It’s hard to place Batman Forever on the list of best to worst films of the caped crusader. After all, each director brings their own cinematic flair to the iconic superhero. Burton relishes in gothic imagery, Nolan explores realistic philosophical issues, and Schumacher… well, he was just making comic book movies.
Unfairly double billed alongside Batman and Robin, his first addition to the franchise is quite the wonderful dichotomy of Burton’s poetic moodiness and Leslie H. Martinson’s camp classic Batman [’66]. It shouldn’t work but as we discover, absurd contrasts of light and dark is what the Dark Knight is all about.
Another list then where Forever can proudly shine it’s bat-signal, the official soundtrack. While Batman [’89] did feature the unforgettable Prince, Forever went hard in that pop direction. Alexander and I, Devon, take a musical trip back through ’90’s Gotham.
“Tell the fat lady she’s on in five.”
Alexander: He is so surprised to see him! Do you think he’s a fan? Does he just like other people named after animals?
Devon: He’s literally seeing him up there as he goes to answer the bat-signal.
Alexander: “Uh…Robin? I went to answer the bat-signal and…. uh… SEAL is up there”.
Devon: “Oh, one of the Penguin’s new goons!”, “No. Like, the guy, Seal, what’s happening?” This is pretty much the intro, I guess, fuck, U2 then!
Alexander: As Bono says every time his alarm goes off to wake up him before a gig, “FUCK U2”
U2 Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
Devon: Probably the same reaction every time Scott and Scott get a tweet notification. What a great start to the soundtrack, right? I think whether or not you like U2, if you watched Batman Forever as a kid, this song rocked your world.
Alexander: I listened to it for the first time in full today and I have to admit it’s pretty great. It’s almost the best song on the album, regardless of its unwieldy title.
Devon: It’s a really solid hit. The chorus swells really give off a great superhero feel, as weird as the notion of a Batman U2 song sounds, they did a good, good job.
Alexander: It sounds weird in concept but really works in execution. It’s maybe the kind of thing Godzilla [’98] was going for with it’s songs, but it failed. I really enjoyed the orchestra stuff in it and the riff is solid.
Devon: It’s definitely the first track of a few on this album that have a strange 007 feel, if you get me? This film didn’t start with a music video opening sequence, but these songs imply it did.
Alexander: Right, I feel that! As a side-note, Bono and the Edge wrote the theme to Goldeneye, so for a while they were the big movie-song writers. This feels like a mission statement, “this is what the album will feel like”, except it doesn’t stick to that in the least.
Devon: Goldeneye, U2 and Moby, what a combo there that people don’t seem to acknowledge. That’s also the point I had; we made it in a conversation earlier but, god, this album does not hold up the energy U2 is providing.
Alexander: It really doesn’t. U2 are doing some good work towards saying, “Hey, here’s some strong ideas to hang your album on” and whoever curated it just said, “oh, cheers!” and threw it right in the bin.
Devon: U2 were really throwing a lot at this movie. I don’t know if you’ve watched the official music video, but we have to discuss it. Directed by Schumacher himself, most of it is animated with the band playing around scenes of the movie. It’s quite a good music video… but we do have to acknowledge a certain other character appears. Let’s address Mr. MacPhisto.
Alexander: OH GOD. Bono breaking out MacPhisto is equivalent to that one friend everyone has who insists on taking his ass out every time he gets drunk.
Devon: This is Ace Ventura level where the ass speaks, too. MacPhisto is this weird, weird character that Bono likes to do, he makes it into the video, and Bono himself is fighting him. He almost made it into the movie, I believe.
Alexander: I have to believe there is some footage on some cutting room floor, somewhere, of Bono as MacPhisto getting it on with Batman. And by getting it on, I think I mean fighting. The weird thing is, does anybody, besides the hardcore U2 fan, know who MacPhisto is? More importantly, does anyone care?
Devon: I have to imagine, and genuinely feel, that Bono was desperate to get MacPhisto into DC canon.
Alexander: If Colonel Sanders can get his own stories, MacPhisto surely can.
Devon: They do try to push new lore onto us; he has his own Phist-mobile… It has a giant mouth on it which is unsettling.
Alexander: I imagine Bono on set praying for Chris O’Donnell to break a serious bone, just so he could step in and replace Robin.
Devon: Given that Bono has a literal halo while fighting MacPhisto, I figure he’s more a villain. God, I love how pretentious he is at times. Maybe since Two Face and Riddler were basically the Joker, they couldn’t fit any more in.
