The wacky world of the little yellow Minions from the Despicable Me film franchise will be enhanced by the suitably eclectic soundtrack to the movie Minions: The Rise of Gru, which hits theaters July 1. The film is set in the 1970s and tells the origin story of super-villain Gru, so it’s only natural that the Jack Antonoff-produced soundtrack, also due July 1 from Decca, comprises mostly covers of memorable songs from that era by such artists Phoebe Bridgers (The Carpenters’ “Goodbye to Love”), Thundercat (Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle”), H.E.R (Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music”) and St. Vincent (Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown”).
One of the only newly written tunes is an eye-popping, danceable collaboration that will serve as the lead single: Diana Ross’ “Turn Up the Sunshine” featuring Tame Impala. The track will be released May 20 and comes on the heels of Ross’ first album of original material in 22 years, last year’s Thank You, which Antonoff helped produce. A Tame Impala collaboration was rumored at the time to have been earmarked for that project, but was apparently saved for Minions: The Rise of Gru instead.
Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA is not only on the soundtrack but also voices an as-yet-unnamed character in the film. Brazilian composer Heitor Pereira, who wrote the music for the original 2015 Minions film, is also included, as are BROCKHAMPTON, Weyes Blood, Gary Clark Jr., Kali Uchis, former Chairlift frontwoman Caroline Polachek, Tierra Whack, Asian pop stars Jackson Wang and G.E.M and Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White, who contributes his own original song as well as joining Brittany Howard on a new version of his band’s classic “Shining Star.”
Antonoff’s work on the Rise of Gru music was confirmed late last year in a press release that described it as a “killer ‘70s soundtrack” and indeed, he gets in on the fun here too with his band Bleachers’ cover of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” Posters teasing the soundtrack lineup began appearing in London last weekend, and Antonoff also posted a rendering of himself as a Minion on his Instagram story.
Music has been an integral part of the Despicable Me world since the original 2010 film, with Pharrell Williams figuring prominently in the soundtracks for all three movies to date. The second edition, released in 2013, sported Williams’ “Happy,” a worldwide smash that revived his career and was named by Billboard as the No. 1 song of 2014.
Minions: The Rise of Gru again features Steve Carrell voicing the titular character, with Julie Andrews, Russell Brand, Taraji P. Henson, Pierre Coffin and Jean-Claude Van Damme rounding out the cast. A fourth Despicable Me movie is scheduled for release on July 3, 2024.
Minions: The Rise of Gru Track Listing:
“Turn Up the Sunshine,” Diana Ross ft. Tame Impala
“Shining Star,” Brittany Howard ft. Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1975)
“Funkytown,” St. Vincent (Lipps Inc., 1979)
“Hollywood Swinging,” BROCKHAMPTON (Kool & The Gang, 1974)
“Desafinado,” Kali Uchis (Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, 1959)
“Bang Bang,” Caroline Polachek (Nancy Sinatra, 1966)
“Fly Like an Eagle,” Thundercat (Steve Miller Band, 1976)
“Goodbye to Love,” Phoebe Bridgers (The Carpenters, 1972)
“Instant Karma!,” Bleachers (John Lennon, 1970)
“You’re No Good,” Weyes Blood (Linda Ronstadt, 1975)
“Vehicle,” Gary Clark Jr. (The Ides of March, 1970)
“Dance to the Music,” H.E.R. (Sly and The Family Stone, 1967)
“Black Magic Woman,” Tierra Whack (Santana, 1970)
“Cool,” Verdine White
“Born to Be Alive,” Jackson Wang (Patrick Hernandez, 1979)
“Cecilia,” The Minions (Simon & Garfunkel, 1970)
“Bang Bang,” G.E.M. (Nancy Sinatra, 1966)
“Kung Fu Suite,” RZA
“Minions: The Rise of Gru Score Suite,” Heitor Pereira