The press release mentions the original artists, but clarifies “Made popular by. Performed by children on current release.” The pretense being, these songs are sung by Barbie herself, and just happen to sound pretty much exactly like the originals. Barbie even does a passable Andre 3000 on “Hey Ya,” opening bid in a set that inevitably concludes with the ” . . . Baby One More Time” money shot. Hey, wasn’t Britney a children when she sang that?
I’d prefer to see this as the first apparition of revolution. The epoch is over anyway; the world’s perfectly sensible teenpop fans can return to dancing with themselves and singing into brush-handles without having to be the Main Topic of Culture. Shouldn’t this be background music to kid’s lives, rather than kids being background fill for TRL? No more “famous stars,” no more “brand names,” no roles for Barbie-lookin’ icons. Now we just have to lose Barbie, once she completes her main task of persuading grups to turn their attention elsewhere. This is a transitional gig, and Babs should dissolve into history soon, no big whoop. Barbie Hit Mix is a supersession all right: the supersession of bourgeois individualism, and the collectivizing of popular art. Nothing to see here, move along.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2004