My 4-year-old son Phoenix is a music aficionado. The only song that would get him to sleep when he was a baby was Pharrell's 'Happy', as soon as he could stand he was dancing to Usher's 'I don't Mind' and he's had a rather strange fascination with Nicki Minaj for the past few years (don't ask). So when I was sent the latest CD from Kidz Bop it was a no-brainer that he would help me write this review. "It's sung by kids?" he asked with wide-eyed excitement. Press play.
KIDZ BOP is the #1 music brand for kids in the USA and now it has its own British version with a band made up of four incredibly talented children: Lois, Twinkle, Ashton and Max who are aged between 11-12. Their debut album reached #7 on the Artist Album Chart with over 55,000 sales and over 2.6 million combined streams to date. In total, it spent nine weeks in the UK Top 40 chart. I'll be honest, I was sceptical at first as thought it might be a little bit cheesy, but you know what? They are absolutely fantastic and I actually prefer most of the tracks they sing to the originals (no offence to Justin Bieber, Rita Ora, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers). The children in Kidz BOP have amazing vocals and the production is really modern, crisp and fresh. Their music is the perfect accompaniment to that long journey to the grandparents or as background music to a birthday party. Even a dance to the music videos will perk up a play-date.
'KIDZ BOP 2018' has been released through Universal Music by KIDZ BOP (UK), and includes popular songs including Ed Sheeran's 'Castle On The Hill', Zara Larsson's 'Symphony' and Julia Michaels' 'Issues' which are all performed by The KIDZ BOP Kids. Phoenix has been particularly enjoying and singing along to 'I'm The One', 'Paris', 'There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back', 'Malibu', 'Feels', 'The Greatest' and of course a firm favourite is 'How Far I'll Go' from Moana which rounds the CD off nicely. There is a really varied mix of songs on 'KIDZ BOP 2018' and although mostly uptempo there are a few ballads and emotive lo-fi numbers so you never feel like you're listening to the same kind of music over and over again.
For those parents who are sick of nursery rhymes and the 'Frozen' soundtrack, but want something child-friendly and feel-good then 'KIDZ BOP 2018' is for you. The lyrics have been modified slightly to exclude any swear words or adult connotations. For instance, in 'Stay' originally performed by Zedd & Alessia Cara, the KIDZ BOP crew sing "drinking coca cola" instead of "drinking rum and cola" and in Anne Marie's 'Ciao Adios' they sing "run out in the rain" instead of "make out in the rain".
Music videos for 'Stay', 'Ciao Adios', 'I’m The One' and 'Castle On The Hill’, along with lyric videos for 'Symphony' and 'Your Song', are now on the UK KIDZ BOP YouTube Channel, adding to the millions of UK YouTube views to date.
Forget Nicki Minaj, Phoenix now has a penchant for Twinkle ("she's very pretty mummy isn't she?"). And Ashton is a super slick dancer. They all work in sync and their powerful vocals compliment each other - they don't even sound like kids half the time and can easily rival the singers whose songs they cover.
I now get asked the question, "mummy, are kids singing this?" whenever we have the radio on or I'm listening to my retro i-pod. Hmm, I don't think KIDZ BOP will be covering A$AP Rocky or 6lack anytime soon...., but I tell you what, when we do listen to 'KIDZ BOP 2018', it makes for a jolly school run. Roll on next year's selection of chart-toppers sung by the fantastic foursome.
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Order 'KIDZ BOP 2018' here