Green Day Gym Class Heroes Avril Lavigne Bowling For Soup
[Photos via YouTube]

From low-rise jeans to flashy Myspace themes, the 2000s was an era defined by flamboyancy. While the majority of those embarrassing trends naturally faded with time, one product of the ’00s has overstayed its welcome. The infamous brand Kidz Bop has been churning out family-friendly compilation albums since 2001 sung by kids, for kids. 

But it wasn’t just children singing in the early days of Kidz Bop, as many of the albums featured adult singers with the kids singing—sometimes shouting—on backup vocals. Because the pop-punk and alternative genres dominated the charts in the 2000s, that made them subject to Kidz Bop’s cringeworthy covers. From Bowling For Soup to Evanescence, here are the 10 worst (thus, funniest) Kidz Bop covers of ’00s alternative songs. 

Read more: The 50 best albums of 2020 in alternative, pop punk, metal and beyond

“1985” – Bowling For Soup

While the nostalgia-fueled pop-punk track was originally written by SR-71, Kidz Bop covers Bowling For Soup’s more popular and slightly more kid-friendly rendition. Unlike current Kidz Bop covers, this one comes from the early ’00s, where Kidz Bop was still using an adult lead singer with kids singing along.

But fear not: The kids make their pre-pubescent voices heard with their obnoxious echoing and added exclamations in between lyrics. Sure, Bowling For Soup’s version omits the lines about an accidental pregnancy and hooking up with George Michael. But Kidz Bop still had to alter the line “She was gonna shake her ass on the hood of Whitesnake’s car” to “She was gonna shake it fast on the hood of Whitesnake’s car.” 

“The Anthem” – Good Charlotte

Another loser anthem indeed. The Kidz Bop kids are on backup vocals again, singing along to lyrics of societal defiance and degeneracy as if they’ve already given up on life before their angsty teenage years even hit. The cover of the Good Charlotte classic isn’t too ridiculous-sounding. But there’s still the added “yeah yeah yeahs” the children throw in throughout the song to further show their enthusiasm for societal dropouts. And you’re probably wondering what happened to the lyrics “Shake it once, that’s fine/Shake it twice, that’s OK/Shake it three times, you’re playing with yourself again.” While it would go over most kids’ heads, it was obviously omitted.

“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” – Green Day

There’s something quite surreal and off-putting about listening to children take on a song that exposes the faults of the American dream. But then again, everything about Kidz Bop is a little surreal. For this cover, another unknown adult singer botched Green Day’s 2005 Record of the Year with a twangy voice and children’s obnoxious backup vocals. While the instrumental aspect of the cover is decent, this Kidz Bop cover drains the iconic rock anthem of all its intensity and gravity. It minimalizes Green Day’s somber comment on the idealized phenomenon of the American dream.  

It Ends Tonight” – The All-American Rejects

Kidz Bop’s out-of-tune singer makes the melancholic ballad “It Ends Tonight” by the All-American Rejects even more depressing than it already is. With lyrics that fit the occasion of a painful breakup or terminating a friendship, “It ends tonight” is one phrase that shouldn’t be sung by children. Despite its popularity, Kidz Bop’s decision to cover this dark, emotional song has us scratching our heads. This just goes to show it’s not about whether kids can sing it but rather should they sing it. 

The Great Escape” – Boys Like Girls

Many millennials know “The Great Escape” by Boys Like Girls as the perfect teenage anthem of freedom and hedonism. But yet again, an iconic staple of pop punk’s domination of the 2000s is forever stained with a Kidz Bop cover. Still, take away the kids’ high-pitch voices and this cover isn’t half bad.

Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz

The first six seconds of this Gorillaz cover are more uncomfortable than any other Kidz Bop song in its entirety. Why the producers of Kidz Bop decided to record a far more vile-sounding and longer laugh than the original is a great question. If you manage to make it past those six seconds, you’ll then face the agony of children singing, “Sha, sha-ba-da, sha-ba-da-ca, feel good,” again, sounding like possessed animatronics. However, credit is due to Kidz Bop for finding a decent Damon Albarn soundalike. While they didn’t exactly nail De La Soul’s verses in the song, one can still rejoice in the family-friendly lyrics (“Lining them up like fast cats”). And for obvious reasons, the brand disabled commenting under this video on Kidz Bop’s YouTube profile.

Bring Me To Life” – Evanescence

While the song already spawned a meme or two, it’s hard to envision “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence becoming even more meme-ified and internet-friendly. While Kidz Bop hires another off-pitch lead singer, the Kidz Bop participants save the cover from being unlistenable to at least funny with their singing of the famous chorus. However, the bridge is something in itself, with another unknown adult singer trying his best to mimic the rap.

Girl Next Door” – Saving Jane

Before Taylor Swifts “You Belong With Me,” Saving Jane released a hit of their own where the singer details her paranoid obsession with the popular girl at school. While some may not remember “Girl Next Door,” the song’s popularity in 2005 cemented its seat on Kidz Bop 10’s tracklist. It’s not the worst cover Kidz Bop has done. But the song still matches the singer’s nasally voice with the kids’ unnecessary gasps.

Girlfriend” – Avril Lavigne

The success of Avril Lavigne’s 2007 hit landed itself in the hands of Kidz Bop. They may have missed the song’s suggestive lyrics, such as “Don’t you know what I can do to make you feel all right?” Nonetheless, Kidz Bop tries their best to transform the pop misfit’s hit into a kid-friendly jam. Some lyrical changes include “Don’t pretend, I think you know I’m precious/And so yeah, I’m a hey, hey princess.” We understand the need to eliminate the profanity. But Kidz Bop’s alternative lyrics make the verses quite choppy and off rhythm.

“Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast In America” – Gym Class Heroes

Known for its catchy hook of “ba ba da da,” Gym Class Heroes are one of the few rap-rock bands to fall victim to Kidz Bop. While the chorus of the original song—sung by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy—is guaranteed to solidify itself in listeners’ heads, the Kidz Bop rendition is one you’ll wish you never heard. The emphasized echoing of “girlfriend” throughout the song is another obnoxious aspect of the cover. It seems like the kids are shouting it right into your ear. Sure, there’s no profanity or sexual innuendos that needed to be changed in this song. But the producers still decided to alter every mention of the word “man” to “boy” in the song’s bridge.