Ryan Gosling as Ken in "Barbie" wearing a fur jacket and sunglasses posing smoothly.
(Warner Bros.)

Ryan Gosling Sings About Being Ken-Zoned in New ‘Barbie’ Music Video

As established in the very first trailer for Barbie, Ryan Gosling’s Ken—like all the other hunky Kens—is just that: Ken. All that’s separating him from any other accessory in Barbie’s vast collection is sentience and a set of abs. This cheeky inversion of real-world gender dynamics is one of the many reasons why we can’t wait to see Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s live-action ode to the prolific doll and her (maybe not-so) perfect pink world. Another reason? The excellent soundtrack, which includes Ryan Gosling’s return to music via a ballad about his place as Ken in a world dominated by Barbie.

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Warner Bros. dropped a short official music video for Gosling’s song from the Barbie soundtrack, titled “Just Ken.” In the song, a distraught Ken laments his inability to be anything more than number two as long as Barbie is in the picture. He’s both envious of Barbie’s popularity and wants to be more than just her friend. By the end, Ken gets a little empowered, declaring “I’m just Ken and I’m enough / And I’m great at doing stuff.”

I really just love the simple, satirical role-reversal of casting Ken—an attractive, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white man—as marginalized in the world of Barbie. I also love hearing Gosling sing again. For those unfamiliar, Gosling started his career in the early ’90s on the Disney Channel revival of The Mickey Mouse Club alongside Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake. Though Gosling ultimately stuck with acting, he’s still a talented musician and singer.

In 2009, Gosling and Zach Shields released an album under the name Dead Man’s Bones. The self-titled album, which features vocals from the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, is filled with spooky, dreamy tracks like “In the Room Where You Sleep” and “My Body’s a Zombie for You.” (Look, in the peak Tumblr era of 2009, we took “spoopy” shit seriously.)

Gosling, who performed under the name Baby Goose (it’s all coming back to me nowwww), quickly became the internet’s boyfriend and inspired an entire wave of “Hey, girl” memes—to say nothing of the classic cereal Vine. You might also remember Gosling singing to Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine; in one of the only moments in that devastating movie that doesn’t make me want to swallow my own face:

And because I am a good friend to you, the internet, I transcribed the lyrics to Gosling’s “Just Ken” from the Barbie soundtrack:

Doesn’t seem to matter what I do
I’m always number two
No one knows how hard I try
Oh, I have feelings that I can’t explain
Driving me insane
All my life been so polite
‘Cause I’m just Ken
Anywhere else I’d be a 10
Is it my destiny to live and die
a life of blonde fragility?
I’m just Ken
Where I see love, she sees a friend
What will it take for her to see the man
behind the tan and fight for me?
I’m just Ken and I’m enough
And I’m great at doing stuff
So hey, check me out, I’m just Ken
Baby, I’m just Ken

The Barbie soundtrack has become an event unto itself. In addition to tracks from Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Charli XCX, and Haim, the soundtrack features a Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice collab that samples Aqua’s classic “Barbie Girl,” as well as two much-hyped mystery tracks—one of which is the new Billie Eilish single “What Was I Made For?” You can hear a preview of Eilish’s new song in the latest Barbie trailer:

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.