|Single by Aqua|
|from the album Aquarium|
|Released||May 14, 1997|
|Label||Universal, MCA (US)|
|Aqua singles chronology|
"Barbie Girl" is a song by the Danish-Norwegian dance-pop group Aqua. It was released in May 1997 as the third single from the group's debut studio album, Aquarium (1997). The song was written by Søren Rasted, Claus Norreen, René Dif, and Lene Nystrøm, and was produced by Johnny Jam, Delgado, Rasted, and Norreen. It was written after Rasted saw an exhibit on kitsch culture in Denmark which featured Barbie dolls.
The song topped the charts worldwide, particularly in European countries such as the UK, where it was a number-one hit for three weeks. It was also on top of the charts in Australia for the same length of time, and debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 6 September 1997 and it remains Aqua's biggest hit single in the US to date, and their only one to reach the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. It is Aqua's most popular work. The song became the subject of the controversial lawsuit Mattel v. MCA Records.
- 1 Background
- 2 Reception
- 3 Music video
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Track listings
- 6 Credits
- 7 Charts and sales
- 8 Release history
- 9 Kelly Key version
- 10 Cover versions and parodies
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The lyrics of the song are about Barbie and Ken, the dolls made by Mattel. Both the song and its music video feature Lene Nystrøm as Barbie and René Dif as Ken. As such, the lyrics drew the ire of Barbie's corporate owners, and a lawsuit was filed by Mattel.
A footnote on the back of the Aquarium CD case precisely stated that "The song 'Barbie Girl' is a social comment and was not created or approved by the makers of the doll."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic called the song "one of those inexplicable pop culture phenomena" and "insanely catchy," describing it as "a bouncy, slightly warped Euro-dance song that simultaneously sends up femininity and Barbie dolls."
The song was voted the fourth "Best Number One of All Time" in a VH1 poll, and was featured in spot No. 32 on VH1's "Most Awesomely Bad Songs... Ever" countdown. In an unrelated VH1 countdown, VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, it was featured at #88.
In 2007, Rolling Stone Magazine named "Barbie Girl" as one of the 20 Most Annoying Songs. But in 2007, MuchMoreMusic featured the song at No. 27 on the list of the 50 Guilty Pleasures. In 2009, Same Difference voted it No. 2 in their Ultimate Cheese-Fest Top 20 on 4Music. Five years before, Blender Magazine voted it at No. 33, as one of the 50 Worst Songs Ever. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers voted it the number one most annoying song of the 1990s.
In 1999, it was placed as the fourteenth worst music on MTV special 25 Lame.
The song won the 1998 NME Award for Worst Single.
In December 2000, toy manufacturer Mattel sued MCA Records, Aqua's record label. Mattel claimed that "Barbie Girl" violated their trademark and turned her into a sex object, referring to her as a "Blonde Bimbo". They alleged the song had violated their copyrights and trademarks of Barbie, and that its lyrics had tarnished the reputation of their trademark and impinged on their marketing plan. Aqua claimed that Mattel injected their own meanings into the song's lyrics and MCA Records was not about to let their hit single be suppressed without a fight. They contested Mattel's claims and countersued for defamation after Mattel had likened MCA to a bank robber.
The lawsuit filed by Mattel was dismissed by the lower courts, and this dismissal was upheld, though Mattel took their case up to the Supreme Court of the United States, but that appeal was later rejected. In 2002, a Court of Appeals ruled the song was protected as a parody under the trademark doctrine of nominative use and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; the judge Alex Kozinski also threw out the defamation lawsuit that Aqua's record company filed against Mattel, concluding his ruling: "The parties are advised to chill." The case was dismissed, and in the process, it garnered lots of media attention for the song and the band.
In 2009, Mattel released a series of advertisements and a promotional music video of the song, with modified lyrics, as part of a new marketing strategy brought in to revive sales. Mattel also uses the song in its product Barbie Shopping Time.
As the interval act during the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest, Aqua performed a medley of their singles alongside percussion ensemble Safri Duo. There were several complaints due to the profanity used during the performance, both at the beginning and end of "Barbie Girl".
These are the formats and track listings of major single releases of "Barbie Girl".