Alexander: I always forget they did the twofer villain, it was a dangerously overstuffed film. Nobody can ever seem to make room for Bono. You can’t just compartmentalize Bono.
Devon: Especially when he’s dragging the album along like this. So far, this article is going be 70% MacPhisto, let’s see what else the album has for it.
PJ Harvey One Time Too Many
Alexander: Next up was ol’ PJ, right?, old Pyjamas Harvey.
Devon: Another rock song on the album, kind of, going for something, so far. We can get an idea of Bruce’s Spotify.
Alexander: It’s going for rock, and more specifically, something a bit alternative and dark? At least scuzzy.
Devon: I was trying to find the word to describe quite a few of these songs and scuzzy is exactly that. He’s got a lot of angst, that boy.
Alexander: There’s a lot of distortion and angst. He’s one step away from listening to Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins. The closest we got to Emo Batman.
Devon: Between this and U2, there is a lot of guitar jams and grunting here that PJ and Bono like to do. The second half of One Time Too Many is literally all mouth noises.
Alexander: I noticed all that moaning of Bono’s towards the end of their song, and was not comfortable with it. Imagine you’re the Edge and you have to listen to your best mate doing that.
Devon: I assume his little beanie is sound proof; he just slips it down over his ears near the end of songs.
Alexander: That’s why he wears it! He has not heard a word Bono has said since 1989. Bono’s cowboy hat was so he didn’t have to look at his damn band. The PJ Harvey song is okay; I do like her, but the song doesn’t do much besides set a tone.
Devon: I like some PJ too, it’s good, and an okay follow up after U2. Now, you say set a tone… track three.
Brandy Where Are You Now?
Alexander: BRANDY? She comes in, destroys the tone with a pretty sweet jam of her own.
Devon: I don’t want to give the impression it’s bad either, but having recently listened to the album, there is no song that comes close to this. Boggles the mind how this even made it on the track list.
Alexander: Is it meant to insinuate that, hey, Bruce can rock out, but he can fuck out, too? An incredibly weird addition; as a song, I like it, but it is a sore thumb on the album.
Devon: Here’s the crazy thing, though. Written by Lenny Kravitz for the soundtrack.
Alexander: Why have Lenny Kravitz, a rock musician, write, but not record, a song for a predominantly rock-based soundtrack? “Nah, don’t have him record it, that would make too much sense”.
Devon: I GOT IT. Nicole Kidman’s character, Dr. Meridian Chase, is obsessed with Batman! She wants to bone down on that rubber suit so hard, so what if this is her theme?
Alexander: I hadn’t thought of different songs belonging to different characters. I love that a sweet, sex jam is for the one lady.
Devon: I cant remember what else she does aside from fall down that big hole at the end. She is an interesting character, to be totally fair, I like that she’s a psychologist so can get Bruce a little. But, every scene with her and Batman is so, shall I say, overtly sexually charged. It’s weird for a kid’s film.
Alexander: “You don’t know what it’s like inside my twisted mind. It’s… it’s just easier if I play this U2 song for you”. That is true, there are scenes throughout, both this and Batman and Robin, that seem a little… erotically furious for a family film.
Devon: She does borderline Harley Quinn at times with the weird attraction. There’s a lot of weird obsessions in this movie, half of her scenes are her in lingerie and bed, no wonder she’s got boner jams playing.
Alexander: That’s how I remember her character; just getting a massive hard-on and listening to sweet mid ’90’s R&B.
Devon: Now we’re getting somewhere, actually, in piecing together this album. We have Nicole Kidman, rubber fetishist, constantly trying to get in Bruce’s bat cave, and he’s having none of it! All those sad emo tracks coming up sum him up perfectly.
Alexander: Exactly! They’re his way of saying, “I’m bat, single, but not ready to mingle”.
Devon: If we want to talk Batman, the movie, for a bit. I do quite like Val Kilmer as Bruce; seeing it again reminds me just how sad and mopey he is, there’s a lot of pathos to this Batman. We all get caught up in the really dumb, goofy stuff, that we don’t notice this entry has quite a few adult themes, completely missing in Batman & Robin which is all kids film.
Alexander: In hindsight, I quite like his interpretation, too. Batman is supposed to brood and he definitely gets that down quite nicely, better than the Cloon Man.
Devon: He’s underrated, there’s a really good scene where he’s getting fixed up by Alfred while Chris O’Donnell wants to be a sidekick, and Val is actually acting as he tries to shut him down. It’s strangely a decent follow up to Keaton’s take.
