 includes seven members – veterans Ahnya, Julianna, Cooper, Freddy, and Isaiah and newcomers Olivia, and Shane. The latest release from the Kids came out in July and represents a snapshot of the changing pop music landscape of 2018. It has been a year of hip-hop dominance on the Billboard 100, with a record 34-week streak of rap #1s. Even the non-rap #1s featured guest rappers such as Young Thug on Camila Cabello‘s “Havana” and Cardi B on Maroon 5‘s “Girls Like You (Remix).”
What are the Kids to do? Covering rap has always been challenging, requiring the Kidz Bop writers to sanitize lyrics and on Kidz Bop 38 the only hip-hop song covered is also the only Hot 100 #1, Drake‘s “God’s Plan” (though you can find “Havana” on Kidz Bop 37). The original only had a few moments of explicit content, so for the Kids @champagnepapi does not present much of a challenge. “Bad things…that they wishin’ on me” become “these things” and the cover sticks close to Drake’s intent. If anything, covering Bazzi‘s “Mine” presents more of a challenge as the original’s sexual content has to be dialed back to a friend zone.
Kidz Bop now has a million YouTube subscribers and has been the #1 Kids’ Artist for the last eight years according to Billboard
Many pop covers on Kidz Bop 38 either elevate an already good song or expose the weakness in a lesser hit. An easy comparison is between the covers of Ariana Grande‘s “No Tears Left To Cry” and Demi Lovato‘s “Tell Me You Love Me.” The former made it to #3 on the Hot 100 and the latter to #53. The Kids soar channeling @arianagrande’s summer smash and struggle through Lovato’s slog. Then there’s the curious case of “The Middle,” originally a #5 Hot 100 hit by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey. The electronics are dialed back and the Kids can’t quite match the punch of the original. Perhaps Zedd is a better EDM wizard than the likes of Alesso and Marshmello who are emulated successfully by Kidz Bop elsewhere on the album.
When the Kids depart pop, results vary. “Finesse (Remix)” (originally by Bruno Mars ft. Cardi B) is a party starter and the album’s purest moment of joy. “Whatever It Takes” (originally by Imagine Dragons) is an adequate attempt at arena rock, a genre that a children’s group can’t really imitate. And finally there’s “Meant To Be,” the country-pop Hot 100 #2 by Florida-Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha. The Kids remove as much of the country twang as they can, ultimately providing a swoon-along for the kids and their parents on the Kidz Bop tour.
Kidz Bop are on the road year-round
With 38 official Kidz Bop releases and a dedicated SiriusXM channel, the Kidz Bop Kids are bigger than they have ever been. The brand has expanded to the Kidz Bop Experience at the Punta Cana Hard Rock, giving kids who stay at the resort an opportunity to be a Kidz Bop star. With a bigger platform, turnover among the kids is also noticeable. Kidz Bop Kid Indigo recorded vocals and appeared in a few videos for Kidz Bop 38, but is no longer a part of the crew. Instead we get new Kidz Bop Kid Liv who helps bring hip-hop back on the recently-released cover of “I Like It” by Cardi B. The boys are absent on the track and so are the parts by Bad Bunny and J. Balvin. Yet similar to “Finesse (Remix),” the cover works and teases Kidz Bop 39, another compilation of covers that comes out later this month.
Ahnya, Julianna, and newcomer Liv own the cover of “I Like It”