Posted inCultures

The Genius of the Minions: The Rise of Gru Soundtrack

The Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack is unreasonably good. You might ask, “Lucy, aren’t you a bit old for this?” Maybe. But the importance of a great soundtrack in children’s films has been struck into my heart since I first watched Shrek 2, and immediately begged my parents for the CD. As my Spotify followers will have seen over the past few days, I do think that this soundtrack is great, and here’s why.

Firstly, the soundtrack was produced by Jack Antonoff. You may not be familiar with the name, but I can almost guarantee that you’ll be familiar with his work. Antonoff has worked with the likes of Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Clairo, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Lorde, as well as performing in his own bands Fun. and Bleachers. In his time as both an artist and producer, he has won Grammy Awards for his work on Swift’s albums 1989 and Folklore and has been nominated for plenty more. Whilst this isn’t the first soundtrack that Antonoff has under his belt, it is undoubtedly his best.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is set in 1976, giving Antonoff the opportunity to produce a soundtrack filled to the brim with hits from the ‘70s. However, this isn’t simply a feel-good compilation album. Surprisingly, Antonoff brings the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Kali Uchis, BROCKHAMPTON, and Tame Impala onto the album to reimagine some golden oldies. The feature of these contemporary artists on the soundtrack has certainly drawn in a different audience for this children’s film, with countless TikTok videos and Tweets being posted showing teenagers raving about their favourite artists being on the soundtrack for such a random film. Instead of being widely anticipated by its target audience of children, the Minions: The Rise of Gru has been swiftly hijacked by teenagers who are eager to see what their favourite artists have done with music usually listened to by their parents. Guilty as charged — the stellar soundtrack and my love of ‘70s music inspired me to go see it myself.

It’s difficult to pick favourites from such a brilliant collection, but there are a few standouts on the album. St. Vincent’s rendition of Lipps Inc.’s Funkytown, a song which is also on the glorious soundtrack of Shrek 2 (no coincidence), certainly fits the vibrant nature of the film. A more upbeat and groovy version of Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang was supplied by Caroline Polachek, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And, naturally, I must mention the track which is probably my favourite: Phoebe Bridgers’ tear-inducing and subdued cover of The Carpenters’ Goodbye To Love. This was by far my most anticipated song from the soundtrack, and it did not disappoint. By that, I mean that I promptly added it to my ‘sad playlist’.

Cover songs are often frowned upon for simply copying an already existing song, adding nothing new, and never being as good as the original. But the perfect cover reinvents the original, and some of them even surpass it (see: Whitney Houston’s cover of I Will Always Love You). In this soundtrack, contemporary artists lovingly reimagine songs from the ‘70s in their own style. Hence, a young, new generation is introduced to songs from 50 years ago and, personally, I think that that’s a beautiful thing. In fact, my only complaint is that I’ll no longer be the only listener of The Carpenters under the age of 50, and as such will have to find a new personality trait.