Skip to main content

Bubblegum music can have layers. For example, Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” is a critique of Pamela Anderson and women like her. In addition, the song was supposed to be fun and tongue-in-cheek.

Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ was a song about Pamela Anderson and plastic surgeries

During a 2022 interview with Rolling Stone, Aqua member Lene Nystrøm discussed the meaning of “Barbie Girl. “It’s tongue-in-cheek,” he said. “It’s pop music. If you want to see the layers to it, there’s all the layers you want.

“But we kind of took the piss out of the Pamela Anderson Baywatch perfect picture with silicon boobs,” she added. “We wanted to take the piss out of that kind of perfect girl. That was the main thing we discussed. We didn’t say it very often, but that was the main thing behind it.” Notably, Anderson’s character on Baywatch, C. J. Parker, was arguably the most famous character on the show.

Fellow Aqua member Søren Rasted discussed the other lyrical inspirations for the track. “It was, of course, a song about plastic surgeries,” he said. “Other parts of the songs were just sexual.”

Mattel told Aqua to claim there was nothing sexual about the song

Mattel, the brand behind Barbie, was not a fan of the track. “When we had the lawsuit from Mattel, which came later, the lawyers made us change the story,” Rasted said. “They said, ‘Please don’t say it’s anything sexual.’ But we were not really trying to make a statement. We were just trying to write a fun song.” Notably, the case was dismissed.

Nystrøm, who played the role of Barbie in the song, was proud of the track. “I just remember a few brief moments from the studio, but we knew we really had something worth gold in our hands,” she recalled. While Nystrøm got sick of singing “Barbie Girl” over and over again at certain points, she looks back on the track fondly. “Barbie Girl” is so popular that new fans continue to come to Aqua’s shows, including many who were not even born when the song was released in 1997.


Tommy Lee Didn’t Interview for Pamela Anderson’s Netflix Documentary: Where the Former Couple Stands

How ‘Barbie Girl’ and the band’s other songs performed in the United States

“Barbie Girl” became Aqua’s only solo top 10 hit in the United States. It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for a total of 16 weeks. Aqua included “Barbie Girl” on their debut album, Aquarium. That record also peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and lasted on the chart for 50 weeks. None of the band’s other albums performed nearly as well.

The groups had one other solo top 40 hit: “Lollipop (Candyman).” That tune was also on Aquarium. “Lollipop (Candyman)” reached No. 23 and sated on the chart for 17 weeks. Lesser hits have become famous with time. Despite this, “Lollipop (Candyman)” is forgotten today. While the band had some other hits in Europe, they are mostly remembered for “Barbie Girl” in the U.S.

“Barbie Girl” is a classic bubblegum song even if it has a bit of a mean streak.