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What Do You Mean Its For Kids: Music

  • Michael Jackson toes the line between this and What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? He started out as a squeaky-clean child performer with the Jackson 5, a group that got their own Saturday morning cartoon, and as an adult cultivated a family-friendly Friend to All Children image. He narrated an E.T. storybook album, made Captain EO for the Disney Theme Parks, contributed songs to the first two Free Willy movies, starred in The Wiz as Scarecrow, and frequently pushed messages of nonviolence, peace, and charity in his work. His 1993 Super Bowl halftime performance ended with him surrounded by hundreds of tykes as he sang "Heal the World". He was well aware that he was a hero to kids. Yet much of what he aimed at them was less than family-friendly by conventional standards.
    • His most famous solo song, "Billie Jean", is about an affair that may or may not have yielded a child. Similar "evil woman" songs appear on other albums.
    • "Thriller" and its spiritual successors have horror themes that are extensively played out in the "Thriller" video and the short film Ghosts.
    • In Moonwalker, the longest segment of the film is "Smooth Criminal", in which he plays himself as a superhero saving kids from an extreme version of The Aggressive Drug Dealer. The song itself is about a woman's murder, and in the Gangsterland dance segment featuring the song, he beats up or outright kills several people before whipping out a tommy gun to shoot at the villain's mooks. In the climax, he transforms into a robot (later spaceship) and mows down mook after mook without a care in the world. Note that there was a tie-in book for kids for this film, and it had to Bowdlerise the story quite a bit by leaving out the darker lyrics of "Smooth Criminal" and the mass killings (with the exception of the Big Bad's demise).
    • His crotch-grabbing dance move. He was doing this as early as the video for "Bad", but the video for "Black and White" made it infamous. This was because the clip was hyped for its kid-friendly, high-tech special effects, a prominent role for Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin, and even cameos from Bart and Homer Simpson. (The Simpsons has always had a lot of kids in its fanbase despite being aimed at adults.) Families really didn't expect the video to end with a long, music-free sequence of him dancing, grabbing his crotch, and smashing up a car and storefronts. In fact, director John Landis tried to talk him out of the crotch-grabbing, pointing out that his fanbase was full of kids, but was overruled. In the subsequent public outcry, press speculated that he ended the video this way because there's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, while Jackson himself claimed he meant no offense at all.
    • After he was accused of child molestation in 1993, his work became Darker and Edgier and was no longer pushed to families, but he still presented himself as a Friend to All Children and his fans and estate push him as that to this day. It's come to the point that the fan-assembled video for the posthumous track "Behind the Mask" included a shot of a pint-sized Jackson fan grabbing his crotch.
  • S Club 7 fell into this category with their last album Seeing Double. Two songs in particular that stand out are:
    • "Hey Kitty Kitty" which contains the lyrics "Hey, kitty kitty, set me free. Why d'you wanna do what you do to me? So good at being bad, you blow my mind. Hey, kitty kitty, you're so fine"
    • "Do It Til We Drop." Bradley's raps were pretty unexpected for kids, but this song starts out with the line "Come on and play with me baby, like girls do" which is sung by Rachel and one line before the chorus that's repeated frequently is "I'm so high/I can't come down."
      • Imagine a couple of kids in the car with their parents singing along to those songs. At least one of the car crashes in 2004 had to have been caused by a situation like that.
  • The French children's song "Alouette", when translated, is about plucking a bird's feathers off. It has been featured on everything from Dora the Explorer to Barney & Friends. One children's show, The Alvin Show, got past the true meaning of the lyrics by singing different English lyrics.
  • Béla Bartok's set of piano pieces For Children includes several based on Bawdy Songs with unprintable lyrics.
  • A recall happened involving a Wal-Mart CD called Kids Favorites, in which it featured songs with absolutely explicit lyrics.
  • Kidz Bop. A number of songs that have been featured within that make you go "What the hell were they thinking?!":
    • Good Charlotte's "The Anthem"
    • Trapt's "Headstrong"
    • Hoobastank's "The Reason"
    • Britney Spears' "Toxic"
    • Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started" (the album version amounts to "Let's Get Retarded"!)
    • Bowling for Soup's "1985"
    • Nicki Minaj's "Starships"
    • Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven"
    • FloRida's "Club Can't Handle Me"
    • Rihanna's "Diamonds" ("...what's a song with the word 'moonshine' in it doing on a kids' music compilation??")
    • fun's "Some Nights" (which drops the F-bomb at one point)
    • Cee Lo Green's "Forget You"
    • Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (which in the album version even has an F-bomb!)
    • The All-American Rejects' "Move Along"
    • P!nk's "Who Knew", "So What", and "Perfect".
    • Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock"
    • Enrique Iglesias' "Finally Found You"
    • Jessie J's "Domino" (which even starts with the words "I'm feelin' sexy and free")
    • Katy Perry's "California Gurls"
    • Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness". Wait, WHAT? Sure, the Kidz Bop version is based off the more well-known Cedric Gervais remix, but, still, the song itself is a dark dirge about suicide.
    • Ed Sheeran's "Sing". Because nothing screams "kid-friendly" like a song about consuming copious amounts of alcohol and tobacco!
    • Bastille's "Pompeii". Hey kids, here's a song about a historical disaster that killed more than 10,000 people!
    • Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out", despite the lyrics being okay, is actually based on a pretty morbid event: the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. That is to say, the song is about the shooting of the guy whose death caused a little incident known as World War One...
    • Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy actually called them on this, preventing "Dance, Dance" from being used for Kidz Bop 10 due to its sexual undertones.
    • There was a joke about how a Kidz Bop version of Nelly's Hot In Herre would go.
    It's getting hot in here
    So put on some cool clothes
    I am getting so hot
    I'm gonna put a fan on
    • This is similarly done with K-Tel's Mini Pops Kids. For example, the lyrics in their version of Kesha's "Tik Tok" changes the line from "getting drunk" to "playing tag".
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