Even before our twins were
born, we played good music for them. Lying in bed, my hubs would hold his phone
up to my belly, and we’d laugh as our son started to kick along to Metallica.
Once they were born, both the boy and the girl loved music. In addition to "The
Wheels on the Bus" and "Old McDonald," they were schooled in all genres of pop
music, from ABC to Michael McDonald.
Our music appreciation lessons worked. Our son had an early Michael Jackson
obsession and little girl loved everything from Rick James to Madonna.
Listening to music during meals,
during car trips and, of course, for frequent impromptu dance parties, we felt
pretty confident that we were instilling in them a love of great music. We were
pretty sure they were the only preschoolers who knew all the words to Fleetwood
Mac’s "Rumours" album. When they requested that the guitarist at their 3rd
birthday party play “Second Hand News,” we mentally high-fived one another.
We were not those people who
spent 5-hour car trips hostage to the likes of Raffi. Our kids knew how to rock,
and it was because we were super cool parents with great taste in music.
Then, they turned 5. And something
happened: the twins discovered Kidz Bop.
If you’re not familiar, Kidz Bop is
today’s greatest hits sung by kids FOR kids. That basically means that the
lyrics of your typical pop songs are cleaned up (Bruno Mars’ "That’s What I
Like": “Hang by the fire at night, strawberry milkshakes on ice—lucky for you
that’s what I like”) and sung in a pre-pubescent twang that only a parent at
the school end-of-year talent show could love.
The audience screamed ...
I tried playing the original
versions of the pop hits for them, but quickly found that they actually
preferred the Kidz Bop versions. (I know!) Maybe it was just more relatable to their
young ears—or maybe if you played Kidz Bop 33 backwards, you’d hear Satanic
messages, I wasn’t sure. But we were soon in a full-on, Kidz Bop main, and this
was one crazy train neither of us or even Ozzy knew how to stop.
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My son asked me to check the
Kidz Bop website and was dismayed to learn that you had to be 9 in order to
audition. He wanted nothing more than to be like his favorite stars, Cooper,
Freddy, Sierra, Ahnya, Isaiah and Julianna. He obsessively watched the video
for "24 Carat Magic" and beamed with delight, watching as the Kidz ran around
Legoland performing their cuss-free songs.
So when I heard that the Kidz
Bop kids were playing a concert in Coney Island, I knew that we had to attend.
Photograph by Ronnie Koenig
As the day of the show approached,
I actually got very excited to surprise the twins with the T-shirts and
tickets. I remembered how excited I was for my first concert—David Bowie on
his Glass Spider Tour—and OK, so this wasn’t Bowie. It wasn’t even live music—the kids sing along to a backing track—but this was their jam, not mine.
The twins waited patiently in
their third-row seats for their idols to take the stage. When the Kidz entered,
singing on motorcycles and wearing gold lame jumpsuits, you could feel the
excitement in the air.
The audience screamed, some got up to dance, some laughed
in glee and pooped their pants. Really, it was just your typical rock show.
Photograph by Ronnie Koenig
And for the next few hours
(including an intermission during which the audience members and stars could try
to make pee and grab more juice boxes) we sang and danced like crazy. At one
point, the children in the audience were invited up toward the stage to dance.
“You stay over there, Mom,” my
son said, as I tried to accompany him to the front. And at that moment, I felt
old. This was their music, and rock 'n roll is for the young.
irony, I sang along to the Kidz Bop original, “Best Time Ever.” And it really was.