With Minions: The Rise of Gruthe Despicable Me franchise continues to skyrocket at the box office and build audience loyalty (via box office mojo). A significant trend that emerged from the film’s release was the “Gentleminions” TikTok trend which further boosted the popularity of Yeat’s rap tribute to the Minions “Rich Minion”.
But music has been an integral part of the franchise with several original songs by Pharrell Williams and some unexpected collaborations, like “Turn Up The Sunshine” by Diana Ross and Tame Impala. And then, of course, the talkative yellow creatures have their own renditions of classic tunes like “YMCA!”
ten “Funkytown” (671,000 listens)
Given that it’s set in the 1970s, there’s a lot of funk evoked by the songs and characters of Minions: The Rise of Gru. So it’s no surprise that a classic disco hit like Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” ends up on the album. St. Vincent adds a slowed-down, psychedelic feel 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 the time, the original version used a vocoder-heavy vocal style. True to this, Vincent’s cover also incorporates a trippy robotic sound that suits the general vibe of the era that the film is trying to capture.
9 “Yo Contigo, Tú Conmigo (The Gong Gong Song)” (2 million listens)
Álvaro Soler & Murten
The theme song of Despicable Me 3 is a Spanish-language track by Colombian band Morat and 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 themes of previous episodes gave way to a more enjoyable pop-rock vibe. And incorporating a Spanish song as the film’s theme further represented the universality of Gru’s misadventures with his Minions.
8 “Turn Up The Sunshine” (4.7 million plays)
Diana Ross and Tame Impala
New Minions The film resulted in an unlikely collaboration between R&B/disco legend Diana Ross and Kevin Parker’s psychedelic pop project, Tame Impala. Producing an upbeat retro vibe, the song is a perfect addition to Tame Impala’s discography which already makes songs reminiscent of 70s-80s pop.
Fresh off the remix of the song “The Edge of Reality” from the Elvis film soundtrack, Parker scored his second soundtrack gig this year proving the diversity of his sounds. As for Ross, it’s a surprise return that’s sure to impress his fans.
seven “Universal Fanfare” (12 million listens)
While the first Minions The movie didn’t have many original songs to boast, some of the Minions’ vocalizations went on to gain major streaming numbers. This even includes audios that were less than a minute long, like the Minions harmonizing with the Universal Pictures theme music!
Playing during the opening credits, the “Universal Fanfare” sets the film’s absurd mood. Further analysis may be that the Minions are taking over Universal Pictures itself, as their animated films have proven to be a major revenue stream for the distribution studio.
6 “Rich Minion” (14 million plays)
Yeat’s viral rap hit “Rich Minion” was an unexpected song from the Minions: Rise of the Gru trailer and later became synonymous with the film itself, thanks to TikTok. The song begins with a vocal sample of the Minions themselves as they speak in their insane language, Yeat following it with his verses which focus on taking over the world with “his Minions”.
The song takes on a meta narrative as Yeat even admits that the Minions themselves paid him a million to record the track. Considering the box office success of the franchise, the Minions could well be millionaires if they were real!
5 “I swear” (14 million plays)
Minion covers deserve their own fandom, as evidenced by the streaming numbers they generate. For example, one of their 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 will be by her side no matter what.
It makes sense that this is Gru and Lucy’s wedding song at the end of Despicable Me 2. Director Pierre Coffin (who also plays the Minions) gives his best while singing the ballad with passion in the language of the Minions.
4 “YMCA” (29 million plays)
The Minions 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 as characters from the original music video to perform their anthemic rendition.
Given the upbeat connotations of “YMCA” and the popular dance moves the disco hit spawned, this seems like a very obvious choice for a Despicable Me soundtrack.
3 “Hug Me” (35 million plays)
Pharrel Williams and Trey Parker
As was the norm with the first three films, the songs and themes for the Despicable Me films were composed (and sometimes sung) by Pharrell Williams. This time, the visionary producer is joined by voice actor Trey Parker who plays the film’s antagonist Balthazar Bratt.
The duo essentially discusses the beginnings of two different individuals and their journey to becoming villains. Matching the arcs of Gru and Bratt, the song tackles emotional themes but through light sound. The chorus eventually finds the two wondering to relax and embrace.
2 “Just A Cloud Away” (72 million plays)
If bad things happen, 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 sun. Although it carries the same upbeat spirit as songs like “Happy”, the composition is more relaxed and mellowed, which acts as a nice contrast.
This year, “Just A Cloud Away” enjoyed a surge in popularity as it joined the leagues of movie-inspired TikTok viral trends. Finally, people would know that the Despicable Me 2 the soundtrack was more than just “Happy”.
1 “Happy” (1 billion plays)
Whether audiences like it or not, “Happy” has undoubtedly been ingrained in pop culture. The song broke on the internet during Despicable Me 2‘s and charted in multiple countries, spawning multiple videos of people happily dancing to it.
Producer-vocalist Pharrell Williams’ track is definitely a good vibe, but some might say it was pretty overplayed. In fact, this year, Williams even admitted to Twitter this “Happy” annoys him now! Yet, in his time, “Happy” was definitely the most popular song in the Despicable Me franchise.
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