Jack Antonoff Enlists Diana Ross, H.E.R., and More for ‘Minions’ Soundtrack

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

What do you get when you put Grammy winning producer Jack Antonoff in charge of a children’s hit film series? The rise of a groovy soundtrack, of course.

Minions: The Rise of Gru hit theaters on Friday (July 1), and brought along the second soundtrack to the series. The first soundtrack gave us Pharell Williams’ “Happy” and brought back Bill Withers’ “A Lovely Day,” offering just a glimpse of what the colorful Minions universe has to offer. Antonoff saw the minions’ funky town and ran with it. 

The popular music producer envisioned a minions world of music with a psychedelic ’70s vibe and a contemporary twist. Unlikely pairs like Diana Ross and Tame Impala come together to create a trippy tune in “Turn Up the Sunshine.” Modern artists like Phoebe Bridgers cover classics like The Carpenters’ “Goodbye to Love.” Perhaps the best part, though, is the animation of popstar St. Vincent as a minion herself. 

The New Jersey native made it clear that he wasn’t picking the most-streamed musicians for the groovy soundtrack. In an interview with Billboard, Antonoff said that his plan was “to take modern artists that are really in some way in the tradition of the great music of that time and then record them with this half modern technique, half super analog technique. Animation in kids’ movies is pretty trippy, so you can f-ing get away with a lot.”

Hence, Antonoff has given us the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard, covering Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star,” and H.E.R.’s take on Sly & The Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music.” He’s given us his band, The Bleachers, playing the violin in John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” He has given us flower power album art and Diana Ross on the Billboard Charts again, for the first time since 2006.

With this soundtrack, Antonoff and the musicians are able to introduce ’70s classics to a young audience and transform them into timeless tunes.

“I think there’s certain songs that live in the moment and then certain songs that kind of live forever,” Antonoff added. “The songs that I choose, regardless of this project, live forever. So this can just be another point in the long story of all of these songs, which are going to go way into the future of mankind.”

Minions: The Rise of Gru is the story of Gru as an adolescent villain, with the help of his Minion crew. You can catch the film in theaters now and listen to the soundtrack below.

Photo by Henry Nicholls /WPA Pool/Getty Images

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