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

The answer is more complicated than it might first appear

Barbie
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.

Watch on YouTube

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.