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Barbie Girl

by

Aqua



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Although the lyrics seem meaningless, they could be making a statement about the inflated value of sex appeal in society. With abnormally tiny waists and enormous breasts, Barbie dolls are unrealistically proportioned, which her critics claim leads to self esteem and body image issues in young girls. Barbie's maker, Mattel, responds to these charges by pointing out that Barbie is not supposed to be realistic, and that her outlandish shape is designed so make her easy to pose and dress.
Aqua are a group of Scandinavian musicians and DJs who had originally formed under the name Joyspeed. This yielded some small chart success in their native region, but the group grew disillusioned and started over as Aqua.
This was written after the group saw an exhibit on "Kitsch Culture."
Mattel sued the band, saying they violated the Barbie trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object, referring to her as a "Blonde Bimbo." Aqua claimed that Mattel injected their own meanings into the song's lyrics. In 2002, a judge ruled the song was protected as free speech under the first amendment, and also threw out a defamation lawsuit Aqua's record company filed against Mattel. The judge said in the ruling that "The parties are advised to chill." The case was dismissed, and in the process, it garnered loads of media attention for the song and the band.

In late 1997, a few months after this song peaked on the American charts, Mattel announced that they were changing Barbie's body for just the third time in her history. Barbie's new body had a bigger waist, slimmer hips and breasts that were shrunk to an honest B cup.
Aqua is not the first group to be sued over Barbie. Director Todd Haynes was also sued by Mattel for his use of the doll in the 1987 film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.
Aqua had commercial success in Denmark and Sweden with their first single, "Roses Are Red," going to #1 there. The group is considered a one hit wonder in the United States, but in England, they followed "Barbie Girl" with two more #1 hits: "Doctor Jones" and "Turn Back Time." (thanks, Sara Webb - Hitchin, United Kingdom)
Blender magazine rated this the 33rd worst song ever in its 2004 article "Run for Your Life! It's the 50 Worst Songs Ever!" in a section entitled "Scandi-wegian pedo-pop alert! Erk!" They suggest that "perhaps the gambit sounded acceptable in helium-huffing singer Lene Nystrom's native Norwegian," but that "in English it's just plain wrong." They labeled "'rapper' Rene Dif's basso profundo 'come on, Barbie, let's go party'" as the worst part of the song. (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
In 1945 Ruth Handler and her husband Elliot founded the toy company Mattel with their close friend Harold Mattson. The idea for Barbie came about after Ruth watched their daughter Barbara cut dolls out of magazines and carefully choose clothes and accessories to clothe them in. All other dolls on the market at the time were baby dolls, but Ruth realized there was enormous potential in a doll with adult features, allowing children to act out their dreams. Barbie, named after their daughter, made her debut at the New York Toy Fair in March 1959 and took toy stores across the US by storm - more than 351,000 dolls were sold that year at $3 each. Today Barbie is the best selling toy in the world - more than one billion dolls have been sold since 1959 in 150 different countries.
Aqua
More Aqua songs
More songs with girls' names in the title
More songs that were an artist's first hit
More novelty songs
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More songs about toys

Comments (58):

Being from Denmark I just want to inform that there is so much better music performed by Danish Musicians
Kasmihr, Mew, Agnes Obel to name a few
But who is smart here - Aqua making a stupid song (looking at the video, probable a low cost production) and selling millions or they people out there buying it !
Anyway there should and is music for everyone, I am more into Classic Rock and would love to see some reunions albums-tours with ie Pink Floyd, Supertramp and 10CC
- Ole, Copenhagen, Denmark
I LOVE Aqua... Lollipop (Candayman) is the total Shiz! I mean honestly, their songs have to be totally random and meaningless... but their awesome jam songs when chilling with your buds... I know I get some really strange looks when I'm driving around with thier songs being blasted from my iPod, windows down, dancing at a stoplight. Much fum... LOLS! ANyway, yeah AQUA ROCKS!!!
- Meri, Payson, AZ
I saw the music video when I was 8 years old. For some odd reason, I liked the song and got the CD. Still have it, and am debating whether I should sell it or not. Aqua sings some fun and cute songs, plus, Aqua really isn't that good. My taste in music is much better now then it was when I bought the CD. If anyone is interested, I have a review of Aqua's album Aquarium. Just got to http://rogue-wizard.angelfire.com/blog/.
- Margie, St. Louis, MO
Barbie's measurements, if she were lifesize:
39C-22-35

