Album Review

Various - Barbie The Album

Life in plastic does indeed sound fantastic.

Various - Barbie The Album

Being entirely cynical, that a movie would gather one of pop’s best-known producers to assemble an all-star cast of artists for an album of original songs probably says more about both industries’ reliance on algorithms than anything deeper, but when it’s giving as much as Mark Ronson and assorted pals’ ‘Barbie The Album’ does that really matter? Musical styles run the full gamut, from the heartbreaking centrepoint of Billie Eilish’s ‘What Was I Made For?’ drawing full, unfiltered parallels between the parasocial and dress-up natures of both play and pop stardom, to the ‘80s excess nod that is the use of Slash on the record’s most unexpected smash, Ryan Gosling’s ‘I’m Just Ken’. Similarly, knowing winks are made to artists’ existing personas: Charli XCX sings about driving; Tame Impala on existing between worlds; Sam Smith’s knowing winks about Ken in the kitschy ‘Man I Am’. And that’s without considering how impeccably many of the tracks here are used throughout the film itself (no spoilers here). The only dud is GAYLE’s ‘butterflies’, which does nothing more than showcase the record’s corporate origins. Sampling a Y2K hit would have surely looked good on paper at some point; in reality it’s a confused mish-mash of sounds, the sample appearing as an add-on, the newcomer without the star power of her peers here to hint lyrically at anything of note. That aside, life in plastic does indeed sound fantastic.

Tags: Reviews, Album Reviews

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