Aqua Isn't Upset That 'Barbie Girl' Won't Be In Greta Gerwig's Movie

If you were alive in the late '90s, you've almost certainly heard Aqua's "Barbie Girl." At once a catchy earworm and a deeply silly novelty tune, it remains one of the more inexplicable songs to ever top the charts. Listeners almost certainly will have a different relationship to the song depending on how old they were when they heard it, but as a very young kid in the '90s, it was a song I heard — and loved — mostly at sleepovers, where it was in heavy rotation. I most distinctly remember dancing to it at a cousin's birthday party, after we set up her new password journal but before we stuffed ourselves with brightly colored birthday cake ice cream.

That type of hot-pink-tinged memory is right in line with the magic of "Barbie Girl," a celebratory song that imagines a world where "life is plastic" and "it's fantastic." You'd think the kitschy, cheeky girlhood anthem would be a perfect fit for Greta Gerwig's upcoming "Barbie" film, but apparently, Aqua's declarations of "ooh-oh!" will be nowhere to be found when the movie hits theaters. In a new retrospective of the 25-year-old song from Variety, Aqua members Søren Rasted and Lene Nystrøm confirm that the Warner Bros. "Barbie" flick won't use the song, but they seem pretty cool with it.

"We should say we turned it down," keyboardist Rasted joked to the outlet, adding, "Ryan Gosling is not good enough!" Nystrøm, who sings for the band and provided vocals on the song along with bandmate René Dif, implies the song may have been a bit too campy for the movie, saying it would be like "cheese on cheese." In the end, she says, "I totally understand why they didn't use it, but it's going to bring us a lot of attention, no matter what."

Mattel once sued Aqua over the song

There's actually a pretty straightforward reason "Barbie Girl" wouldn't show up in an official Barbie movie: after the song's release, Barbie toymaker Mattel tried to sue the band responsible, claiming a copyright violation. They also pointed to the song's double entendre lyrics, which include lines like "you can brush my hair, undress me anywhere" and "kiss me here, touch me there," calling them derogatory and disparaging according to The Wall Street Journal. The suit ended up in federal court in 2003, where the LA Times reports that U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski gave a fantastic response to the suit, saying, "The parties are advised to chill."

As weird as it would have been for the Mattel-approved new "Barbie" movie to try to work with Aqua after the toy company spent years taking them to court, it's also hard to imagine the candy-colored film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling not including the smash hit dance track. Gerwig's film will be the first-ever live-action Barbie movie after a long line of animated films, and while plot details are still mostly under wraps, the all-star cast includes Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, Issa Rae, America Ferrera, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Michael Cera, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Rhea Perlman, Emerald Fennell, Alexandra Shipp, Hari Nef, and Scott Evans.

"Barbie" will hit theaters on July 21, 2023. In the meantime, we'll be listening to "Barbie Girl" on repeat.