Alexander: He holds it together well, and even if he does look like Pete Holmes, he looks right in the bat suit.
Devon: Fuck, he does! I never noticed that until now, I cant picture Batman without him maniacally laughing.
Alexander: Don’t forget talking over everyone around him! I kid, I love Petey. It does feel odd that he got replaced, I wonder why? Was he poorly received, or did he choose to move on?
Devon: Keaton? If I remember right, he stepped down after Burton was replaced. It’s a very strange transition, I generally take it as a new universe, but then they make references to Batman’s last girlfriend being in tight vinyl with a whip.
Alexander: Oh, I meant why did Kilmer not come back. WAIT, so it’s meant to follow on from Keaton’s?
Devon: They do make cheeky nods to the prior films, even though they don’t really connect in any sense.
Alexander: That’s so hard to fathom. That’d be like Bale’s Batman being like, “man, Mr. Freeze sure was a dick, huh?” Maybe it’s just a little treat for fans rather than a solid connection, “here’s a thing you’ve heard of, happy now?”
Devon: I suppose in the Schumacher universe, he could’ve also been with Catwoman, feasibly. Although probably not, this guy seems a total cuck in this film.
Alexander: He seems like he hasn’t used his peen in many a moon.
Devon: Well, on from one fuck track to the next. I didn’t think we’d spend so much time on Brandy. Let’s not go overboard with Seal.
Seal Kiss From A Rose
Alexander: If any song from that album is a stone cold classic, it’s this one.
Devon: What can be said that hasn’t already? Timeless banger.
Alexander: This is the first song I think of when I think of the album. Weird, because it’s so not Batman.
Devon: Now we can throw back to FUCK U2.
Alexander: I’d have liked a re-recorded version with just the odd reference. Just change it to, “Batmaaaaaan, I compare you to a kiss from a rose!”
Devon: So it’s him and Nicole, up there, both trying to get that bat bone.
Alexander: That’s definitely his bone-tune, after all the angst and grit his romantic/horny side is coming out.
Devon: This is a good development from Brandy, actually! We’ve got the horny fuck jam, and his solo brood sesh’, and they meld together as Chase learns about Bruce and Batman and they find a deeper connection.
Alexander: It makes a nice mini-album with Brandy, but as far as I can tell, it’s not really followed up by anything relevant. Unless The Offspring count as a fuck-jam band, which to some horrible person, I bet they do.
Devon: These two maybe could’ve been left later in the album because, boy, they spend up their Seal a little early. After this track, most people probably can’t even name a song left.
Alexander: It’s a hugely front loaded album. The kind I can imagine someone buying, putting on for fifteen minutes, then switching OFF. What are the odds that there is a person out there who likes all fourteen of these songs? It’s gotta be 1 in 5,000,000.
Devon: Maybe it is Bruce; he’s a busy boy, only has so much time in that cave before he’s got to go.
Alexander: He’s got eclectic taste! Don’t put labels on him, he’ll just shake them off!
Devon: When he’s out and about, he’s the guy to hear a song played publicly, and every one assumes Batman doesn’t listen to those jams so he sulks it off…. then, as he goes:
Alexander: FUCK. That’s his face when you’re driving with him, “Batty, you’re not about to play U2 again, are you?”, “That’s my secret cap, I’m always playing U2”.
Devon: Such a dumb moment too, in the film, does not fit the scene at all. Such a smug little boy grin.
Alexander: It’s a BIG grin, not a little smirk but a full, boyish grin.
Devon: He is real proud of himself, and it’s the scene where he convinces Chase to realise she’s not interested in him! What a weird loner, “back to the Nick Cave bat cave sad wanks, god… I hope Robin’s left already”.
Alexander: “Hey Alfred, is Robin – what, he’s still doing his laundry!? How long does it take to do a couple of vests?”
Devon: Before we get off Seal, two points just to go over. Some evidence, if you will, of our thematic readings reflected in a random Quora reply:
“Seal will only admit the song is about relationships and the last thing the audience hears reminding them of one of the film’s themes, obsession. I and others’ song interpretation is the lyrics are about obsession consistent with Dr. Chase’s obsession with Batman; Robin’s obsession his parent’s death; and Edward Nygma idolization of Batman.”
Alexander: Oh, WOW. Can anyone say this comment is wrong? I certainly can’t.
Devon: No use of terminology of fuck jams, but that is shockingly astute on one of the less serious Batman films.
Alexander: Definitely, and that is evidenced in the songs. It’s a silly Batman, but that doesn’t mean they’re not all going through their own things. Even if Two Face’s thing is that his face is half fucked.
