For 20 years, the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, California had its own all-singing, all-dancing children's pop group called Kids on Stage for a Better World.
The group existed with a revolving cast of members from 1992 to 2012. Obviously their videos are quite old now, and I'm not their target demographic, so it's difficult for me to judge whether or not they were on-trend at the time – but like all things created by a religion and aimed at young people, they appear to be almost overwhelmingly uncool.
The group's matching outfits, choreographed dance routines and wholesome rap breakdowns seem to be the work of adults trying to emulate inoffensive, family-friendly (i.e., boring) kids' stuff like High School Musical and the Mickey Mouse Club.
About 90 percent of the group's lyrics relate to how they are a) young, and b) going to be the leaders of the future. The remaining 10 percent is made up of references to Scientology. The band also filmed a couple of episodes of a series based on the teachings of L Ron Hubbard.
Embedded below are some of my favorite Kids on Stage for a Better World cuts. Think of it as a greatest-hits collection.
"Don't Pass Me By" (2000)
Most appallingly generic lyric: "When I decided to learn about you / I saw the world from a new point of view" (3:52)
Most Scientology-ish lyric: "Prejudice is not just a word / It's a fact, it's a fact / If we're all created equal / Why do we face this horrible act?" (1:57)
Video highlight: The kid in the orange shirt almost tripping as he attempts to exit the convertible in a cool way. (0:37)
"Joy of Creating" (2003)
Most appallingly generic lyric: "Force yourself to smile, and you'll soon stop frowning" (3:10)
Most Scientology-ish lyric: "A being causes his own feelings" (This is a line from a poem by L Ron Hubbard) (3:57)
Video highlight: The repeated use of the phrase "Splurge on it!" which I'm pretty sure is something I've heard in porn.
"Vitamin R" (2006)
Most appallingly generic lyric: N/A – all of the lines are pretty out there.
Most Scientology-ish lyric: "How come you can't sit still / It's time to drop another pill" (Scientologists are super against psychiatric medication) (1:18)
Video highlight: The Britney-inspired dance routines with folding chairs.
"Starts with Me" (1993)
Most appallingly generic lyric: "Let's get busy today / Our dreams can shape the future" (2:47)
Most Scientology-ish lyric: "We're setting our goals / Makin' our plans" (0:54)
Video highlight: "Come on guys, let's kick it!" (roller-blader freeze-frame) (2:07)
"Kids of the Future" / "Bad Drugs" (2008)
Most appallingly generic lyric: "We're the kids! / We're the kids! / We're the kids of the future!"
Most Scientology-ish lyric: "Why do we think drugs are so bad? / According to The Way to Happiness / Our trusty common-sense moral code…" (3:56)
Video highlight: "Dealers out on the street at night (they're walkin')" (4:22)
"Neighborhood of the Heart"
Most appallingly generic lyric: "Children learn to love and hate in the neighbourhood of the heart / But in the neighbourhood of the heart / A song is a place to start" (1:10)
Most Scientology-ish lyric: N/A
Video highlight: One of the pieces of fake graffiti they've made for the video just says "tag". (0:53)