20 Songs About Dolls

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Songwriters and musicians find inspiration in a variety of different places. Below, we’ve ranked some of the 20 best songs about dolls!

These songs, in some way, are written about or reference dolls, toys, or Barbies. All of these songs come from a variety of different decades and have various meanings!

1. “Shabby Doll” by Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Elvis Costello & The Attractions released “Shabby Doll” in 1982. In “Shabby Doll”, Costello sings about how a woman and a man are both just shabby dolls, in different ways.

The lyrics state that “He’s the tired toy that everyone’s enjoyed / He wants to be a fancy man / But he’s nothing but a nancy boy / He’s all pride and no joy”. 

2. “Dollhouse” by Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez first released “Dollhouse” on the 2014 EP Dollhouse, though it also appears on her first debut album, 2015’s Cry Baby.

In “Dollhouse”, Martinez sings about a seemingly picture-perfect family. However, when the curtains are closed and nobody is around, the family shows how dysfunctional they are.

Only the youngest girl in the family sees the problems around her. She tries to play with her dollhouse and her dolls, though her dysfunctional reality always seeps in.

3. “Wicked Little Doll” by David Byrne

1997’s “Wicked Little Doll” by David Byrne discusses the relationship between dolls and humans. Byrne throughout the first half of the song talks about this wicked little doll. He sings “you are not human” and “you have no soul” when talking about the doll.

But later in the song, he sings “I’m just like you”. Both the doll and him are a part of “human nature”.

There are many different ways one can take this song, as a result. This song could deal with how many people put on masks and seem like dolls, though this isn’t the truth.

4. “Barbie Girl” by Aqua

“Barbie Girl” by Aqua is often touted as one of the most-known songs in the world. It’s catchy! The song became a huge hit upon its release and to this day remains Aqua’s most popular song. This 1997 song follows a back-and-forth conversation between Barbie and Ken. 

While a fun song, the lyrics also can be seen as a social commentary on modern-day life and how many women may feel that many see them not as a person, but as an object.

5. “Barbie Tingz” by Nicki Minaj

Throughout Nicki Minaj’s career, she’s tied herself to Barbie images and phrases. So, the song “Barbie Tingz” felt like a natural next step in her career.

Minaj first released this song in 2018. Throughout the song, Minaj raps and sings about various topics. For example, she heavily focuses on others who want to be like her. The lyrics state that many say to “make ‘em like Barbie” — make them like her.

6. “Plastic Doll” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is yet another pop star that has gained a lot of inspiration when writing about dolls and comparing this to human life. Gaga released “Plastic Doll” in 2020 on her album Chromatica.

In this pop song, Gaga describes how she knows many view her as a plastic doll type of pop star. She also admits that she’s allowed herself to play into this stereotype, rather than being seen as the artist she is. She’s allowed herself to fit into that perfect, plastic pop star stereotype.

7. “Lover Doll” by Elvis Presley

The concept of dolls takes a slightly more positive outlook in Elvis Presley’s “Lover Doll”. In this song, Presley sings about how much he loves a girl — his “lover doll”.

Presley also sings, “I would never treat you badly / Like a cast away broken toy”, further discussing this doll comparison.  

8. “Hey You” by No Doubt

No Doubt released their song “Hey You” in 1995 on their album Tragic Kingdom. This song, much like so many others on this list, talks about how being compared to a Barbie doll is negative.

The lyrics state “You’re just like my Ken and Barbie Doll / You dress up, you play the game”. The young girl of the song who waits for their life to begin — and for a man to marry — thus is told that none of this will ever happen. She is just a doll in a plastic world.

9. “Backwoods Barbie” by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s “Backwoods Barbie” does put some more positivity back on the connection between human beings and Barbie dolls. In this song, Parton sings about how she “wanted to be pretty more than anything in the world / Like Barbie or the models in the Fredricks catalog”.

So, now that she made it, she considers herself a “Backwoods Barbie”. However, Parton reminds others to not be fooled by her appearance, blonde hair, and heels.

She may look like she doesn’t have anything in her brain — that she is a Barbie doll through and through — but nothing could be further from the truth!

10. “Kewpie Doll” by Diana Ross

Diana Ross remembers a past relationship in 2010’s “Kewpie Doll”. The legendary singer details a past romance that has since ended. However, when she looks through her old suitcase, she finds a kewpie doll.

This doll then helps her remember her past relationship. Her ex won the doll for her at a county fair.

By looking at this doll, she also remembers everything else about their relationship. As a result, this also includes her remembering why the relationship ended!

11. “I’m Your Doll” by FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs released “I’m Your Doll” on her 2015 EP M3LL155X. The song connects Twigs with her feelings of being treated like a doll when in a romantic relationship.

