However I’m not a pop music critic. To debate the soundtrack for “Barbie,” which might be launched in full alongside the film on Friday, I chatted with an expert: The Publish’s Chris Richards, who has been the paper’s pop music critic since 2009. We mentioned the hits and the misses on the soundtrack, in addition to Mattel’s years-long, in the end unsuccessful lawsuit in opposition to the Danish-Norwegian pop group Aqua over their 1997 hit “Barbie Woman.” (Decide Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals for the ninth Circuit in the end dominated in favor of Aqua’s label, MCA Data, in 2002, and memorably concluded his opinion with the admonishment, “The events are suggested to relax.”)
Mark Ronson, who produced the soundtrack, has said that he was impressed by disco — he drew a parallel between ’70s disco acts just like the Bee Gees realizing individuals hated them to Barbie waking up within the movie and realizing individuals don’t like her, both. What do you concentrate on the disco parts within the soundtrack and the Dua Lipa monitor, “Dance the Evening,” particularly?
Oh, that’s a very fascinating parallel — I hadn’t heard that. You understand, I feel Dua Lipa is nearly the perfect artist for this sort of undertaking. She makes disco, however extra within the mode of Kylie Minogue or Madonna — she feels like she’s studied disco’s imitators extra carefully than she studied disco itself.
That’s such a very good match for the Barbie universe as a result of Barbie stretches and refracts by so many a long time of American tradition. There’s this blurry demarcation line between what’s pretend and what’s actual that’s so central to the thought of Barbie. It additionally traces up in a really tidy parallel to the fakeness and realness in pop music, a lot of which owes this big debt to disco and the propulsive beat behind it. So it appears like a reasonably considerate match, truly.
The Haim sisters, who’ve an as-yet-unreleased tune on the soundtrack, have said they had been impressed by an previous Barbie VHS tape with “tacky songs” that they used to look at on repeat. There may be this kind of inherent cheesiness to Barbie. How do you assume the artists and Ronson have approached that aspect within the soundtrack?
A lot about pop music is supposed to be direct and honest in ways in which possibly extra skeptical listeners may discover to be tacky.
Having solely performed with Barbie dolls whereas visiting my neighbor’s home within the ’80s a pair instances, it’s clearly this extremely imaginative exercise, and also you’re collaborating on this fantasy world on this intimate method. That traces up so neatly with how we expertise widespread music — it is this fabulous different world that feels sort of past our attain, however we really feel extremely near it. In order that’s a very wealthy vein they’re tapping into.
After all I’ve to ask you about “Barbie World,” the one from Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice that samples Aqua’s “Barbie Woman.” How does Mattel go from claiming the lyrics had been damaging to Barbie’s repute to completely embracing this tune in 2023?
As we push into the darkest depths of the social media age, manufacturers are lastly beginning to notice that they should get on the facet of the individuals. It’s been 25 years since Aqua launched “Barbie Woman,” proper? That’s 1 / 4 of a century. The tune is a basic now, or at the very least a camp basic, and I feel it’s straightforward to argue that “Barbie Woman” did way more to strengthen the Barbie model than damage it. Quick-forwarding to the brand new tune, I’m completely delighted that Nicki Minaj is part of it; she’s used Barbie imagery in her music for years.
I am slightly bit unhappy about the way it turned out for Ice Spice, although. I feel her voice is simply this magnificently intimate and nuanced factor, and it actually will get eaten up within the pink maximalism of the Aqua pattern. I feel it’s a brand new artist factor. She’s nonetheless introducing herself to the world, and I feel she sort of forgot that Barbie wants her slightly greater than she wants Barbie at this second.
Are there some other surprises on the soundtrack for you?
From what I’ve heard, probably the most arresting monitor is Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” It is this ballad that you possibly can learn to be concerning the commodification of a pop star, and even, extra broadly, virtually like an existential plea to God. I simply love when pop songs discover methods to concurrently really feel very small and really huge in the way in which that this one does.
Ronson said this week, “It’s in all probability my favourite Billie Eilish tune, and in addition one among my favourite vocals of simply, fingers down, of the final 10 years of pop music.”
Lastly, I’ve to say the Indigo Ladies’ “Nearer to Superb,” which isn’t on the official soundtrack however seems within the movie as Barbie is driving out of Barbieland in her little Corvette and into the true world. Do you assume it might hit the charts once more within the wake of the film launch?
It might occur! We’re seeing now plenty of older songs develop into modern hits. It occurred with Kate Bush and her 1985 song “Running Up That Hill” and “Stranger Issues” final 12 months.
This dialog has been edited and condensed for readability.
“The Spice Ladies modified every little thing and dictated my model of second-wave feminism. It’s like, ‘Oh, my God, they put on little sparkly clothes and push-up bras, after which have a lady gang? That’s what I wish to be!’” – Margot Robbie, to Rolling Stone, on her personal musical influences
- What guitar does Ryan Gosling as Ken play within the film? That will be Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell’s signature Gibson Hearth Satan Songwriter acoustic, per Guitar World.
- Gosling’s not holding the guitar, although: In this Reel, he provided it to BTS’s Jimin after inadvertently copying his outfit.
- Prepping for “Barbenheimer”? The movies have extra in frequent than you assume.
- “Barbie” isn’t “Chinese language Communist propaganda,” although — that’s simply Ted Cruz talking.