This song was performed by the Canadian identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin as the theme song for The Lego Movie, whilst musical comedy trio The Lonely Island delivered the rap breakdown.
To the delight of parents accustomed to biding their time through dreadful movies their kids like, the film was very entertaining for both generations. Adults picked up on the Orwellian themes, as the evil ruler of Bricksburg (not-so-subtly named "Lord Business") keeps the citizens in line with a propaganda campaign that includes this song - the only one allowed to play. Tegan and Sara were asked to "sound as jubilant as possible" to give the song a vibe that is so euphoric it's creepy.
This was written by the soundtrack composer Shawn Patterson (El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera
), Canadian singer-songwriter Joshua Bartholomew, and Los Angeles rock musician Lisa Harriton who has toured with The Smashing Pumpkins as their keyboardist and back-up vocalist. The song was produced by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh
Tegan Quin went into the studio with Mothersbaugh to record the song's main vocals, while Sara sent in backing vocals from her apartment. The Lonely Island delivered their rapped contribution separately.
The song succeeds in both getting the listener super pumped up and spoofing it. Mothersbaugh told The Los Angeles Times: "The directors requested something like that, and I think it fits in a smart way. It's a mantra for everyone to get up and go to work and buy $30 cups of coffee. It's an irritant. But after the transformation in the movie, when the characters learn to create, it becomes something bigger. And then at the ending it becomes kind of ironic."
Tegan & Sara signed on to record the song after hearing an early version, which didn't yet have Lonely Island's contribution. "It's a crazy earworm," Sara Quin told Billboard magazine. "As someone who prides myself on being able to write things that are memorable and hooky, the second that we heard this song, I was astounded. Whether you like the song or not, whether you think it's funny or annoying, there's no denying that it's a ridiculously hooky thing. As soon as you hear it, it never leaves your brain."
The Lego Movie soundtrack also contains three non-dance interpretations of the song by other artists including one by Joshua Bartholomew and Lisa Harriton.
The music video features Lego versions of Tegan and Sara Quin as well as The Lonely Island trio of Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone.
This was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song - Tegan and Sara performed it at the ceremony along with The Lonely Island, Mark Mothersbaugh, Questlove, and a team of colorful, hyperkinetic dancers. The movie, however, was snubbed for a nomination, even in the Best Animated Feature Film category. When the nominations were announced, the film's co-director Philip Lord tweeted a photo of a yellow Oscar statuette made of Legos. When this song was performed at the ceremony, the dancers handed out these Lego Oscars to the audience. The show's host Neil Patrick Harris was seen holding one on stage.
The cable company Xfinity used this song in commercials that aired throughout the 2016 Summer Olympics. In the ad, the line "everything is cool when you're part of a team" is changed to "everything is cool when you're watching a screen."
It's unclear if Xfinity was going for satire or if they were sincere in extolling the virtues of screen-based entertainment delivered by a company with a near monopoly using a song written to placate the masses so the rulers could continue to suppress them.