In honor of our count down to the release of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, we are taking a look back at some of the soundtracks that led to director Christopher Nolan’s incredibly smart decision to exclusively score his trilogy with instrumentals instead of hits sung by today’s top artists (which instantly age a film). Take a look at our choices below of the best and worst list from the Burton/ Schumacher eras and get ready to wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
BATMAN RETURNS: “Face to Face” by Siouxsie and The Banshees – there is nothing better than hearing the perfect song underscore a fantastic scene. And that’s exactly what’s happening here. Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle dancing around their sexual attraction at the Maxquerade ball is just as sexy and seductive as the song their slow dancing to. Siouxsie Sioux’s sultry, sinewy voice complements the actors chemistry superbly. Here’s the scene and below is the music video.
BATMAN FOREVER: “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2 - While the far bigger radio hit on the soundtrack is Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose,” the far more glorious alternative entry is U2’s electro guitar driven rocker that deserved more airplay than it got. The soundtrack itself was hugely successful, selling almost as many copies as Prince’s soundtrack to the 1989 BATMAN film. The soundtrack still holds up, which is more than I can say for the film.
BATMAN & ROBIN: “The End Is The Beginning Is The End” by Smashing Pumpkins – Hard hitting electric guitars swell behind Billy Corgan’s trademark nasally whine. Honestly, this is far too intelligent a song for such a terribly cheesy film. It actually won the 1998 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. As many of you comic fans already know, a version of this song “The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning” which incidentally is also featured on this soundtrack, was used in the trailer for Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN.
BATMAN: “Batdance” by Prince – “Get the funk out!” I may have lost most of you with this choice as “best”, but hand to God, this song is great if not purely on a nostalgia level (mainly for those of you – like myself – who sat by their radios in anticipation of its debut). A quintessential funk jam that interweaves Prince’s iconic panache with lines of dialogue from the film, “Batdance” is an 90’s auditory delight! You can’t beat that Vicki Vale breakdown in the mid section (round the 3:12 mark). However, if you think this spits on the legacy that Bob Kane created, you’d be correct in placing this on your “worst” list. Therefore, it gets a category to itself, “bestworst.”
Tie for Worst
BATMAN & ROBIN: “Gotham City” by R. Kelly – Ha! If you thought “Batdance” murders Batman’s legacy, this is the sound of its death knell. Seriously, what the fuck? Comparing Gotham City to a ghetto feels like exploitation and ignorance. Possibly the worst part of any soundtrack ever, this is what slummin’ it feels like.
BATMAN & ROBIN: “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – Who could’ve ever imagined Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Jewel would ever co-exist on film soundtrack? Not me. And yet, here it is. Call me crazy but I can’t imagine OG Batman bouncin’ to this in the Batmobile, let alone me cranking this is my car. This (and the R. Kelly songs above) reeks of a record company cash grab.
Despite my harsh criticism and vitriol for the BATMAN & ROBIN soundtrack, it was certified platinum by the RIAA and three of the soundtrack’s songs were top ten hits.
So there you have it, folks. What do you think? Did we get this list right? Share your favorite Bat hits or misses below.