What Song Do the Kens Sing in ‘Barbie’ and What Does It Mean?
The highly anticipated Barbie movie has been out for less than 24 hours and viral moments are already being dissected. One, in particular, is a scene in the film in which all of the Kens serenade the Barbies with Matchbox Twenty’s “Push.”
The scene plays out as a nightmare date come to life, that many women know all too well: a man strumming his guitar, singing at (not to) his date, finding some sort of emotional connection or meaning in his own performance.
In this case, the Kens have found meaning in the lyrics of “Push” as a result of their newfound discovery of patriarchy. The Barbies, on the other hand, take this as an opportunity to turn the Kens against each other and take back Barbieland from the clutches of a patriarchal Kendom.
As the Kens sing lyrics like “I don’t know if I’ve ever been good enough,” the Barbies feign interest in other Kens to stir up drama between them and ultimately turn all of the Kens against each other, so that the Barbies can take back Barbieland while the Kens fight.
At this point in the film, the Kens are having a bit of a crisis about what their value is in Barbieland and are questioning their worth in the hierarchy of their society, much like the song suggests. However, also in line with the song, they have overcorrected and begun pushing and putting down the Barbies to make room for themselves and their horses.
Greta Gerwig actually assigned 90s hits to both Barbie and Ken, giving Barbie the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine,” which plays on the journey between Barbieland and reality. The song is reminiscent of Barbie’s physical and emotional journey of self-discovery with lyrics like “There’s more than one answer to these questions / Pointing me in a crooked line / And the less I seek my source for some definitive /Closer I am to fine, yeah.”
The anthems for each Barbie and Ken represent larger reflections of their character development throughout the film. The songs, uncoincidentally, also include artists who were vital in the coming-of-age journey for much of the film’s target audience. This is perfect, seeing as growing up and womanhood are such prominent themes in Barbie.
Ken’s (Ryan Reynolds’s) emotional rendition of “Push” and a Brandi Carlile cover of “Closer to Fine” are available on the deluxe version of Barbie: The Album. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is now playing only in theaters.
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