Lizzo’s Newest Honor: A KIDZ BOP Cover of “Truth Hurts”
In the past year, recording artist and all-around bad bitch Lizzo has enjoyed many honors signaling her success in the music industry: chart-topping records, a double platinum single, performances at the MTV VMAs and BET Awards, a collaboration with Missy Elliot. Lizzo is on top of the world.
But recently, she achieved something that signifies pop culture penetration like nothing else: a KIDZ BOP cover.
If you’re not aware, KIDZ BOP is a series of compilations that reimagine the most ubiquitous pop songs with children in mind. With a rotating cast of prepubescent singers, the entity has been replacing curse words and distorting double entendres since 2001. Typically, the covers come out several months after the original record’s release, when it has already become unavoidable. But sometimes the unavoidable is inappropriate for young ears.
How to Make it KIDZ-Friendly
Remember when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and Halsey? Even if you don’t recognize the artists, you know this song.
“So baby pull me closer in the back seat of your Rover/
that I know you can’t afford/bite that tattoo on your shoulder/
Pull the sheets right off the corner of that mattress that you stole”
But perhaps you don’t want your child hooking up in the backseat of a soon-to-be repossessed Rover or maybe your kid already has a problem with biting people. Either way, you don’t want them to get the wrong message.
KIDZ BOP is looking out for you.
“So baby pull me closer as we stand against the Rover/
that I know they can’t afford/ brush that stress right off your shoulder/
pull the sheets right off the corner of that notebook that you stole”
Now, rather that having a passionate love affair with a long-lost ex, your kid can sing about the stress that accompanies parents living beyond their means, which forces children to steal school supplies.
Not an altogether happy story, but at least it’s not sex, right?
Now you and your child can also sing along to Lizzo’s kiss-off to fuckboys, “Truth Hurts.” After all, children have to deal with fuckboys too. They’re called frenemies.
When you hear that distinctive piano start, you can sing as a family:
“I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that kid!”
“You coulda had a GOOD FRIEND/noncommittal”
“I will never ever ever ever ever… want it like that”
Truth be told, not every line is a winner. KIDZ BOP does have a tendency to get way too vague with their lyrics. For instance, “New ones, like the Minnesota Vikings.” New whats? New friends? New football seasons? New Air Force 1s?
Perhaps the most prominent effusion of detail, however, comes in the hook of “Truth Hurts.” If you’ve never beheld a room full of women yell-singing “WHY MEN GREAT TIL THEY GOTTA BE GREAT?” then you’re missing out. The creators of KIDZ BOP didn’t want to put off any parents who might actually believe there is a War on Men, so they changed it to “Why you great til you gotta be great?” In the KIDZ BOP universe, “Truth Hurts” is a largely platonic rumination on fair-weather friends.
On the plus side, they leave alone the following line: “That’s the goddess in me.” Like female superheroes, every child should be comfortable loving and identifying with female deities. Lizzo and KIDZ BOP are giving them that chance.
The Rewards of Hard Twerk
Is the endorsement of KIDZ BOP a massive artistic achievement for Lizzo? No. Does the juvenile version of “Truth Hurts” fully capture the track’s joyful self-affirmation in the face of lame fuckboys? Of course not.
But KIDZ BOP is the Wheaties box of pop music. Like a triumphant olympic athlete who has finally achieved recognition after training her whole life, the release of the KIDZ BOP version of “Truth Hurts” is just another small reward from Lizzo’s breakthrough year.
A number of publications have referred to her rise in 2019 as “meteoric.” But while meteors do move with great speed, they often travel billions of miles before anyone on Earth takes notice. Like most overnight successes, Lizzo is anything but.
Performing since she was a teen, Lizzo studied classical music at the University of Houston, collaborated with Prince, and released two albums and several eps and mix tapes.
And “Truth Hurts” also had to travel a long road to prominence. As Chris Molanphy wrote for Slate, Lizzo released the song in 2017 and it stayed relatively unknown until it entered the charts at number 50 in May and climbed until reaching number one this month.
So when you hear the strange chorus of children singing “Bom bom bi bom bi dum bum bay,” it’s not just a nonsensical preschool version of a certified bop. It is also the sound of a well-earned victory lap.