Kidz Bop Kids

Kidz Bop 5

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The indefatigable Kidz Bop series continues with Kidz Bop, Vol. 5, another roundup of pop hits performed by session musicians and a chorus of kid vocalists. The album gets off to a relatively strong start with two of 2003's best and biggest singles, "Crazy in Love" and "Hey Ya!" Adding kids' voices to the chorus of "Crazy in Love" doesn't detract from the song as much as the fact that it's not Beyoncé singing it does. "Hey Ya!," meanwhile, has the kid-unfriendly part of the "I don't want to meet your momma" lyric removed (as are all the references to "Beyoncés and Lucy Lius"). As cheery and irresistible as the songs' choruses are, it's more than a little unnerving to hear kids singing along to lyrics like "We know that we're not happy here." It might also be unnerving for hipper parents to hear Talk Talk's "It's My Life" (d)evolve from a new wave single to a No Doubt cover to a session band trying to sound like No Doubt with kids singing along on the choruses. Still, these songs work better than some of the mopier songs on Kidz Bop, Vol. 5, such as "Here Without You" and "Someday," which just don't sound right with kids' voices. Indeed, songs like these tend to beg the question of the usefulness of albums like Kidz Bop; the productions of the songs slavishy re-create the sound of the original hits, and for the most part the kids don't sing on them that much. Unless families really need to hear children on these songs to know that they're safe for kids, it seems that most parents and kids would be better served by the latest Now That's What I Call Music collection, which provides the big hits with all the bad words removed from them -- and leaves more room for kids to sing along besides.

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