Everyone identifies the 1980s as the decade before the discovery of irony. I grew up in the ’80s and will testify that they were frighteningly sincere. What is forgotten when we look at the ’80s is that social trends do not care for arbitrary time units. There was a lot of “’80s” in the ’90s* – a point proven by the release in 1990 of Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme. In Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme, Mother Goose goes missing and her son must embark on a musical adventure to find her before bad things happen. What makes Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme ’80s sincere is the star level at the time of the singing nursery rhyme characters he encounters on his way. Harry Anderson (Night Court) is Peter Piper. Cyndi Lauper is the Mary who had a little lamb. Little Richard (co-inventor of rock ‘n’ roll) is a very merry Old King Cole. ZZ Top are the Three Men in a Tub. The list goes on.
Today, only Sesame Street has that kind of pull.
*Nirvana wasn’t even a thing until 1991 when “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Nevermind broke big for them.
**This came up because my daughter’s dance class appears to be using one of the songs from Mother Goose Rock ‘n’ Rhyme, which, to my undying shame, I recognized and may have sung along too.