When the last great empire falls and capitalism as we know it crumbles, there will be a few great pieces of art that remain. These are cultural artifacts that are so powerful that their genius will withstand the test of time. KIDZ BOP 39, the latest effort from the Kidz Bop Kids, is one such work. With 100 percent confidence, I believe that KIDZ BOP 39 is the best full length album we will experience in 2019, and possibly the closest thing to musical perfection to ever be produced.
Cover albums are always tricky: do the new artists add anything of value to the original song? What’s the point of remaking music we’ve already heard? On KIDZ BOP 39, however, the Kidz Bop Kids lay our worries to rest. When listening to Cardi B’s smash hit “I Like It,” one might think to themselves, “What could possibly make this song slap harder than it already does?” The answer is a chorus of pre-pubescent voices rapping a G-rated version of Cardi’s Grammy-nominated banger. With a few tasteful edits (“Kidz bop makes it perfect” replaces “bad bitch makes him nervous”), the Kidz Bop Kids breathe new life into an already delightful tune.
On “No Brainer,” the Kids prove once again that they can can make the biggest hits of 2018 even better. When the cheerful, wholesome voice of a seventh grader opened the song with a spirited exclamation of “Kidz Bop music!”, a nod to DJ Khaled’s iconic entrance, I got chills. When the angel-throated Justin Bieber soundalike hopped on the track, it was over for the music industry. The choir of Kidz Bop Kids is autotuned to perfection, and the knockoff DJ Khaled beats in the background move the tune along smoothly. When comparing the original song to the Kids’ masterpiece, it’s a No Brainer.
However, the Kids don’t just stick to upbeat hits. Their rendition of Marshmello and Bastille’s heartbreak dance ballad “Happier” could move even Queen Elizabeth II to tears. “Happier” is one of the few songs with no lyrical changes on the album, but after one listen, you’ll never turn on the original again. They communicate such raw emotion and pain through this track that it’ll have listeners wondering what could’ve left a crew of junior high schoolers so melancholy.
On their version of Selena Gomez’s “Back to You,” the Kidz once more bring stunning levels of feeling to a track with mature themes. The regret and torment are palpable in their high, 11 year-old voices as they remaster Post Malone’s “Better Now.” They put America’s emotional sweetheart Ariana Grande to shame when they perfect “Breathin.” Are the children of America doing alright? If their tween pain is producing art as beautiful as KIDZ BOP 39, then perhaps it doesn’t matter.
The Kidz Bop Kids also thrill with their youthful cover of Maroon 5’s “Girl Like You,” proving it possible to be both the best musical artists to ever walk the planet and deeply respectful of women. The soft acoustic background combined with just the right touch of digital editing hits a soft spot. Every time this track is played out loud, Beethoven rolls in his grave, agonizing over the fact that he didn’t come up with the idea of putting children on modern pop hits first. On Benny Blanco’s “Eastside” with Halsey and Khalid, the Kids prove once again that the heavenly voices of adorable tweens can improve any song, and their exploration into their edgy side on Foster the People’s “Sit Next to Me” is delightful evidence that a group of children can in fact master alternative rock.
KIDZ BOP 39 is not the masterpiece we wanted for 2019, but it’s the one we deserve. This album added fifteen years onto my life, and brought me closer to God than I’ve felt in years. If KIDZ BOP 39 doesn’t change you for the better, you clearly don’t understand the power of art.