Update, July 21: We’re pleased to report that “I’m Just Ken” is now available on streaming platforms, so now Ryan Gosling has a fair shot at topping your Spotify Wrapped this year. The track dropped along with the rest of Barbie The Album, which includes a bonus song from the actor: a cover of “Push” by Matchbox Twenty.
Stream Ken’s power ballad below and get ready to feel the Kenergy.
Original story, July 10: Apologies to Taylor Swift, but the most exciting music drop of the week might just be from Ken—I mean Ryan Gosling, who stars as the doll in Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated Barbie movie.
Margot Robbie may have the titular role, but Gosling seems to be the scene-stealer of the film, at least if the reactions from last night’s premiere are any indication. While exact plot points still remain top secret (until Barbie hits theaters on July 21, that is), we do know that the actor has a standout musical number, titled “Just Ken,” which Warner Bros. graciously shared today.
It’s a sappy power ballad, but it’s also much more than that. It’s about coming to terms with your mediocrity and other existential woes. It’s the new Sad Boy™ anthem of the summer. It’s Ryan Gosling’s boy band-worthy vocals and Mickey Mouse Club training on full display. It’s the perfect evolution from his viral childhood dance recital. It’s camp. It’s a revelation.
The lyrics also hint at Ken’s journey in the film, with lines about him always playing second fiddle to Barbie (“Doesn’t seem to matter what I do / I’m always number two”) and having unrequited feelings for her (“Where I see love she sees a friend”). While some early viewers are already calling for Gosling’s Supporting Actor Oscar, his performance of “Just Ken” makes me wonder if we’ll see him perform as an Original Song contender too. A girl can dream!
Listen to “Just Ken” and watch new clips from Barbie here, and read the lyrics below.
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Doesn’t seem to matter what I do
I’m always number two
No one knows how hard I’ve tried
Oh, oh, I
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 ten
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
Yeah I’m just Ken
Baby, I’m just Ken
Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.