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Music Savaged By The Average Beast

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for July 25, 2003

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Candy Cigarettes
by Stiffy Biceptz

My three-year-old likes to watch Nickelodeon. He (we) enjoy shows like Rocket Power, Sponge Bob, The Wild Thornberrys and As Told By Ginger. These are all smart shows that appeal both to children and adults. They donít treat the kids like idiots, and all have threads of humor that only grownups will get, which keeps the parents coming back. That was not a paid endorsement by the way.
Thereís one particular commercial that seems to be a regular feature on the Nick channels that has lately caught my attention. Itís for the Kidz Bop CDís. These CDís contain the latest pop hits, sung by kids. The latest version, Kidz Bop 4, covers such recent Top 40 staples as Miss Independent, Jenny From the Block, and Cry Me A River, as well as Move It Like This and Beautiful.
The idea here is that a bunch of prepubescent kids cover the latest pop hits, presumably turning them into harmless sing-alongs for children. The commercials feature the "kidz" dancing around and acting out a sampling of the songs they cover.
Stiffy finds this whole enterprise disturbing and troublesome for several reasons.
Firstly, the majority of the songs deal with fairly adult subject matter, some more graphically sexual than others. If you want your children to sing songs, thereís certainly more appropriate material available. Secondly, marketing to children in general bothers me. Children are not equipped to deal with many of the choices they encounter, and are easily manipulated. These CDís appear to be a very unsubtle way to market adult products to unsuspecting kids. They sing along fairly oblivious to the content of the lyrics, unknowingly being imprinted. Iím sure the music labels figure thereís a good chance these kids might decide to by the real thing just as soon as they can reach the doorknob.
Thirdly, how embarrassing it must be for these entertainers to have their songs, which meant something to them just a few months ago, and in which theyíve invested their feelings and emotions, to be trivialized on a kids CD. Pinkís fairly cool "Donít Let Me Get Me", a heartfelt story about her own journey through adolescence and the music business, sounds ridiculous sung through the tinny preteen voices. This is just the latest and worst version of The Chipmunks. These tunes were written by adults for adults.
Finally, if I want my kids to be exposed to pop music, it's not gonna be the crap from top 40 radio. My son particularly likes to dance around to Prodigyís "Breathe". How about a Kidz Alt-Rock Bop??
These CDís remind me of candy cigarettes. Remembers those things? They were hollow candy tubes that ejected a cloud of sugar powder when you puffed on them. And they were packaged like real cigarettes. Now that was marketing.
Hook Ďem young.

©2003 Stiffy Biceptz

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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