I thought the lyric was "My lips are made of plastic; it's so fantastic!"
- Cyberpope, Richmond, Canada
this song is VERY catchy.... =D
- valerie, none of ur buisness!!, BC
Darrel, you really need to lighten up. Are you seriously concerned about a silly Norweigan pop group from the 90s violating the copyright of a major corporation that cannot possibly be harmed by the song? That is sad. You obviously do not know much about human nature; a hit song mentioning the toy will only increase sales. Also, Aqua did not violate Mattel's copyright on Barbie; there is no law that states their product cannot be mentioned in a song. In fact, according to the first amendment, they can sing about whatever they want. If anyone's rights were violated, it was Aqua's from Mattel's frivolous lawsuit. Oh, and incase you didn't pick up on it, "Life IN plastic, it's fantastic" sort of suggests that protection IS used, but then again, the song is a satire on the over-objectification of women, so that really doesn't matter (oh, and that also means the song is NOT offensive to women.) And please don't say pubic hair is "taboo." We all have it. Why should a part of the human body ever be taboo? Because it is associated with sex? Bad news, Darrel; sex is a vital part of life. Without it, none of us gets here. I sincerely hope you are not really this afraid of sex, music, and Barbies and that you get a life.
- Sally, South Orange, NJ
The Handlers also had a son, named Ken.
- Sara, Greenville, AL
If you enjoy this song, check out this video. I have no idea who these girls are, but I find this very funny, especially the leer on their faces as they sing the male parts. The link is to a french web site, but the song is sung in English:
http://www.yatahonga.com/video-Femme,en,cam,en,musique,43196,1.html
- Dale, Newark, OH
Aqua were NOT a one hit wonder band in the UK. They also charted with Dr Jones and Turn Back Time.
- Sara Webb, Hitchin, United Kingdom
This is the worst song I've ever heard! Inever want to hear it again! The part where she says you can undress her anywhere is so wrong! Next time whoever wrights a song they should learn to put down words that children want to hear! Better luck next time! (If there is a next time!)
- Mary, New York, NY
"I remember bopping to this song at my elementary-school dances... good times..."


