Musings in the Dark: Prince's Legacy: #9


Prince's Legacy: #9

#9: Batman

Tim Burton’s Batman came out in 1989 and its soundtrack created almost entirely by Prince.  He played all the instruments (except horns), wrote all the songs (with an assist by Sheena Easton and John Nelson), did all the production and created a fun, funky album that sold over 4 million copies upon first release.  It wasn’t as successful as his previous albums, but I love it.  Nowadays, over 20 years later, many consider it to be an underrated classic.

Favorite cuts are “Batdance,” “Scandalous,” “Electric Chair,” “Partyman” and “The Arms of Orion.”  “Batdance” has a kick-ass beat and I dare anyone to listen and not at least bob your head.  The video for Batdance is an opera, as conceived in the mind of His Royal Badness.  Just recently, it surfaced on YouTube (I know!) and I watched it about fiftyleven times.  Prince had the whole Joker/Batman Two-Face thing going on, and I remember when I first saw the video, I was mesmerized.  It was the first time I saw what I’d call a goth Prince, dressed in all black and rocking flat-ironed hair, and baby…I was here for it, even if at the time I wasn’t 100% sure what “here” was.

Courtesy of

Bottom two images courtesy of

Yes and Ma'am!!!

The song changes completely midway through; it’s practically a new song that introduces the character of Vicki Vale, played by Kim Basinger.  Then it reverts back to the original tempo and builds to a crescendo that ends when Prince says, “Stop.”  I remember a lot of people didn’t care for how the song changed, but if you look at it from an artistic standpoint, Vicki is the woman between Batman and the Joker, and then it makes sense.  I freakin’ love “Batdance” and its B-side, "200 Balloons."

“Scandalous” is a dark and sexy slow jam that’s vintage Prince; right up there in the Top Ten Prince Baby-Makers.  I love how it begins; it’s like being invited into Prince’s lair and you have no choice (and would be a fool if you thought you did) but to go.  It’s a beautiful song.

“Electric Chair” is a cool little track that got my attention with this line: If a man is considered to be guilty for what goes on in his mind, then give me the electric chair for all my future crimes.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s a story buried in those lyrics.

“Partyman” is featured in the movie, when the Joker and his goons enter a museum/restaurant and vandalize the shit out of it.  I would bet good money that Jack Nicholson was listening to it as he filmed that scene, because it works on every level.  Every time it comes on, I have no choice but to crank up the volume and bounce.

“The Arms of Orion” is another slow song; a duet with Sheena Easton that I didn’t care for at first, but eventually came to enjoy over time.  I can’t recall why I didn’t like it, but I listened to it enough that it burrowed into my subconscious and became the title of a 600+ page novel I wrote in 2007 that I’ll never publish.  It’s wistful and wishful, describing a situation in which Batman always seems to find himself.  Same thing with that novel.

Batman peaked at #1 on Billboard for six weeks and to date has sold over eleven million copies.

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