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Aqua's Aquarium : 33 1/3 Europe - C.C. McKee

Aqua's Aquarium

By: C.C. McKee

Paperback | 8 August 2024

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"I'm a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world," the ubiquitous refrain that dominated the airwaves in summer 1997. Aqua's single from their debut album Aquarium spread like wildfire, topping charts across the globe. With their erotically charged lyrics and dance beats, Aqua moved beyond their Danish Eurodance beginnings and achieved global renown in the late 1990s. In the US, however, they are an infamous "one hit wonder," remembered for their highly publicized lawsuit with Mattel. Although Aqua's fame waned at the turn of the millennium, the 25th anniversary of their debut precipitated a resurgence in their popularity.

This book unwraps a bubblegum dance classic to offer the first in-depth examination of what lies beneath Aqua's sticky-sweet veneer. It traces the history of Aquarium alongside interpretations of the album's singles informed by queer theory and covers by contemporary musicians commissioned for the book. Peeling back the layers of Aquarium reveals a confection rife with unexpected contradictions and possibilities; videos permeated by seemingly innocuous articulates of heteronormativity are held in tension with suggestions of queerness, fetishism, and adolescent lust when heard through the ironic lens of camp.

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