Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
With the new Barbie movie coming out this weekend, it is the perfect time to revisit Aqua’s classic number one hit that reached that top spot in multiple countries across the globe. Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice have even contributed a version of the song for the soundtrack. It’s not so much a cover as a rap over “Barbie Girl” played in the background, but it’s still a great throwback with a new twist.
The new movie has brought up some capital-D discourse about Barbie. Is it feminist? Is it anti-feminist? Does Greta Gerwig at the helm make us more or less nervous about the outcome? Either way, as the trailer advertises: “If you love Barbie. If you hate Barbie. This movie is for you.” The movie has a star-studded cast, with Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken at the helm (since this is a music blog after all, Dua Lipa plays Mermaid Barbie).
As I was getting my head into Barbie World, compiling covers of this song, I realized that I was definitely listening to a clean version as a kid. I was used to hearing “I’m a blonde, single girl,” not “I’m a blonde, bimbo girl.” Maybe my Barbie memories have more of a girl power tinge than Aqua’s. I guess this version means that Ken hasn’t yet fully convinced Barbie of his charms. Mattel, Barbie’s manufacturer, actually sued Aqua because of this “bimbo”-induced disrespect of their trademark. The court ruled in favor of the band with potentially the best closing statement of a ruling ever: “The parties are advised to chill.” I can’t make this up. Just think, without this ruling we might not have this song to rediscover in this moment.
No matter what your Barbie vibe is, there is a cover of “Barbie Girl” for you.