Barbie movie soundtrack breaks UK singles chart record

Barbie movie soundtrack breaks UK singles chart record

Barbie’s already taken over the box office and now the film’s soundtrack has conquered the UK music charts too.

Tracks by Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Nicki Minaj have stormed straight into the top five since the pink-tinged blockbuster’s release one week ago.

And they weren’t the only songs from the star-studded album to hit the chart.

Anywhere else he’d be a top 10, but Ryan Gosling brought some Kenergy at number 25 with his ballad I’m Just Ken.

Bosses of the Official Singles Chart say it’s the first time three tracks from a soundtrack have reached the top five at the same time.

And they say it made history with a total of six tracks in the top 40:

What Was I Made For, Billie Eilish – number three
Dance The Night Away, Dua Lipa – number four
Barbie World, Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice – number five
Speed Drive, Charlie XCX – number 19
I’m Just Ken, Ryan Gosling – number 25
Pink, Lizzo – number 39

Some of pop’s biggest names were behind the soundtrack’s pink, sparkly hits, and you might think that recruiting such a glitzy line-up would be hard work.

But the film’s music supervisor George Drakoulias tells BBC Newsbeat you’d be wrong.

“Nobody said no,” he says. “Everybody was really excited.”

That included two stars at the top of George’s wish list, Nicki Minaj and Lizzo, along with superstar writer and producer Mark Ronson.

George says he enticed Mark on to the project with a simple text message: “Hey Barbie?”

“He called me right back and we sent him a script,” says George. “That started the ball rolling.”

Mark ended up curating the soundtrack, writing the score and penning the film’s closing song, Dance the Night Away, with Dua Lipa.

The soundtrack’s also played a big part in Barbie’s massive marketing campaign.

Songs from the 17-track album have been steadily released in the run-up to the film’s release, which George says has “helped fuel excitement for the movie”.

“It was a perfect symbiotic relationship of the music driving the movie and the movie driving the music,” he says.

“Once you saw the movie and how well the music works, as soon as they left the theatre people went out and got the album.”

And, this being Barbie, physical copies of the soundtrack are available in “cotton candy” vinyl and on transparent pink cassette tapes.

George refuses to reveal his favourite track but says he was “blown away” by Billie Eilish’s What Was I Made For.

He says the singer was shown just 25 minutes of the film and managed to “take what she’d seen and encapsulate it into this heartbreaking song of being a woman”.

George says he’s very proud of the album and its success in the charts is “the icing on the cake”.

“It’s Barbie’s world, we just live in it,” he says.

Aqua’s Barbie Girl, sampled in Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s movie song, also returned to the chart for the first time since its original release in 1997.

And while plastic sure is fantastic, Dave and Central Cee kept the top spot, with Sprinter entering its eighth week at number one.

Olivia Rodrigo also sunk her teeth deeper into the number two slot, holding firm with Vampire.
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A graphic denoting a breakout box. It’s got the heading “Analysis, By Mark Savage, music correspondent”. There’s a portrait of Mark on the left-hand side. He’s a white man with short, neat dark hair and brown eyes. He’s giving a wry smile with his head turned slightly towards the viewer.

As recently as 2018, The Greatest Showman soundtrack sold 2.1m copies in the UK, outpacing new releases by Drake and Ariana Grande.

But the idea of chart-topping artists working together on a blockbuster movie had largely fallen out of favour in the era of superhero franchises and cinematic universes.

Even before that, young adult movies like Twilight and Hunger Games were aligning themselves with credible alternative artists like Paramore, Iron & Wine and The National. Lorde even curated the (superb) music for Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt 1.

Over the last few years, there have been flickers of the traditional soundtrack album returning. OneRepublic’s I Ain’t Worried was a breakout hit from last year’s Top Gun Maverick; and Post Malone & Swae Lee’s Sunflower (from Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse) was a top three single in 2018.

But, just like the movie, the Barbie soundtrack is confounding expectations. The tracklist is like a who’s who of modern pop – Lizzo, Ice Spice, PinkPantheress, Dua Lipa. Is this the beginning of a new era?

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