Australia, US and Canada
- Written by Norreen, Nystrøm, Dif, Rasted
- Performed by Norreen, Rasted
- Vocals by Nystrøm, Dif
- Hair and make-up by Fjodor Øxenhave
- Styling by Aqua, Bjarne Lindgreen
- Artwork by Peter Stenbæk
- Photo by Robin Skoldborg
- Produced, arranged and mixed by Norreen, Jam, Delgado, Rasted
Charts and sales
|Europe||14 May 1997|
|United Kingdom||13 October 1997|
|United States||1 September 1997|
Kelly Key version
|Single by Kelly Key|
|from the album Kelly Key|
|Released||August 15, 2005|
|Kelly Key singles chronology|
In 2005, Brazilian recording artist Kelly Key recorded a version in Portuguese for her third studio album Kelly Key. The version was released as second single on August 15, 2005. Key said she loved the song and wanted to do a version for honor: "I really like this song since I heard. I wanted to record without thinking about whether my fans will like it or not".
The song received generally negative reviews from music critics. Vinícius Versiani Durães of IMHO said that that version was funny and a future success. Marcos Paulo Bin of Universo Musical commented that the song was really different from previous releases – known for explicit lyrics – but was positive and said the version was good. Rodrigo Ortega of Pilula Pop said "Barbie Girl" was sensational, funny and chose as the best of the album. He also said that Key was wrong to released "Escuta Aqui Rapaz" as first single, because "the song was boring", but "Barbie Girl" saved the era. Carlos Eduardo Lima of Scream & Yell was negative and said the song was "childish, silly, boring" and killed Kelly Key sex-symbol.
The music video for "Barbie Girl" was recorded on August 2005, between 17 and 18. It was directed by Ricardo Vereza, Bidu Madio, Rentz and Mauricio Eça. The video was released on August 30. Kelly plays a determinate and feminist woman, who doesn't need a man.
In popular culture
- "Barbie Girl" – 3:20
- "Barbie Girl" (Cuca Mix) – 5:12
- "Barbie Girl" (Music video) – 3:23
|Brazil||August 15, 2005||Mainstream radio||Warner Music|
Cover versions and parodies
The song has been covered by several artists throughout years, including U.S. electric duo Velva Blu, Rob Mayth (2006, released as single ; in summer 2006, German Eurodance project Bangbros played live the remix of this version in a DJ set), Andrea featuring Sergio (Eurobeat cover for Super Eurobeat Vol. 199 ~Collaboration of Eurobeat~), Electric Chairs (2001, melancholy and down-tempo version). Other covers have been performed by bands Home Grown, My Favorite Band (MFB), Mars Moles and Ben l'Oncle Soul. An Easy listening version also exists by Axel Boys Quartet (1999) which was featured in a Dior television ad.
There are also many parodies of the song, notable made by The Dog House (a "gay" version in which Barbie is insulted behind her back by Garrett and Raoul with gratuitous words because they pine for Ken, however the conclusion of the song sees Barbie approach the pair who proceed to assault her and run off. This song is featured on their 2000 album, How Many People Must Get Dissed?), German duo Lynne & Tessa (a lip-synched internet video of the song, May 2006), British Indian comedy sketch show Goodness Gracious Me (titled "Punjabi Girl" both in the radio series and later on television), Ome Henk - Dutch song "Neem Een Ander in de Maling (Barbie Girl)", WPLJ (entitled "Jersey Girl", using stereotypes of Jersey girls as the basis for the whole song). In 2000, in India, a parody of this song "Chalu girl" was published by Times Music in the album "PatelScope I" by musician Devang Patel.
Identical twin sisters Amanda and Samantha Marchant, better known as Samanda, who came to fame appearing on the eighth series of Big Brother, released their cover of the song on 8 October 2007, and it entered the UK Singles Chart at number 26.
Girls' Generation's Jessica Jung covered this song as her solo performance during the first Asian concert tour Girls' Generation 1st Asia Tour: Into the New World. Mattel in 2009–2010 used an edit of the song as the 'theme song' of Barbie.
In 2010, it was used in Just Dance: Summer Party. In the Family Guy episode "Bill and Peter's Bogus Journey," president Bill Clinton is seen singing and dancing to "Barbie Girl" while playing Dance Dance Revolution.
In 2012, the song was parodied in an Australian lamb advertising campaign, relying on the Australian use of the term "barbie" to refer to the outdoor barbecue popularly held in Australia. The advertisement starred Melissa Tkautz and Sam Kekovich.
The song was referred to in the 2013 set-up of the musical We Will Rock You. In 2013, Ludacris sampled the song in his single Party Girls featuring Wiz Khalifa, Jeremih and Cashmere Cat. In 2014, the song was used in the South Park episode "Cock Magic", during Randy Marsh's "cock magic" show.
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- Candy Girl - Single https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/candy-girl-single/id1070886422
- Caramella Girls - Candy Girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQxiDLW2g9c