Watering down music for kids?

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I was amused, and then annoyed to learn that there is now a ‘kid friendly’ cd with Ramones tracks called Brats on the Beat: Ramones for Kids. Coming out in November on Go-Kart Records, it, “…lets 12 punk and hard-rock veterans get their Raffi on and recreate classic Ramones songs in a kid-friendly format.” So the lineup of artists covering them seem cool enough, it will expose kids to one of the best rock bands ever, which is fantastic, but my beef is, why? Why water down something as classic and kidsz_bopjpg.jpgimportant as The Ramones when pop music seems to be getting that treatment with the dreadful Kidz Bop series. For those that haven’t seen the commercials, Kidz Bop, “features newly recorded, kid-sung, and “kid friendly” versions of best-selling hit songs.” I don’t consider myself too much of a fuddy-duddy, but I’d much rather my kids listen to The Ramones singing “I wanna be sedated” or “Beat on the brat with a baseball bat” than some inappropriate Kidz Bop song. Examples and more commentary after the jump.

For example, check out they lyrics from the song All I have, found on Kidz Bop Volume 10:

The nights I waited up for you (Oh, boy) Promises you made about comin’ through So much time you wasted That’s why I had to replace you Uh, uh, uh It makes a cat nervous, the thought of settlin’ down Especially me, I was creepin’ all over town I thought my tender touch could lock you down I knew I had you, as cocky as it sounds That’s the way you used to giggle right before I put it down It’s better when you angry, come here, I’ll prove it now, come here Stop playin, you gamin’ I gotta leave you alone ‘Cause I’m good holdin’ my spot (Stop actin’ like that) And I’m good reppin’ the girls on the block

Again, to some I’ll come across as the “You kids get outta my yard” guy, but the the heck is that? How is this appropriate for kids? The respected site, Parents Center, reviews a Kidz Bop cd and states, “_This misguided CD sells very well because it isn’t saccharine sweet and tmbg.jpg bridges the parent/kid gap, but it’s like putting training wheels on a really inappropriate vehicle for kids_.” So, while I’m all for cds and music that are ‘kid friendly’ I certainly subscribe to the criticism I found listed in the Kidz Bop Wikipedia entry which presents the critics problem in that_, “…_they are advertised as kid-friendly songs, but this is often because songs that _originally had explicit lyrics are censored, or the songs have lyrics children are believed to be incapable of understanding. For example, one edition features When September Ends, a song by Green Day relating to death_.“tmbg-abc-cd.jpgMy ideal of music created to be ‘kid friendly’ is perfectly identified by They Might Be Giants, who after being together for over 20 years as a ‘rock band’ have released two of their recent discs, “No!”, and the fabulous “Here Come The ABC’s” for kids. These songs don’t water down anything TMBG has stood for, while creating fun, inventive music that teaches kids without preaching to them. Plus for old foggies likeme, the music and wit is the same we’ve loved for years, and the fact that a greatest hits like TMBG’s “Manual” is appropriate for my nostalgia and my kids development is sweet. So, coming back to the initial topic, any sanitizing of music, art of anything similar points to the fact that the base material is not yet kid appropriate, so why try to peddle it to children anyway? It just runs counter-intuitive to how we’re bringing up our kids with music, they get the real deal (unless it’s some Disney artist covering some The Ramones at CBGBssong…badly), not some watered down, Kidz Jams foolishness, when they’re ready for it. So,what’s next, reworking classic art to have less nudity and more nursery friendly colors? Come on, protect your kids from R-rated movies, monitor online usage and have them wear sweaters when it’s cold out, but don’t filter music and art for them; filters are for coffee makers. Either they’re ready for it or they’re not: so just say NO to any homogenization of any kind of art. After all, as Joey said over 30 years ago, “_There no stopping the kids from hopping!”, so why try? _

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