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Dua Lipa & Mark Ronson On How Barbie’s “Existential Crisis” Made Her “Dance The Night” Away: The Story Behind The Song – Crew Call Podcast

Did disco ever go out of style? Not if you ask Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa, the forces behind the soundtrack for this year’s No. 1 box office hit, Barbie. Specifically, they co-penned the album’s lead single “Dance the Night,” which is performed by the English-Albanian singer.

In an era where No. 1 movies don’t always have top-ranking soundtracks, the hip swaying, hummable, string-fueled ditty took on a life of its own, becoming an anthem for summer and notching Grammy noms for Song of the Year and Best Song Written for Visual Media. Stateside, “Dance the Night” peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Lipa’s fifth top-ten single.

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However, as easy and free-breezy as “Dance the Night” might sound, Ronson, who won an Oscar for the original song “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, says the single was “the longest I’ve ever worked on any song.”

The song was a launchpad for Ronson to produce and assemble the Barbie soundtrack; the first time the 7x Grammy winner has been tasked with curating a full-on collection for a major motion picture. The album is loaded with singles from a murderer’s row of talent including Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, Sam Smith and others.

Listen to Lipa and Ronson break down their process below, what’s next for them and details on the songstress’ upcoming album DL3.

The job landed on Ronson’s plate via music producer George Drakoulias who texted the British musican and producer one word, “Barbie?” Filmmaker Greta Gerwig needed a “disco banger” early on in the film, which was set to shoot in two weeks’ time. Ronson brought in Lipa, the duo having previously worked on her single “Electricity.”

While Lipa is known for her finesse and genius in churning out hits quickly, she admits, “On my first two records, I probably didn’t have the confidence to go back to a song and really fight for it in the way that we did for ‘Dance the Night’. Whatever I got in the day (in the past), that was probably the best it was going to be.

“The more I work, the more I hone into my craft, the more I write, the more I spend time with incredible artists, songwriters and producers, the more I learn and become more confident,” she explains on today’s Crew Call.

Talking about her unique disco style and marrying that with Barbie, Lipa explains, “What I like to do best is dance-crying, it’s really my favorite genre ever. The idea of having this juxtaposition of really, really happy moments , but not only are there underlying thoughts of death, but at same time, you’re trying to juggle this idea that Barbie is not trying to upset anyone, she’s having these thoughts, she doesn’t know who to go to, she’s trying to smile through the pain; all these things are happening, and it’s all confusing, how do we narrate that?”

A further touchstone for “Dance the Night,” per Lipa, was “Barbie’s best day ever,” as she calls it.

“We spoke about the fact that that Barbie essentially has this existential crisis and her whole life goes upside from that point on. How does this song become the turning point for the film that in a way narrates what’s coming next?”

How did Lipa and Ronson get there? “We started with melody,” she tells us.

When it comes to the history of disco songs at the Oscars, the genre includes such notable hits such as Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” from 1978’s Thank God It’s Friday, “Fame” the title song of the 1980 movie of the same name and “Flashdance…What a Feeling” from 1983’s Flashdance, all of which took best song trophies home.

That said, look for disco to swing its white jacket around its head again this year at the Oscars with “Dance the Night.” Ronson and Lipa wrote the song with Andrew Wyatt and Caroline Ailin.

Below are the lyrics to “Dance the Night”:

Baby, you can find me under the lights
Diamonds under my eyes
Turn the rhythm up, don’t you wanna just
Come along for the ride?
Ooh, my outfit so tight
You can see my heartbeat tonight
I can take the heat, baby, best believe
That’s the moment I shine

‘Cause every romance shakes and it bends
Don’t give a damn
When the night’s here, I don’t do tears
Baby, no chance

I could dance, I could dance, I could dance

Watch me dance, dance the night away
My heart could be burnin’, but you won’t see it on my face
Watch me dance, dance the night away (Uh-huh)
I’ll still keep the party runnin’, not one hair out of place

Lately, I been movin’ close to the edge
Still be lookin’ my best
I stay on the beat, you can count on me
I ain’t missin’ no steps

‘Cause every romance shakes and it bends
Don’t give a damn
When the night’s here, I don’t do tears
Baby, no chance

I could dance, I could dance, I could dance

Watch me dance, dance the night away
My heart could be burnin’, but you won’t see it on my face
Watch me dance, dance the night away (Uh-huh)
I’ll still keep the party runnin’, not one hair out of place

When my heart breaks (They never see it, never see it)
When my world shakes (I feel alive, I feel alive)
I don’t play safe (Ooh), don’t you know about me? (Uh-huh)
I could dance, I could dance, I could dance

Even when the tears are flowin’, they’re diamonds on my face
I’ll still keep the party goin’, not one hair out of place (Yes, I can)
Even when the tears are flowin’, they’re diamonds on my face (Yes, I can, yes, I can)
I’ll still keep the party goin’, not one hair out of place

Watch me dance, dance the night away (Uh-huh)
My heart could be burnin’, but you won’t see it on my face
Watch me dance (Dance), dance the night away (Uh-huh)
I still keep the party runnin’, not one hair out of place

When my heart breaks (They never see it, never see it)
When my world shakes (I feel alive, I feel alive)
I don’t play safe, don’t you know about me? (Uh-huh)
I could dance, I could dance, I could dance

Dance the night

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