I hate advertising.
On some levels I love it because it’s what I do for a living and it’s what enables me to buy Clifford the Big Red dog products for my daughters. But on other levels I hate it, and the commercial for the Kidz Bop CD reminded me of that.
Kidz Bop is a CD with popular top 40 songs sung by 10-year olds. I’m cool with the idea of kids singing, my 3-year old daughter loves to sing in the car, but the songs they put on these albums are clearly not written for little kids. Take these lyrics from Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” found on Kidz Bop volume 11. It’s a heartwarming, childhood favorite about getting a phone call from an ex-lover while your current lover is in the other room:
Well, my girl’s in the next room. Sometimes I wish she was you. I guess we never really moved on. It’s really good to hear your voice saying my name. It sounds so sweet. Coming from the lips of an angel. Hearing those words it makes me weak. And I never wanna say goodbye. But girl you make it hard to be faithful, with the lips of an angel.
What 10-year old can’t relate to that song? What 10-year old hasn’t cheated on his girlfriend a time or two? You know how it is. You’re on one slide on the playground, your lady is playing hopscotch and an old flame winks at you from the swing set. What’s a kid to do? Thankfully Hinder and Kidz Bop have prepared you for this moment and upon taking a long, hard pull from a cold chocolate milk, you can stare off into the distance and wistfully say in a voice that hasn’t gone through puberty yet, “Girl you make it hard to be faithful with the lips of an angel.” (There’s some debate about whether Kidz Bop changes the lyrics on their version, but it doesn’t matter it’s still a song about sex.)
I wish I could punch Kidz Bop in the face. But I can’t because it’s just a CD and that would look weird to see me in a parking lot just punching a CD over and over. What I can do though is make an amazing VBS mix tape for my daughters. That way when we sitting on 22s and rolling through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A the cops won’t catch us riding dirty and we can bring the new flava in ya ear like Craig Mack. (Whoa, that sentence was raptastic!)
Here are the song categories you need to keep in mind when it comes to a great VBS mix tape:
1. War themed songs.
I’ve written about this before, but what can I say, we love teaching our four-year olds some military-flavored songs. My favorite two are probably “God’s Army” and “Onward Christian Soldier.” I like God’s Army because it gets specific and actually mentions things like the infantry. I dig Onward Christian Soldier despite it kind of sounding like something that might have been sung during the Crusades.
2. Size and dimension songs.
We absolutely love measurement songs. From “Deep and Wide” to “My God is so big” we can’t get enough of songs that speak to the size of things. Think I’m wrong? How about the song that says, “Zaccheus was a wee little man.” It’s probably one of my three favorite children songs that focus on someone’s lack of height.
3. Happy happy joy smile songs
A lot of Christian children songs are like sunshine deep fried in cotton candy served on a plate made of sugar and rainbows. That is, they are happy. From “Joy, joy down in my heart” to “this little light of mine” we bring the happy when we sing. Even things like the flood that killed most of mankind gets the smile treatment. How can you be depressed about the cleansing of the planet when you sing, “God told Noah there’s going to be a floody, floody.” I think Donald Miller talked about that in Blue Like Jazz. And on a side note, adding a “y” to the end of any word makes it a little happier. Flood becomes floody, which is makes it kind of feel silly. Maybe next time I get fired, I’ll say I got “firedy.”
4. One love
Two of the most popular kid songs are “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” That second one is funny to me and reminds me of something my daughter said. One day she came home from school and innocently said, “I had a fun time playing with that girl with the brown face on the playground.” She was referring to an Indian friend and was being four, not racist. That’s kind of what happened with the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” It’s got a verse that says, “Red and yellow, black and white, they’re all precious in His sight.” (The first site google returns if you search “Jesus loves the little children lyrics” lists the words the way I originally had it in this post.) Yikes, not the most politically correct verse, but I am sure there’s a remix out there that cleans that up.
Those are the four key categories, but I promise I have left out one or two. What about “He’s got the whole world in His hands” or “the B.I.B.L.E., yes that’s the book for me?” I hope you’ll share your favorite song but remember, the greatest VeggieTales song ever is “the Cheeseburger Song.” That’s not opinion, that’s fact.