Let’s go party: Aqua’s Barbie Girl is back to celebrate its 25th anniversary

If you thought that Aqua’s Barbie Girl was the apotheosis of disposable ‘90s pop, think again: in celebration of its 25th anniversary, parent album Aquarium is set to be re-released in September.

Dismissed by many as a Euro-dance novelty, Danish outfit Aqua nonetheless managed to rack up album sales of 33 million, so the joke most certainly wasn’t on them. 

With a Greta Gerwig-directed Barbie movie in the works, you might think that the re-release has come along at an opportune moment, but Variety reports that Aqua’s song won’t appear in the film, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and is set for release in 2023.

In fact, Barbie Girl and Barbie manufacturer Mattel have a bit of a history. Back in September 1997, six months after Barbie Girl’s release, the toy company sued MCA Records, Aqua’s label, claiming that the song violated its trademark and presented Barbie in a way they weren’t comfortable with.

The lawsuit was eventually dismissed, with a later 2002 ruling stating that the song’s parodic nature meant it was protected.

In 2021, Mattel launched Barbie Music Producer - a special version of the doll that came with a mixer, laptop (running a DAW) and headphones - in a bid to “shine a light on the importance of women’s stake in the industry”.

Aquarium will be re-released on 9 September, and is available for pre-order now.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine