Among the things that parents wish for their children, along with success and happiness, of course, is that they will like the same music as their elders, a wish in most cases destined to remain unfulfilled. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal, and Hip-O Records, a reissue arm of Universal Music, tries to further that hope (and resell some old music) with Totally '80s for Kids, a sampler of danceable pop music from a decade when many of the parents of the 2000s were forming their musical taste. It was the high era of synth pop and MTV, when a second British Invasion (more than half the artists here are British) swept the country on a wave of squiggly electronic pulses played by people with a lot of stiff stuff in their hair. This edition in the Universal Music Family series proclaims on the cover that it is right for "ages 2+," but there really isn't any children's music on the disc. Granted, novelty hits like Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" and Trio's "Da Da Da" probably can be appreciated just as well by toddlers as by their parents or babysitters. And the album maintains a constant peppy beat from Kool & the Gang's multi-purpose hit "Celebration" to Dexys Midnight Runners' closing cover of Van Morrison's "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)," with lead singer Kevin Rowland mangling the lyrics. But unless these songs are remembered fondly by '80s-loving parents, there's no reason to impose them on innocent children who will be finding their own contemporary favorites in a few years anyway.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann