Released hot on the heels of January's Kidz Bop 23, 2013's Kidz Bop Party Hits! eschews its predecessor's fresh take on current pop hits and provides a set of previously issued recordings. While all Kidz Bop outings are notoriously upbeat and energetic, this 13-track compilation is even more so, offering up a set list of typically propulsive Kidz Bop renditions of minor-centric club hits (any racy language has been removed and replaced with something a bit more virtuous) like Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get it Started," OutKast's "Hey Ya," and Shop Boyz' "Party Like a Rockstar."
James Christopher Monger, Rovi
If you consider The Muppets the best movie of 2011, we must first congratulate you on being right, and then insist that you grab this soundtrack to make your case to skeptics. It resuscitates a few old Muppets classics (the theme song to the TV show, Kermit the Frog's heart-tugging "Rainbow Connection," and Sesame Street's timelessly cool "Mah Na Mah Na") and throws in some obligatory pop hits (including Cee Lo Green's masterpiece, which here bears its G-rated title, though it could also have been called "Pluck You" given it's clucked wordlessly by a group of chickens). But the handful of original tunes penned by Bret McKenzie, who co-wrote the music for HBO's Flight of the Conchords, are the real draw. McKenzie was an inspired choice for this assignment, as his amazing ability to satirize musical tropes with a fan's affection rather than a cynic's disdain gave the movie all the beats it needed—show-stopping dance numbers, efficient character portraits, and soulful epiphanies—while also giving the audience multiple levels on which to enjoy them. You can laugh at the wordplay or wink at the conventions, but you might also get genuine chills whenever Animal starts pounding the drums.
Tim Quirk, Google Play