Okay, whose bright idea was it to include “Timber”—a celebration of binge drinking, debauchery, and girls “like Miley Cyrus, clothes off/Twerking in their bras and thongs”—on the 26th Kidz Bop compilation, which hits stores today?
The world may never know; Kidz Bop declined EW’s request for an interview. (Cue “Someone Like You” from Kidz Bop 21.) From listening to the full album, though, one thing’s clear: Someone had a lot of fun cleaning up these lyrics to make them nominally kid-friendly. In the case of “Timber,” that means nixing the entire first verse—the one about twerking—and changing “one more shot, another round” to “one more dance, another town.” But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Kidz Bop lyrical changes aren’t just about scrubbing out curse words, sex, and drug references—they also nix mentions of anything remotely violent or ethically questionable. And sometimes, they change stuff just for the hell—er, heck—of it. Need proof? It’s going down:
10. “Dark Horse,” Katy Perry
Real lyric: “Make me your Aphrodite”
Kidz Bop lyric: “Make me your one and only”
“Okay, how’s this for a plan: We keep in all the stuff about Katy Perry’s magic ladyparts, but we nix the reference to the Greek goddess of love. Just ’cause.”
9. “Pompeii,” Bastille
Real lyric: “Oh where do we begin?/The rubble or our sins?”
Kidz Bop lyric: “Oh where do we begin?/The rubble or our wins?”
So the city’s destruction is… a net positive? Kidz Bop morality is weird.
8. “Not a Bad Thing,” Justin Timberlake
Real lyric: “When someone cuts your heart open with a knife/Now you’re bleeding”
Kidz Bop lyric: “When someone breaks your heart open with a lot[?]/Now you’re hurting”
I listened to this line about a zillion times (pro tip: never do this), and this is what they’re actually singing, as best I could figure it out. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
7. “All of Me,” John Legend
Real lyric: “Love your curves and all your edges/All your perfect imperfections”
Kidz Bop lyric: “Love your words and all your edges/All your perfect imperfections”
In which a stirring, proudly adult love song becomes a kid’s paean to her fourth-grade teacher.
6. “Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore
Real lyric: “You can ring anybody’s bell to get what you want”
Kidz Bop lyric: “You can ring anybody’s cell to get what you want”
Because obviously Kids Today don’t know what bells are.
5. “Story Of My Life,” One Direction
Real lyric: “She told me in the morning/She don’t feel the same about us in her bones”
Kidz Bop lyric: “She told me in the hallway/She don’t feel the same about us in her bones”
The original is fairly innocuous (kids would have to be fairly sophisticated to understand it as a sexual reference in the first place), but you’ve got to admire Kidz Bop for tweaking it in the goofiest way possible. And at least it makes more sense than what Kidz Bop did to “seems to me that when I die/These words will be written on my stone”: “Seems to me that when I’m gone/These words will be written on my own.”
4. “Team,” Lorde
Real lyric: “So all the cups got broke/Shards beneath our feet”
Kidz Bop lyric: “So the dishes got broke/Shards beneath our feet”
Perhaps the biggest head-scratcher on this entire list. Maybe the original was deemed offensive to little teapots, short and stout?
3. “Counting Stars,”One Republic
Real lyric: “I feel something so right by doing the wrong thing”
Kidz Bop lyric: “I feel something so right by doing the right thing”
2. “Sing,” Ed Sheeran
Real lyric: “I told her my name and said, ‘It’s nice to meet ya’/And then she handed me a bottle of water with tequila”
Kidz Bop lyric: “I told her my name and said, “It’s nice to meet ya’/And then she handed me a bottle of water, said ‘nice to meet ya’”
When you stop laughing, know that the entirety of this verse posed some real pickles for the Kidz Bop krew; they also had to change “something to drink and maybe something to smoke” into “something to sing and maybe something to joke,” and “I’m meant to drive home but I’ve drunk all of it now” into “I’m meant to drive home but I’ve sung all of it now.” Someone please write a dissertation on the use of music as intoxicant in the Kidz Bop oeuvre.
1. “Timber,” Pitbull featuring Kesha
Real lyric: “Club jumping like LeBron now/Volí!/Order me another round/Homie!”
Kidz Bop lyric: “Club jumping like Kidz Bop now/Yeah!/Dance with me, we’re going round/Homie!”
Yup. And yet they chose to keep “Let’s make a night/You won’t remember.” Inexplicability, thy name is Kidz Bop.