Review: "Barbie Doll" - Nezen
The central themes of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie are empowerment and community. Within the film, watchers see Barbie’s self-empowerment develop; from actively ignoring problems to taking initiative to solve these very same problems. During her development, watchers also witness how collective empowerment can strengthen the communal ties of womanhood through Gloria’s actions. When Barbie experiences feelings of inadequacy, Gloria gives her a speech about the challenges, contradictory expectations, and overall elation that comes with being a woman – giving Barbie the strength to carry on in the fight to stop the Kendom overhaul of Barbieland. Everyone needs a Gloria in their life to remind them of the community that stands behind them and the inner power we each possess. But if you haven't found your Gloria yet, let me introduce you to Nezen.
In Nezen’s latest single, “Barbie Doll”, she helps listeners recognize their self-worth beyond their partner by sharing her own experience with being a trophy girlfriend. Sharing such an intimate piece of her own history to help others in a similar situation I think embodies Gloria and Gloria’s goal of establishing a community where women can rely on one another for emotional support. “Barbie Doll” is a dance-pop single that loans itself to Latin-pop all while showcasing that women are much more than an accessory that elevates a partner’s status. The single opens with sliding guitar notes that give listeners a little taste of bachata rhythm before synths ripple in and set up Nezen’s first verse. Within it, our artist is “dolled up” not for their own enjoyment, but “for [the] attention” of their partner. Rather than appreciating the effort she’s put forth; the partner now expects her to be dressed to the nines to show her off like a prize. From here, Nezen notices little things that her partner does that make her feel depreciated and invisible in the song’s pre-chorus. But she’s not settling for this treatment anymore. What ensues in the colorful chorus is Nezen wising up to the game their partner is playing – she’s aware of their “motives” and is refusing to let them “lead [her] on”. The second verse sees Nezen begin to detach from her partner and redirect her “affection” to herself. She’s building herself up to deliver the profound bridge to their partner. Here, our artist informs them with power and sass that she’s “not [their] Barbie doll”.
My piece of advice for anyone that finds themselves in a trivializing relationship: ditch your Ken for friends like Gloria and Nezen.
Nezen is a singer and songwriter based in Sweden whose recent discography details their experiences around perseverance and realizing your own self-worth. With lyrics that provide a great source of empowerment, and a flair for utilizing rhythms and melodies that transport listeners to 2000s R&B and pop - it’s no surprise that the artist has amassed millions of streams. Besides writing their own music, Nezen has also written songs for artists like the dance-pop duo Marcus & Martinus. “Barbie Doll” is the artist’s second release for the year, with the exciting “Gemini” being their first. If you’ve enjoyed Nezen as much as I have, show the artist some virtual love in the form of streams, likes, and follows.
Written by Giavanna Gradaille