If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Does the new movie use Aqua's anthem 'Barbie Girl'? Yes, and No

The answer is more complicated than it might first appear

Image credit: Warner Bros. Studios

It seems like a no-brainer, but to the surprise of many, Aqua’s 1997’s pop anthem 'Barbie Girl' — that’s the one about being a Barbie girl in a Barbie world, in case you don’t remember — is not on the soundtrack of the upcoming Barbie movie from director Greta Gerwig and Warner Bros. Studios.

…Kind of.

Talking to Variety last year, the band’s vocalist Lene Nystrøm revealed that the beloved song wouldn’t be in the movie — although it has appeared in a trailer — arguing that, perhaps, using it would be “cheese on cheese” tonally.

"I totally understand why they didn’t use it,” she said, “but it’s going to bring us a lot of attention, no matter what.”

Amusingly, bandmate Søren Rasted argued that the band should claim that the decision to not use the song was theirs: “We should say we turned it down,” he joked. “Ryan Gosling is not good enough!”

Some have suggested that its absence is rooted in the 1997 lawsuit filed by Barbie owner Mattel against Aqua’s record label, MCA Records; that suit — which claimed that it violated the Barbie trademark, illegally used a particular shade of pink for its cover artwork that was owned by Mattel, and tarnished the Barbie brand by sexualizing the character — ultimately failed when a Ninth Circuit judge declared that the song was parody, and therefore legally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The problem with the theory that Mattel is holding enough of a grudge to block the use of the song is that the toy manufacturer actually used the song in its own advertising in 2009, albeit in a re-recorded, rewritten version.

A far likelier explanation is that the song does appear on the soundtrack, via the newly-recorded “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, which uses 'Barbie Girl' as its basis to the point where Aqua is credited on the track.

Cover image for YouTube videoNicki Minaj & Ice Spice – Barbie World (with Aqua) [Official Music Video]

An original track by Nicki and Ice Spice, and a sneaky use of the Aqua track? No wonder producers couldn’t resist… even if it means that the original version of the song remains off the official soundtrack.

Barbie opens July 21. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.

Will there be a Barbie sequel? Here’s what director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie have to say on the matter.

Follow Popverse for upcoming event coverage and news

Let Popverse be your tour guide through the wilderness of pop culture

Sign in and let us help you find your new favorite thing.

In this article
Awaiting cover image



Related topics
About the Author
Graeme McMillan avatar

Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.