"I'm a Barbie girl... in a Barbie world" is a central theme to the conflict within Greta Gerwig's billion-dollar Barbie, now smashing records as the biggest performance by a solo female director ever. However, those lyrics by the Eurodance group Aqua were once subjected to a fierce copyright lawsuit, now making for a surprising inclusion in the film.
"We thought it would be like butter on bacon (very unlikely)," Aqua's lead female vocalist, Nystrøm, said to The Guardian. "We totally understood that they wanted something fresh and new [for the soundtrack]. And then, just two months ago, we were asked to do the collab [with Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice]." Bandmate René Dif also added, "It happened really quickly. It’s just nice to have Mattel come to us and say: 'Hey, that’s cool.'"
Come on Barbie, Let's Go Party
"Barbie Girl" was released in 1997, topping charts globally. Selling over 8 million copies worldwide, almost half of that in the United States, the impact of Aqua's pop song continues to be felt in modern media. "It’s just cool to see how this song actually never dies," Nystrøm said. "It just keeps on living, taking turns and twists."
One of the bigger twists to Barbie Girl's impact was a 2002 lawsuit, with Mattel claiming copyright infringement on their IP. With sexually suggestive lyrics such as "You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere" and "Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky-panky," Mattel claimed the song damaged Barbie's reputation, oversexualized the doll and that Aqua's record label, MCA, had acted like "Bank robbers." This led to a defamation counterclaim before both parties were dismissed, advised by the judge to "chill."
Margot Robbie was revealed to be behind the use of "Barbie Girl" in the film's soundtrack. "I was like, 'Greta, how are we going to incorporate this song? We can’t do a Barbie movie and not have a nod to Aqua’s "Barbie Girl."' It has to be in there," Robbie said. Robbie reportedly pushed for many of the inclusions in the final movie, with the Dreamhouse being a complete non-negotiable for signing on. The Barbie soundtrack's "Barbie World" by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice heavily samples "Barbie Girl," and marks Aqua's second-ever Billboard 100 entry.
Source: The Guardian