Yeah. Same here.
The horror...
- Chae, Chicago, IL
This song is awesume!! Damn, Mattel or whatever that company's name is should be happy that Aqua advertized Barbie in a song. Their sales would go up. Plus, I'm glad that song exsists, so that people can realize how many dumbass blonde wannabes there are(Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, etc...) and it makes a statement. Nobody wants to be a retarded wannabe. Say wut? Yuuussss...O.o
- Flare, Dallas, TX
Has anyone seen a show called "X-Factor"? Some guy did a really bad version of both this song, and the Bee-Gees tragedy, it was outrageous!
- Mjn Seifer, Not listed for personal reason, England
I remember bopping to this song at my elementary-school dances... good times...
- Matthew, Milford, MA
I have four objections to this song.
1. This song is probably in violation of international and US copyrights and trademarks held by Mattel Toys, Inc.
2. The terms "Barbie Doll" and "Barbie Girl" are offensive to long-haired blonde women. I know of several who object to those terms.
3. It glorifies (presumably) unprotected sexual intercourse, which is to be avoided unless one or both parties have been sterilized (vasectomy or tube-tying) and should be avoided even then.
4. Mentioning pubic hair and male genitalia in a song that is targeted toward 13-year-old girls (as all new music is, sadly) is and always will be taboo.
- Darrell, Eugene
barbie girl is not a bad song you brash you your you dress your self down and you go party and you have some who loves you
- sarah, mansfeild, OH
At my school we have this initiation thing for freshmen where all the freshies have to dress up in goofy costumes and kowtow to the seniors and sing some stupid song. Our song was based on "Barbie Girl." And I don't find that gay because it's a girls' school. It went "I'm a freshie girl in a senior world."
- Marissa, Is this optional?, OH
This song is like the greatest. Ken is hot!!! I can't help but crack up at his winks. This music video is the funniest thing ever! Still in 2007 it rocks. They should be proud to have came up with such a freaking awesome song and an even cooler video. When he says "Well barbie, we are just getting started." His voice is like totally sexy!! Any DAY of the week Ken!
- Mercedies, Soldotna, AK
This song is like the greatest. Ken is hot!!! I can't help but crack up at his winks. This music video is the funniest thing ever! Still in 2007 it rocks. They should be proud to have came up with such a freaking awesome song and an even cooler video. When he says "Well barbie, we are just getting started." His voice is like totally sexy!! Any say of the week Ken!
- Mercedies, Soldotna, AK
oh, yeah and since when did ken look like a bald gym teacher???
- Nick Lamb, Sarnia, Canada
this song is the most annoying thing ever! Aqua should be ashamed to ever record such a pathetic attempt at music! anyone who enjoys this song clearly has suffered brain damage!
- Caitlin, Upper Township, NJ
I have a gold record for this song. Honest.
- Clarke, Pittsburgh, PA
You should never knock a song that sold over 1.5 million copies in Britain.A brilliantly put together song and performed with perfection.I love to sing this when i'm in drag.
- Terry, Northampton, England
dude, this was my first "cassete" my god, does anyone remember those things... p.s i liked mr jones better, it had a funnier film clip... dear god, im so glad i have better taste in music these days
- Ashlee, Hobart
yeah well i have the danish version
- taylor, redondo, CA
I think it's possible that this song is making a comment about society. It may be saying that in relationships, sometimes women are mens' "dolls", and that men basically own women. Part of the lyrics are, "You can touch, you can play/ If you say 'I'm always yours'". This may be implying that women will let men do anything if they offer commitment.
- Mallory, Lazy Town, NY
This is probably the stupidest song ever invented.
- Megan, Scituate, MA
Aqua's most disturbing song ever, yet I cannot help but to find it funny for it disses the stereotype: "blond equals hot" in a way. Most people don't take Aqua serious, because they were just fun music, brainless and no need to think... Which is nice sometimes, though they've got a few serious songs too which are actually pretty decent.
- Moya, Zoutleeuw, Belgium
Its rather disturbing when you realize this song reached #1 in the charts.
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
Allegra, um...coolsville..(sigh) Yea i totally agree with you! The MxPx version is AWESOME!!! The aqua version is just sort of...sad...
- Cameron, Cairns, Australia
this song gives me creeps....good for kids, I heard this song was super duper hit in asia..because its easy to understand and theres no brain to it actually.
- sum sum, New Delhi, India
This song was used here in Venezuela for the presidential campaing of Irene Saez, a former Miss Universe (peroxide blonde) who managed to get elected as mayor of Chacao, one on the districts in Caracas. I bet she didn't understand the lyrics...needless to say she didn't win, left the country and became a Southern Baptist living somewhere in Florida
