This year features an an exciting slate of fall releases, including some of 2016's best animated movies, but even with them all, it's hard for the colorful Trolls not to stand out among the pack with its sparkling rainbow energy and talented cast. The movie is loaded with great actors having fun and bringing the magical world of the Trolls and their enemy species, the Bergen, to life with creative voices. But many of the Trolls stars use their voices for not just acting, but singing, and the soundtrack to the movie harnesses the power of these multi-talents, none more so than Justin Timberlake. The Trolls soundtrack highlights Timberlake's hit-making power, not only as a performer but as a producer and collaborator as well.
The standout from the soundtrack is no doubt the infectious, danceable and appealing-to-all-ages "Can't Stop the Feeling!" Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling!" is to 2016 what Pharrell Williams' "Happy" from the Minions soundtrack was to 2014, complete with a similarly addicting (and similarly shot) music video. "Can't Stop the Feeling!" was one of the biggest hits of the summer, and only time will tell if it follows in the footsteps of "Happy" to become an Oscar winner, too. Regardless, the song is yet another sign that Timberlake, above all, knows how to (and was maybe born specifically to) craft hit songs that connect with an audience.
Even Trolls director Mike Mitchell told The Hollywood Reporter that he was amazed by how confident Timberlake was in offering to write a theme song for the film. "He goes, 'I'll make sure it's a hit song as well,'" Mitchell recalled. "And I laughed because I thought it was funny, and lo and behold, it is a hit song." The rest of the Trolls soundtrack is just as catchy, even when Timberlake's not the one with the starring role in the song. The celeb is credited as a singer not just on his standout hit, but on a total of seven songs from the 13-song soundtrack, including collaborations with many of the movie's other musically talented stars. He teams up with pop powerhouse Gwen Stefani for super cool "What U Workin' With?" as well as the trap-influenced "Hair Up," which features a valuable vocal turn from Ron Funches, also in the movie. Timberlake even duets with co-star Anna Kendrick on the soft and sweet cover of "True Colors."
And even when his voice is nowhere to be found, Timberlake's smart pop influence can be seen all over the soundtrack, since he executive produced the whole thing. The star looks to have ensured that the album had something for everyone, including a cover of "The Sound of Silence" by Kendrick, Ariana Grande's radio-ready "They Don't Know," and a smokey version of Marvin Gaye's "Hello" by Zooey Deschanel, which takes advantage of the super sultry, throwback quality of her voice.
The soundtrack also makes sure the film's lead actor Kendrick — who, though not a pop star, has a killer singing voice, as we all know from Pitch Perfect — had plenty of moments to shine, such as on the Broadway-esque solo song "Get Back Up Again," and the moment when she and Timberlake join up with the actual Earth, Wind & Fire for a rousing new rendition of "September."
With sleek production, pop music bona fides, and a bright, family-friendly tone, the Trolls' soundtrack is a playful and successful team effort tied together by the talents and vision of director Mitchell and ultimate hitmaker Timberlake.
Images: 20th Century Fox