Ken doesn’t know who he is without Barbie in Ryan Gosling’s single for the upcoming Greta Gerwig-directed and Margot Robbie-starring Barbie movie.
The long-teased song “Just Ken,” sees Barbie’s longstanding boyfriend grappling with what it means to be “number two” in his relationship with the iconic Mattel doll. The minute-and-a-half look at the song not only features new footage of Gosling’s Ken and Robbie’s Barbie but also a wider look at a group dance number featuring all the movie’s Kens.
The ballad’s lyrics see Gosling emotionally addressing the fact that the doll is “always number two,” and how anywhere else he’d be a 10, but here, he’s “just Ken.”
“Is it my destiny to live a life of blond fragility?” Gosling’s Ken wonders as this “Beach Ken” is launched into the air after having tried to surf. “What will it take for her to see the man behind the tan and fight for me.”
Speaking to GQ magazine following the early backlash to casting Gosling as Ken, the actor addressed how little Barbie’s boyfriend has been actively thought about in the toy’s history.
“I would say, you know, if people don’t want to play with my Ken, there are many other Kens to play with,” he said. “It’s funny,” he began, “this kind of clutching-your-pearls idea of, like, #notmyken. Like you ever thought about Ken before this?
“And everyone was fine with that, for him to have a job that is nothing,” he added. “But suddenly, it’s like, ‘No, we’ve cared about Ken this whole time.’ No, you didn’t. You never did. You never cared. Barbie never fucked with Ken. That’s the point. If you ever really cared about Ken, you would know that nobody cared about Ken. So your hypocrisy is exposed. This is why his story must be told.”
The full Barbie The movie soundtrack, which also features songs from Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, is being released by Atlantic on July 21.
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