"Whether you think it's funny or annoying, there's no denying that it's a ridiculously hooky thing," says Sara Quin of her band's Lonely Island collaboration
While this week's Hot 100 chart includes two songs in the Top 20 that were first heard in feature films (Pharrell's "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2," and Idina Menzel's "Let It Go" from "Frozen"), a wacky single from current box office champ "The LEGO Movie" is also finding an audience. "Everything Is Awesome," a collaboration between Tegan & Sara, the Lonely Island and film composer Mark Mothersbaugh, debuts at No. 11 on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart, with 34,000 downloads sold to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The chirpy, insanely upbeat track does not exactly fit into the nuanced indie-pop catalogue of Tegan & Sara, but that's what attracted the veteran sister duo toward the project, the group's Sara Quin tells Billboard.
"We want to be a 'serious' musical band, while also being funny people," says Quin. "But this was so adorable, and the movie looked great, and the opportunity to do something with Mark Mothersbaugh and the Lonely Island... it was sort of a no-brainer, and it's turned out to be this really cool moment. We feel like it was a win-win."
Tegan & Sara signed on to record "Everything Is Awesome" after hearing an early version of the song, which didn't yet have the Lonely Island delivering the rap breakdown. Although the duo typically writes its lyrics, the song's cleverness and catchiness pushed Tegan & Sara to cut vocals for a new version of the "Awesome" song.
"It's a crazy earworm," says Quin. "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."
Quin says that her sister Tegan went into the studio with Mothersbaugh -- the leader of Devo who composed music for films like "21 Jump Street" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" -- to record the song's main vocals, while Sara sent in backing vocals from her apartment. Although the pair was never in the studio with the Lonely Island, Quin says that the final product is a "fun, spontaneous" combination of their pop stylings and the Andy Samberg troupe's off-the-wall antics. And after "The LEGO Movie" earned positive reviews and grossed $69.1 million over its opening weekend last week, Quin says that she's noticed a swell of interest in the song over the past week.
Tegan & Sara have been on the road for over a year supporting their 2013 album "Heartthrob," and will be opening on part of Katy Perry's PRISMATIC arena tour this summer. However, fans shouldn't expect to hear "Everything Is Awesome" nudged in between recent tracks like "Closer" and "I Was A Fool" at Tegan & Sara concerts.
"The other night, we were playing a show and were about halfway through the set when I heard a guy go, 'Play "Everything Is Awesome"!' And I was like, 'Oh no, this could become a problem,'" says Quin with a laugh. "Without the Lonely Island guys traveling with us, I can't really imagine it within our set. But that's not because I'm not proud of it."
Video: Tegan & Sara perform at Billboard's 2013 Women in Music luncheon