At the beginning of the song, Twigs sings about her jealousy that her man flirts with other women. Towards the chorus, she sings about how she is seen as an object in her relationship, rather than a human being.

12. “Valley of the Dolls” by Marina

The classic Jacqueline Susann book Valley of the Dolls (as well as the 1967 film version) directly inspired “Valley of the Dolls” by Marina. Therefore, the song deals with the feelings of living like a doll — and feeling like an object used by others.

However, the song also deals with drug addiction, similar to the book and movie. In this song, Marina sings about how lost she feels.

She also sings, “Living with identities / That do not belong to me”. This goes hand in hand with the feelings of being seen as a doll. She lives or feels seen as if she’s a doll with different identities.

13. “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith

Aerosmith released “Rag Doll” as the hit third single off their 1987 album Permanent Vacation. Throughout the song, singer Steven Tyler talks about his romantic interest, calling her a “rag doll”.

To Tyler, this person is perfect and everything he’s looking for — hence, why she’s compared to a doll, even if it is a rag doll.

14. “Baby Doll” by The Supremes

The Supremes released the song “Baby Doll” on their 1965 album The Supremes Sing Country, Western and Pop. Similar to Elvis Presley’s song (which we discussed above), The Supremes use the term “baby doll” with a positive connotation.

In this song, they sing about how much they love their “baby doll”. Their heart belongs to him. This song is a great, simple 1960s type of love song.

The Supremes also use the phrase “baby doll” less when discussing a toy or physical doll, and more as a term of endearment.

15. “Not Your Barbie Girl” by Ava Max

“Not Your Barbie Girl” by Ava Max is incredibly similar to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”, which we discussed above. However, Max’s version of the song is updated for modern audiences.

Instead of discussing society in a satirical way (which Aqua’s song did wonderfully), Max instead focuses on fully discussing some of the issues women have in today’s society.

Max sings that she’s not anyone’s Barbie girl. She doesn’t live in a plastic world. Instead, she can buy her own things and take care of herself. She is no one’s doll or puppet to play with!

16. “Doll Parts” by Hole

“Doll Parts” by Hole continues to remain one of the most popular songs by the band. Singer Courtney Love initially wrote this song soon after meeting Kurt Cobain. The song thus dealt with her own insecurities about their romantic relationship towards the beginning of their romance.

Love compares herself to a doll throughout the song. She also discusses how much she loves her romantic other (Cobain). However, everybody loves him. Her insecurity that he could love someone like her when he has love elsewhere makes her worried.

As a result of this, the lyrics state that she “loves him so much, it just turns to hate”.

17. “Oh! You Beautiful Doll” by Nancy Sinatra

Since this very old song’s inception in 1911, many artists in different genres have covered “Oh! You Beautiful Doll”. However, Nancy Sinatra’s 1967 version remains one of today’s most popular versions!

Throughout the song, Sinatra sings about how much she loves her romantic partner. She calls them a beautiful doll. Much like The Supremes’ song we mentioned above, the usage of the word “doll” is mainly used as a term of endearment here.

However, it’s worth mentioning that Sinatra continues to sing about how perfect this “doll” is. After all, only “perfect” people find themselves compared to dolls. Of course, these people aren’t truly perfect. Others just think they are.

18. “Sit Still, Look Pretty” by Daya

In “Sit Still, Look Pretty”, Daya sings about how she will never be a perfect Barbie doll. She also won’t settle for someone treating her as if she’s a puppet. Nobody will control her.

Instead, Daya decides that she will live her own life. She doesn’t want to “Sit Still, Look Pretty” like a toy or doll. She wants to rule the world.

“Sit Still, Look Pretty” became a huge hit when Daya released it in 2015. It hit high on the charts in the United States and around the world!

19. “Baby Doll” by Devo

Devo released “Baby Doll” on their 1988 album Total Devo. Throughout the song, Devo sings about their “baby doll”, who they love — and who they have lost. As a result of the end of this relationship, they wonder why they’ve lost their love.

The song also details how perfect their “Baby Doll” is, which is a common theme in many of these songs about dolls!

20. “Young Americans” by David Bowie

After David Bowie released “Young Americans” in 1975, the song became a huge hit and landed high on many music charts around the world. Rolling Stone also considers the song one of the greatest ever written!

Now, “Young Americans” isn’t completely about dolls, though it does reference Barbie dolls. Bowie sings, “Ain’t that close to love? / Well, ain’t that poster love? / Well, it ain’t that Barbie doll / Her heart’s been broken just like you”.

For the most part, “Young Americans” follows what Bowie saw and wrote about while in America. The song, which deals with political and social topics, is a meshing of many American ways of life.

Listen to the full playlist on Youtube here.