Under The Radar: Prince, Batman Soundtrack (1989)
Movie soundtracks have become an integral and lucrative addition to movies themselves. Some soundtracks become just as popular or even bigger than the feature film. As examples, Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing, Purple Rain, Guardians of the Galaxy. There is no doubt that there is a lot of work put into a feature film soundtrack in order for the film to resonate with the movie goers long after the audience leaves the theatre.
But of all the soundtracks, there is one that will always stand out in my mind as one of the most original ideas ever to be associated to a feature film.
In my opinion, Prince’s Batman soundtrack is the most original to have ever come out and I was sure there would be a whole slew of them by now.
Prince’s eleventh studio album was released on June 20, 1989 by Warner Bros. Records. It was the soundtrack to the highly anticipated Batman film, directed by Tim Burton and starred Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. The album was No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart for six consecutive weeks and it has sold over eleven million copies worldwide.
But, we rarely hear any of the tracks on the radio or see any of the videos. The tracks have never been fairly represented on a Prince greatest hits record either.
Granted the tracks off the Batman soundtrack are not the best songs from Prince, but up to that point they were some of the most mainstream/commercial/ catchy songs that he ever put to record. What sets this soundtrack apart and what makes it so fascinating is that in the record’s liner notes, all the lyrics are written out and credited to Batman, The Joker, Bruce Wayne, Vicki Vale, or the Gemini character.
The Batman record was not your typical movie soundtrack, which was usually just a grab bag of different songs from various artists or bands. It seems that Prince was trying something thematically interesting and the final product plays out as both a companion piece to the film and a standalone concept album.
To this day, no one dares to attempt to do what Prince did for the movie soundtrack format. I doubt anyone has the ability or talent to try.
Although the songs sound slightly dated, the funky album opener The Future or the rocking Electric Chair and the sexy Vicki Waiting are some of Prince`s most overlooked tracks. Just Scandalous alone, a gorgeous epic ballade is awesome!
There will always be soundtracks released, but there will never be anything like the 1989 Batman soundtrack.