Andy Campbell looks at his daughter in shock
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

The 10 Most Hilariously Censored Kidz Bop Songs

For us ’90s kids, the name Kidz Bop brings up vague memories of squeaky child voices singing and dancing to modern-day pop songs. At the time, most of us youngsters didn’t understand the real purpose of Kidz Bop. It was just cool that kids our age were singing popular songs and dancing in music videos … and it was maybe something we secretly dreamed of doing someday. What Kidz Bop was doing, though, was making “kid-friendly” versions of popular songs that censored violence, profanity, and references to sex, drugs, or anything else deemed non-kid-friendly.

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Although Kidz Bop might seem like a distant memory, the band is still around today. It frequently rotates out its kid singers, but it has been active since 2001. Kidz Bop has also gone on world tours and topped Billboard’s Hot 100 and 200 lists, having more albums make the lists than iconic singers like Madonna or Bruce Springsteen. Despite Kidz Bop’s surprising success and endurance, the question has arisen of just how effective this band is.

One problem with Kidz Bop is that it often hyper-focuses on language. It thinks cleansing a song of profanity automatically makes it “kid-friendly,” even if it still has a premise of violence and sexualization. Bias can also slip into these Kidz Bop remakes as certain inappropriate content for children will be rationalized on the tired “boys will be boys” trope. Not to mention, Kidz Bop very lazily tries to “censor” inappropriate lyrics, often leading to songs that are still inappropriate or don’t make any sense. So let’s take a look at 10 hilarious examples of Kidz Bop epically failing at “censoring” its lyrics.

1. “Closer” by The Chainsmokers (ft. Halsey)

The Chainsmokers and Halsey collaborated on “Closer” in 2016 and it became one of the band’s greatest hits. However, the lyrics are a little suggestive, considering it’s a song about former lovers hooking up in the backseat of a Rover. Of course, Kidz Bop covered it and replaced the chorus with, “So baby pull me closer / As we stand against the Rover / That I know they can’t afford / Brush that stress right off your shoulder / Pull the sheets right off the corner / Of the notebook that you stole / From your friends way back in Boulder.” First of all, as any English teacher would ask, who are they?! Second, how did we get from standing outside a car to tearing sheets off a notebook for no reason?

2. “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna

“Love on the Brain” by Rihanna features some very mature lyrics, as it tackles someone being in an addictive (and likely abusive) relationship. The Kidz Bop censored version changes “baby” to “babe” and “fist fighting fire” to “fighting fire.” Because “baby” is a bad word (but not babe) and fighting fire is alright, as long as you don’t use your fists. Meanwhile, it switches out the darkest lyrics in the chorus with, “Must be love on the brain / That’s got me feeling this way / It makes me feel it’s true / But it tricks me so good / And I can’t get enough.” It makes a lot more sense than some other rewrites, but the fact that it retains its overall message and results in kids singing about addictive love is pretty icky.

3. “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE

“Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE is a catchy song, but the phrase “cake by the ocean” is an euphemism for doing the deed on the beach. Kidz Bop decided to handle this by still using the words “cake by the ocean,” but claiming it’s in the literal sense. The only evidence of this being literal is the lyrics, “Now we’re licking frosting from our own hands,” which suggests everyone enjoying some cake and frosting on the beach. Of course, for anyone still going by the figurative meaning, that little lyric change might just make the song even more inappropriate. Changing a few words but leaving the euphemism intact isn’t a very smart idea.

4. “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X

“MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X was inspired by a mixture of the film Call Me By Your Name and Lil Nas’ love life. It’s a very complex song that cleverly uses gay imagery and symbolism of persecution, but it is not a kids’ song. Hence, Kidz Bop had to rewrite the entire song except for the chorus. It suddenly becomes a song about “singin’ and dancin’ with your friends” and “lying on a beach in Hawaii.” The weirdest part is “boy” is censored and replaced with “yeah.” If you don’t want the slightest reference to homosexuality in your song, maybe just don’t cover a song about homosexuality.

5. “Hey Mama” by David Guetta

“Hey Mama” is a song by David Guetta (ft. Bebe Rexha, Nicki Minaj, and Afrojack) that contains a lot of dominance/subordination imagery and euphemisms. In one verse, when Minaj raps the lyrics, “Yes, I do the cooking, yes, I do the cleaning,” Kidz Bop changes it to, “Yes we do the cooking, yes we do the cleaning.” While it’s great that Kidz Bop isn’t condoning gender roles, it seemingly forgot to censor the rest of the song and has kids singing about loving a man’s “dirty rhythm” and wanting him to call them “mama.”

6. “Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy

“Uma Thurman” by Fall Out Boy is an ode to the actress Uma Thurman, with the narrator comparing a girl he’s in love with to Thurman. It’s a pretty tame song, aside from the lyrics, “The stench, the stench of summer sex / And CK Eternity – Oh hell yes.” So, Kidz Bop replaced these lyrics with, “The stench, the stench / Of sunny heads / It ends through eternity / Oh yeah yes.” I will forever wonder what “sunny heads” smell like and how powerful the stench is that it “ends through eternity.”

7. “Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King

Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” is about several past relationships she’s haunted by. Kidz Bop changes the song by replacing “man” and “baby” with “friend.” However, they still sing about “ex’s” in the chorus … so the change seems kind of redundant. The song also hilariously changes “I had a summer lover down in New Orleans / Kept him warm in the winter, left him frozen in the spring / My, my, how the seasons go by” to “I had another friend down in New Orleans / It was warm in the winter, but then frozen in the spring / Bye, bye how the seasons go by.” Apparently, “my, my” is inappropriate, and now kids are going to get their seasons mixed up by thinking winter is warm and spring is cold.

8. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth

“We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Charlie Puth is another breakup song that Kidz Bop covered. However, it mentions figuratively “overdosing” on someone’s love. Hence, the Kidz Bop version just swaps “I overdosed” with “I overlooked.” It also needlessly changed the line, “Don’t wanna know / Kind of dress you’re wearing tonight” to “Don’t wanna know / Girl, look you’re wearing tonight.” The word “dress” is way safer than some of the things Kidz Bop sings about and the writers could’ve at least changed it to “what look you’re wearing tonight” to make the song coherent.

9. “Ride” by Twenty One Pilot

“Ride” by Twenty-One Pilots is a sad song about the journey of life. Hence, it’s really weird to hear kids singing, “I think about the end just way too much.” However, when we get to the lyrics about fantasizing about taking bullets for someone, Kidz Bop changes “bullet” to “song.” So, we get, “We have a list of people that we would take / A song for them, a song for you / A song for everybody in this room / But I don’t seem to see many songs coming through.” When the song asks the rhetorical question, “Would you ever kill,” Kidz Bop changes it to “Would you ever still?” It’s not as nonsensical as some edits, but it is pretty lazy censorship.

10. “My House” by Flo Rida

“My House” is a song by Flo Rida that talks about throwing a wild party at one’s home. However, Kidz Bop fixes it by replacing any reference to alcohol or sex with “singing” and “dancing.” It’s normal for kids to wildly sing and dance the night away, as long as there’s no champagne. Also, the Kidz Bop version changes “you can run with the cash” to “you can run with the vast.” They could’ve maybe used “fast” or “best,” but they chose “vast?” Kidz Bop writers, you do know that you don’t have to use the first word that comes to your head, right? You can try a few different words, I promise.

(featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures)


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Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.