- Bernard, Caracas, South America
She is plastic everywhere even in innappropriate places.
- jackh, Spokane, WA
MXPX made a punk cover of this song. its so much better than the original.
- Allegra, Coolsville, MO
its such a dumb song haha but its got a catchy toon so its easy to get it stuck in your head.
- kristina, houston, TX
Aqua is the one hit wonder group that will always be remembered for that song... Sadly they disbanded and there was another group to follow called "ToyBox" which is 2 members (boy & a girl) that sounds EXACTLY like them.... Be afraid....
- Jake, San Mateo, CA
Yeah I danish band. But, im sorry.. They sux. Danish music are not like this sh**.
- Sofie, Odense, Denmark
It's true that Aqua's Barbie Girl has some rather rude double meanings, but it is still very clever. I love all of Aqua's songs, especially Back From Mars, Goodbye To The Circus, Freaky Friday, and Cartoon Heroes.
- Mitchell, Auckland, New Zealand
this song defines annoying, high pitched, producer-created europop.
- Matt, Millbrae, CA
I dont really know who is Aqua but the song is really cute you know.I mean its about the cute Barbie stuff and Ken falling in lvoe with Barbie having a party but that dude is Ken? Yea right,not that im into Barbies or anything but I can defenetly tell you that Ken has hair and is handsome. Lol
- Casie, Denver, CO
Hahah Barbie Girl was the first C.D i ever brought and you never forget the first C.D you brought. Thank god my taste is so much better now.
In Australia it got banned from radio stations because of the "You can touch , you can play" part. I think Aqua just wanted a novelty song and they got it
- Madeline, Melbourne, Australia
I don't remember much about this song except that the radio stations played it ad infintium ad nauseam (which is Latin for "to the point that I throw up") If I hadn't had to listen to it incessantly, it might have been somewhat cute, but I hated it the second day after it came out. Thanks, Mr and Ms. DJ!
- Jude, Thomasville, GA
this band was funny, even when i was a lil kid i didn't like them.. i was just talking about this song today and my friend and i started singing our own little version, i think i'm not permitted to do so, but lets just say it kinda sexually orientated. anyways it goes "i'm a barbie girl in a barbie world, your d!*k is plastic, its fantactic, you can brush my hair or comb my pubic hair, imagination life is your creation, come one barbie, lets get horney, ahahahyeah...." i think the rest is kinda yeah. i'm pretty imaature so i can't help but chnage the words of this song, its already sort of kinky, see the film clip?
- Mistik, Sydney, Australia
Aqua had another hit in the US and elsewhere with "Lollipop (Candyman)". So they are not a one-hit wonder. "Turn Back Time" was also a hit in some countries.
- Axel Titus, Lake Forest, CA
yeah good stuff
- Ellen, Watertown, SD
has anyone ever heard the Rammstine version of this song it is the most hystrical thing EVER!!!
- jer, london, Canada
all it is, is saying that life is yours to do what you like and their opinion of this life is going to parties probobly referring to orgies and having sex "hanky panky" and undressing eachother is a thing that they will do at orgies... put the pieces together people
- Billy, seminole, FL
I agree with charlie in DC, an extremely frightening band! the first time i heard one of their songs (if you can call them songs!) i had nightmares! blerk.
- josie, fremantle, Australia
that is one of the weirdest and funniest songs i've ever heard
- Carson, G-town, IL
ive never heard of this song
- Andres, Santa Rosa, CA
its pretty much about sex. at least that's what they said on vh1. i mean life in plastic, hanky-panky? kinda hard to miss isn't it?
- mj, boston, MA
id just like to say that AQUA IS ONE BIG SREWED band, my sister used to always play them in the car and they really creeped me out and they still do.
- charlie, Thomaston, DC
I would think of Aqua as a one-album-wonder as opposed to a one-hit-wonder... Here in Canada, Lollipop Candyman hit #1 on MuchMusic as well, and all of their other videos did modestly well on the canadian charts.
- Logan, Mississauga, Canada
The chorus might have a deepe meaning:

"Life is plastic". Everything's fake, nothing in the person's life means anything. "It's fantastic!" She makes herself believe she enjoys it, though, because since she's not too emotionally attached to anything, it's easier to enjoy life. Hard for me to explain :-/

Probably me just over analyzing things *shrugs*.
- Jannelle, Vallejo, CA
its probably about how they thought barbie was a bad girl and not so much of a nice one. all of the sex references- that's my vote. Either way, this song is HI-larious, not necessarily great.
- jk, la, CA
Ok, the facts are nice, but I still don't know the meaning of the song.
- Vanessa, Barstow, CA
this is the best song ever! I wonder why it was popular for such a short period of time.
- Mike, Mountlake Terrace, WA
Far from being one-hit wonders, Aqua came back with the (infinitely better) Turn Back Time following this hit. It reached number one on 16th May 1998.
- Matthew, Shrewsbury, England
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