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Diana Ross and Tame Impala play it safe on 'Turn Up the Sunshine'

Diana Ross and Tame Impala - 'Turn Up the Sunshine'

Legendary Motown singer Diana Ross has teamed up with Australian psychedelic rock gods Tame Impala for a new song, ‘Turn Up the Sunshine’. The new song, in a bizarre tie-in, is the lead single from the soundtrack to the movie Minions: The Rise of Gru.

This collaboration was previously teased, although the only initial clue that this was going to be tied into the Minions universe was a small Minion figure lurking around the edges of the posters that popped up across London earlier in the month. It was only recently that this all-time collaboration was confirmed to be a part of the Despicable Me franchise.

‘Turn Up the Sunshine’ was initially recorded as a part of the sessions for Ross’ 2021 album Thank You, but the song was later earmarked for inclusion on the soundtrack for Minions: The Rise of Gru. Just like the rest of the soundtrack, ‘Turn Up the Sunshine’ is meant to channel the classic pop hits of the 1970s and 1980s.

Part wonky Kevin Parker trip-fest, part early 1980s Chic-produced Ross R&B, and part Silk Sonic, ‘Turn Up the Sunshine’ is almost blindingly bright and exuberant. Ross’ vocals are bolstered by Parker’s own light-as-air falsetto, and the groovy disco thump of the track radiates the kind of summery energy that I’m sure made it perfect for the Despicable Me franchise.

It sounds a lot like the original songs that Pharrell created for the first Despicable Me film, specifically tracks like ‘Fun Fun Fun’ and ‘Beautiful Girls’. “Candy-coated” is actually underselling – this is a pure sugar rush. Sadly, the pop aspects of the song overtake the funkier elements, like the righteous percussion and handclaps that stay low in the mix.

The main problem is that this is a remarkably slight work from two parties that are capable of top-shelf material. Their team-up should have been at least a little bit transcendent. That’s probably too much to ask from a song that’s on the Minions soundtrack, but this is still Diana Ross and Tame Impala. Just on name recognition and reputation alone, ‘Turn Up the Sunshine’ should have been more than just a middling pastiche of better work from both.

The rest of the soundtrack for Minions: The Rise of Gru is set to feature artists like Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, and Bleachers performing hits from the ’70s. The full soundtrack will be available on the same day that the film itself is released July 1st.