Greta Gerwig’s lurid pink take on Barbie is undoubtedly one of 2023’s most hotly anticipated films.
The buzz around the movie has reached fever-pitch ahead of its July 21 release, made all the more frenetic by the recent release of several of the soundtrack’s biggest songs.
Let’s cut straight to the chase, here: the songs are from some of the world’s biggest artists, the music videos are Barbie fantasies, and each release is an utter joy.
It all started back in May with an Instagram post: Margot Robbie – who plays an apparently imperfect plastic doll who has been slung out of Barbieland into exile – was pictured reading a newspaper bearing the names of (almost) every artist appearing on soundtrack Barbie: The Album.
No wonder that she looked like she was in a state of barely-repressed shock: left-field pop star Charli XCX, Future Nostalgia chart-topper Dua Lipa, rising star Ice Spice, Los Angeles rock trio Haim, rap icon Nicki Minaj and psych-pop heads Tame Impala were among those joining in with the already star-studded fun.
Ryan Gosling – aka. Barbie’s beloved himbo Ken – was also, incredibly, included on the list. We’d hoped that he’d be lending his pipes to an emotive acoustic version of Aqua’s Barbie Girl – the actor did, after all, sing for his previous role in La La Land – but now it looks like the credit is for the ballad Just Ken, an emotional song which was released last week in which Ken reflects on being “just” a Ken.
“Doesn’t seem to matter what I do / I’m always number two... Cause I’m justâKen / Anywhere else I’dâbe a ten / Is it my destiny to live and die a life of blonde fragility?” sings Ken, despairingly, while wearing a series of stupid but perfect outfits.
But now, with just days to wait until the film’s July 21 opening, quite a few tracks from the soundtrack have been released.
These include Dua Lipa’s pop-banger Dance The Night, Billie Eilish’s moodier What Was I Made For? and Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice’s Aqua-sampling Barbie World, a particularly moving full circle moment for Minaj fans who call themselves the Barbz, after Minaj’s many references to Barbie in her work.
Plus FIFTY FIFTY’s track Barbie Dreams (featuring Kaliii) has now been released, as has PinkPantheress’s Angel, Charli XCX’s Speed Drive, and KAROL G’s WATATI (featuring Aldo Ranks).
But, thrillingly, there’s even more soundtrack excitement to come, as the full list of confirmed artists for the album, which has been executive produced by Mark Ronson, also includes Ava Max, Dominic Fike, Gayle, HAIM, Khalid, Lizzo, Tame Impala, and The Kid Laroi.
Alice Glass, formerly of the Canadian electro-punk duo Crystal Castles, has also teased her own warped version of Aqua’s 1997 hit Barbie Girl.
Aqua previously confirmed that their original track would not feature in the upcoming Barbie film, telling Variety it felt “too on the nose” and “cheese on cheese”.
Earlier this year, the film’s full-length trailer gave a first glimpse of what to expect from Greta Gerwig’s take on Mattel’s best-known children’s toy Barbie, and so far, it seems like the film will delve into feminist themes and the idea of unattainable beauty standards.
Indeed, the film is partly inspired by Mary Pipher’s 1994 non-fiction book Reviving Ophelia, an examination of the societal pressures faced by American teenagers, and the negative influence of misogyny and sexism.