Monday, May 6, 2013

Kidz Bop Kids "Hey Ya"

There was a creepy greying man in the toy aisle at Walmart, his arms filled with "The Littlest Pet Shop" figurines.  Mothers with young children gave him a wide berth, even skipping the aisle to avoid this man who was clearly some kind of pervert.  I, too, felt pretty skevved out by him.

And unfortunately, "him" was me.

Yeah, nothing makes a grown man feel like a creep, than having to shop for birthday presents for his elementary-school-aged nieces.  Hanging out, picking up various Barbies and their modern day plastic equivalents looks suspicious when you are an adult man on his own.

My sister's 3 children have Spring birthdays, so to save everyone in the family a bit of hassle, she just has one family party and we celebrate all three at once.  It's also near her husband's birthday.  And it's usually the weekend before Mother's Day.  And this year, the middle child was making her First Communion.

In short, there were a lot of presents to buy.

Now I got to feel pretty cool going to a Game Stop, to pick up the Super Mario Wii game that my nephew wanted.

And I only looked slightly out of place amongst the Moms and retired ladies that made up the bulk of the clientele at Marshalls.  My brother-in-law had asked for a "Sit-Up Mat" for his birthday.

"What's a 'Sit-Up Mat'?" I asked my sister.

"It's a manly looking Yoga Mat, I guess."

I dug through the bin of what they were calling "Fitness Mats" (that prominently featured a woman doing yoga on the packaging).  Under a pile of pink and mauve roll up mats, was a plain grey one.  Score!

But I was going to have to go to a legitimate toy place for the presents for my two nieces, who are elementary and preschool aged.

"They like anything Littlest Pet Shop.  And Cate like Beanie Boos."

I really wanted to spend my money at a local toy store, as opposed to a chain.  But why did it feel odd to be in there?

I was walking up and down the aisles, list in hand, just feeling weird.

What was unsettling about this place?

On the store's PA system, "Hey Ya" was on.  But it wasn't "Hey Ya."  It was a different version of "Hey Ya."

The song was probably over 3/4th over by the time this registered.  About the time where Andre 3000 usually sings "I don't want to meet your momma/I just wanna make you come-a."

Only, in this version, the singer just sang, "I don't want to meet your momma . . . " and just let the second half of the line hang there.

It was a cleaned-up version of "Hey Ya," made specifically for kids.  They had removed any overt sexual references, so children could enjoy the fun of the song, without being subjected to anything inappropriate.  When I got home to research it, I found there is a major market for this, with dozens of CDs produced each year, with "kid" versions of popular songs.

I had entered a Twee world.  Where things were neat and innocent and scrubbed of any inappropriateness.  And a childless adult male wandering through a twee world, is a little weird.

The last time I was at Disneyworld, my wife and I were thrilled to get in a line-up with our daughter, to have the chance to meet and have her picture taken with Ariel, the Little Mermaid (you know, an actor, dressed like her).  Our little girl loves The Little Mermaid.  But so did the guy in front of us.  He was probably in his late 20s.  He was alone.  He had a backpack that looked like stuffed animal.  And he was there to have his picture taken with The Little Mermaid.  He may have been a perfectly normal and nice person.  He didn't do anything overtly inappropriate.  But just the fact that he was in line to have his picture taken with The Little Mermaid was kind of creepy.

And that's how I felt at Walmart.

The local toy store didn't have what I was looking for, so I went down the road to Walmart.  Where the creepy bar is significantly lower.

And yet, standing in the particular toy aisle where everything is pink and made out of plastic and has huuugge "cute" eyes, I felt like one of those people you look at in Walmart, avert your eyes, and move just a little more quickly to get your discount stuff and get the hell out of there.

Maybe it was all in my head.  Maybe no one in the store gave a second thought to it.  Maybe the woman at the cash register wasn't judging me and my purchase of a "Littlest Pet Shop Sweet Delights Treat Truck Set."


I didn't want to ask the folks at the local toy store what CD they were playing, so I wasn't really sure what version of "Hey Ya" I was listening to.  This isn't exactly it, but it'll give you the idea, if you're not familiar with "kids versions."

Hear the song on Youtube.

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