But music has been an integral part of the franchise with several of Pharrell Williams’ original songs and some unexpected collaborations, such as “Turn Up The Sunshine” by Diana Ross and Tame Impala. And then, of course, the gibber-speaking yellow creatures have their own renditions of classic tracks like “YMCA!”
Given that it is set in the 1970s, there is a lot of funk evoked by the songs and the characters in Minions: Rise of Gru. So, it is no surprise that a classic disco hit like Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” finds its way into the album. St. Vincent adds a slowed-down and psychedelic touch to the track with the cover incorporating the same groovy synth riff that made the song such a big hit.
Even though auto-tune was not prevalent at that time, the original version made use of a vocoder-heavy vocal style. True to this, Vincent’s cover also incorporates a trippy robotic sound that suits the overall feel of the era that the movie tries to capture.
The theme song to Despicable Me 3 is a Spanish-language track by Colombian band Morat and the Spanish-German singer-songwriter Álvaro Soler. A love song with optimism and positive reaffirmations, “Yo Contigo, Tú Conmigo (The Gong Gong Song)” served as a breath of fresh air for the Despicable Me movies.
The jazzy and disco-like themes of the past installments gave way to a more feel-good pop-rock vibe. And incorporating a Spanish song as the movie’s theme further represented the universality of Gru’s misadventures with his Minions.
The new Minions movie yielded an unlikely collaboration between R&B/disco legend Diana Ross and Kevin Parker’s psychedelic pop project Tame Impala. Yielding an upbeat retro-vibe, the song is a perfect addition to Tame Impala's discography which already makes songs reminiscent of the 70s-80s pop.
Fresh off the remix of the song “The Edge of Reality” from the Elvis movie soundtrack, Parker has scored his second soundtrack gig this year proving the sheer diversity of his sounds. As for Ross, this is a surprise comeback that is bound to impress her fans.
While the first Minions movie didn't have many original songs to boast, some of the Minions vocalizations went on to gain major streaming numbers. This includes even audios that lasted for less than a minute, such as the Minions harmonizing to the Universal Pictures theme music!
Playing during the opening credits, the "Universal Fanfare" sets up the nonsensical mood of the movie. A deeper over-analysis can be that the Minions are taking over Universal Pictures itself as their animated movies have proved to be a major moneymaker for the distribution studio.
Yeat’s viral rap hit “Rich Minion” was an unexpected song from the Minions: Rise of the Gru trailer and then went on to be synonymous with the movie itself, thanks to TikTok. The song starts off with a vocal sample from the Minions themselves as they speak in their trademark nonsensical language, with Yeat following it up with his verses that focus on taking over the world with “his Minions.”
The song takes a meta-narrative as Yeat even admits that the Minions themselves paid him a million to record the track. Given the box-office success of the franchise, the Minions might indeed be millionaires if they were real!
Minion covers deserve their own fandom as is evident from the streaming numbers that they generate. For instance, one of their trademark gibberish covers is also one of their most popular songs on Spotify. "I Swear" by John Michael Montgomery is a romantic country song in which the singer promises his partner that he would be by her side no matter what.
It only makes sense for this to be Gru and Lucy's wedding song at the end of Despicable Me 2. Director Pierre Coffin (who also voices the Minions) gives his emotional best while passionately singing the ballad in the language of the Minions.
Minions have covered several songs from the past including not only pop hits but also opera hits like “I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General” or just road songs like “99 Bottles of Beer.” But still, one of the most enduring Minions covers has been Village People’s “YMCA.” The Minions are even dressed up like characters from the original music video to perform their anthemic rendition.
Given the happy overtones of “YMCA” and the popular dance movements that the disco hit has spawned, it seems like a very obvious pick for a Despicable Me soundtrack.
As has been the norm with the first three movies, the songs and themes of the Despicable Me movies were composed (and at times sung) by Pharrell Williams. This time, the visionary producer is joined by voice actor Trey Parker who plays the movie's antagonist Balthazar Bratt.
The duet essentially touches upon two different individuals' beginnings and their journey to becoming villains. Corresponding with Gru and Bratt's arcs, the song touches upon emotional themes but through a light-hearted sound. The chorus ultimately finds the two asking each other to loosen up and hug each other.
If bad things happen, then good things will follow. This is the message in the Despicable Me 2 song “Just A Cloud Away” in which Pharrell Williams uses rainy clouds as a metaphor for sadness, adding that they would eventually give way to the sunshine. While it carries the same optimistic spirit as songs like “Happy,” the composition is more relaxed and mellowed-down which acts as a good contrast.
This year, “Just A Cloud Away” has faced a resurgence in popularity as it turned into joined the leagues of viral TikTok trends inspired by movies. Finally, people would know that the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack was much more than just “Happy”.
Whether audiences like it or not, "Happy" has undoubtedly been ingrained into pop culture. The song broke out on the internet during Despicable Me 2’s release and charted in several countries, spawning several videos of people dancing merrily to it.
Producer-singer Pharrell Williams’ track is definitely a mood-upper, but some might argue that it has been quite overplayed. In fact, this year, Williams even admitted on Twitter that “Happy” annoys him now! Still, in its time, “Happy” was definitely the most popular song in the Despicable Me franchise.