Rob Thomas Thinks It’s ‘Hilarious’ That Ken Sings ‘Push’ in ‘Barbie’ – Rolling Stone

Rob Thomas could not be more pleased with the use of Matchbox Twenty’s hit song “Push” in Barbie. In an interview with USA Today, the singer confirmed he loved the scene where Ryan Gosling’s Ken performs the song on an acoustic guitar, saying he “thought it was hilarious.”

“When I got the call for Barbie, they told me, ‘Ken’s by the fireside, he’s playing the song and it’s his favorite band,’” Thomas told USA Today. “So I did this thinking I’d be the butt of the joke, and I was fine with that. I’m pretty thick-skinned. But Julie Greenwald [from Atlantic Records] came to the Hollywood Bowl a month or two ago. She had just seen the movie and was like, ‘You come out of it loving Ken and loving “Push.”‘ And I was like, ‘Aww. Alright, really good!”

Thomas added that he’s used to Matchbox Twenty being the butt of the joke, citing a scene in Bring It On where On Kirsten Dunst’s character has a “douchey boyfriend.”

“There’s a scene where he was in his dorm room with a Matchbox Twenty poster in the background,” Thomas said. “There was a whole period during the ‘90s where the more successful we got, the bigger target we were. We were an easy takedown.”

The singer’s delight over being included in the Barbie fervor is augmented by his love of the film’s director and co-writer Greta Gerwig.

“Greta Gerwig has been one of my crushes forever, to the point where I was on a plane one time and I called my wife, like, ‘Baby, Greta Gerwig just came on the plane, oh my god,’” Thomas recalled in the interview. “So just the fact that it didn’t diminish my crush of Greta, that’s even better.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Thomas described writing the song, which was penned “overnight” with producer Matt Serletic. The musician wrote it about an ex-girlfriend, but is aware that the lyrics seem “problematic” in retrospect.

“I wrote that song about someone I had been with who I felt was manipulating me and taking advantage of me,” he said. “The ‘90s was a time of manufactured angst, and nobody wanted to be a victim in a song. So in a weird twist of different times, there’s something very problematic about ‘Push,’ if it wasn’t for the innocence of how it was written. But everything about it was about emotional manipulation. It was just about this idea that it’s so much easier to find someone you can take advantage of than it is to actually put work into a relationship.”

Gosling sings “Push” along with the other Kens at a key moment in the film and the character also performs his own ballad “I’m Just Ken,” which was written by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt. Gerwig recently told Rolling Stone that she really wanted Gosling to sing in Barbie, but had to subtly manipulate him into doing it.

“He has a beautiful voice, and he’s a beautiful dancer,” Gerwig said. “We kind of got there organically. I think if I had said, ‘I want you to sing and dance in this movie,’ he would not have necessarily done that for me. But it was kind of that thing of boiling a lobster. I think by the time he was singing and dancing, he didn’t even totally know how we had gotten there.”


Barbie features numerous original songs, including new tracks by Lizzo, Sam Smith, and Billie Eilish. The recently-released Barbie the Album, which was produced by Ronson, also features Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice reworking Aqua’s “Barbie World” and a cover of the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine” by Brandi Carlile.

Matchbox Twenty released their most recent LP, Where the Light Goes, in May. The band is currently on tour in support of the album, with dates continuing through Aug. 6.

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