14 September 2013

Prince - Batman

So here is my first choice in what will be a month where we will all be working on reviewing as many Soundtracks from the world of TV, film, stage and computer games (yes, there is a few geeks in the team. I say a few when I should say that we are all geeks).  For me, I am starting firmly in my past, with the greatly mocked soundtrack for the first Tim Burton Batman film.  This soundtrack was mocked in the film of Shaun of The Dead when they are going through the vinyl collection to throw records at zombies.  Even though I was laughing I was a little hurt in a way, as I remember when I was a kid loving this album and wearing out my cassette version of it.  I have a feeling that my parents were a little happy when it broke, but that is another story. Now I get to see if it has stood to the test of time or if it has aged worse than some of Prince's other turkeys (there are a few from his royal badass).

This was release when Prince was still part of the Warner Bros label.  As part of the Warner Bros. record label, Prince's involvement in the soundtrack was designed to leverage the media company's contract-bound talent as well as fulfil the artist's need for a commercial (if not critical) revival. The result was yet another multi-platinum successful cross-media enterprise by Warner Bros., in the vein of the album and film Purple Rain.  The other thing about this album is that apart from a few choirs’ pieces and a sax solo or two (as well as the duet section with Shenna Easton); the whole album is performed by the purple badass himself.  That is a lot of work for someone who hated his job at the time.

Musically it is very much of the R&B in the late 80's.  It is more pop-orientated than the world really needed to be honest.  Out of the nine tracks on here, there is a couple which have not aged well at all - "Trust" feels like a bad James Brown song done by his nephew to impress him and I have never been too bothered by "Vicki Waiting".  The overall production is very much of its era as well, but it still have an overall warmth that makes the record more accessible to me, then say other Prince albums like 'LoveSexy'.  It is a little contrived, but I still remember loving "The Future" when I first heard it, which I still get when it starts, "Party Man" is a genius piece of work, "Lemon Crush" is just bizarre in a brilliant way, "Batdance" is a great mash-up of all the songs which were played on the album and the duet "Arms Of Orion" is one of my favourite ballads ever.  It is not a perfect album, it is a soundtrack to one of the best Batman films ever; but because it is slightly flawed I love it that little bit more.  It might be for fans and completists only, but I like being in that company.  We get to have Batman symbols!

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Prince website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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