Devon: Two Face gets so overlooked in this film; he starts off as the villain but literally becomes a sidekick to the Riddler, and doesn’t seem to have any theme to himself on this album.
Alexander: Maybe, that’s why Tommy Lee Jones was so pissed off with Jim Carrey in real life. He wanted to be the MVP of the film, he wanted Method Man to do a song about him.
Devon: Maybe, that’s why Billy Dee Williams didn’t show up.
Alexander: Billy Dee Williams was scared off the project when Tommy swerved his car towards him screaming, “I’M THE ONLY 3 NAMED MAN ON THIS FILM”.
Devon: Solid theory, I believe it. Interesting that Kiss From A Rose came out before the film, didn’t make a splash at all, but Schumacher happened to like it and wanted it in a love scene.
Alexander: It wasn’t written for the Batman? The video I saw had film footage.
Devon: That was the second music video it had, it was that successful.
Alexander: Always wondered why the hell it was a Batman song, it has literally nothing to do with it.
Devon: He wrote it in ’87 and thought it was terrible, so left it off his first album, and finally decided to put it on his second. Now it’s Batman history.
Alexander: I love that nobody challenged Joel, like, “Okay, you can just have this ill-fitting R&B song in your film”.
Devon: We’ve already got U2 and Method Man, why the fuck not.
Alexander: After they got Prince to do Batman [’89], they just thought, “fuck it, let’s just get some more R&B stuff in there”. If it’d continued, we’d have had The Dark Knight with Sean Paul.
Devon: What a start for big comic movies to go straight to Prince. Nolan definitely should’ve had some prime ’00’s butt rock.
Alexander: But oh no, Nolan’s “too good” for that. He just goes with hacks like Zimmer, instead of going for universally respected artists, like Spineshank and Three Days Grace.
Devon: With only ten songs left to go, fuck, are we ready to get into uncharted territory then for this album?
Alexander: I am indeed!
Massive Attack The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game
Devon: What is up with Massive Attack being here, eh? Another strange tonal shift.
Alexander: Very weird! Again, like it as a track, but on this album I found it kind of tedious. There needs to be some momentum and this track is just slow.
Devon: It’s quite a long track, right? A little down tempo after Seal.
Alexander: So long, I cannot imagine anyone listening to this in the context of the album without skipping the last forty seconds. Maybe I’m just saying that because that’s exactly what I did.
Devon: After our exploration of Brandy, this song actually feels more out of place.
Alexander: This album was supposed to be pop-oriented and it was very grown-up music. Massive Attack is pop, but it’s not exactly children’s party material.
Devon: Real slow mellow pop, and it does not get much faster for the rest of this album.
Alexander: It stays at the same tempo pretty much throughout. Very moody music.
Devon: We’ve mentioned this good fit before, and I wonder if you agree, this is totally a Brosnan Bond track, right?
Alexander: oh, it really is. Very ’90’s and very, for lack of a better word, hip. Chilled out, down-tempo, almost trip-hop stuff was so big back then. I can imagine that in Goldeneye when Bond is hanging out on the beach.
Devon: They very almost did a Bond opener, I believe, may have been Goldeneye.
Alexander: That would’ve fit so well! I mean Garbage were so of the time but their theme was weirdly great. I’m very surprised they weren’t on this soundtrack.
Devon: Definitely a band Bruce would have on his Spotify.
Alexander: I’d like the band Garbage rather than some of the actual garbage on this soundtrack, am I right!!!
Devon: There is really no way to tell if that gif is praising or burying your joke.
Alexander: It’s so hard to tell when Batman is being sarcastic. He constantly keeps you in the grey zone, so ironic it’s hard to tell what he really likes.
Devon: More like welcome to his twisted mind, am I right!!! What are we doing? God, we need to power through these next few.
Eddi Reader Nobody Lives Without Love
Alexander: I hated it. Agonisingly slow and boring.
Devon: All our points for Massive Attack cover this. I personally think it’s an… okay song, but we’ve hit a point already where I’m forgetting this is a Batman soundtrack.
Alexander: Same here. It hits a really serious slump and so fast, I couldn’t finish this song. The soundtrack delves far too deep into the slow emotional stuff when really it should be womping up the jams.
Devon: It just tries to cover the same themes already stated by Brandy and Seal, and all the Bat fans are screaming to get back to the goofy stuff.
Alexander: It was such a relief by this stage whenever a song had a faster tempo. This drained everything out of me, and not in a good way.
Devon: We’re at around the middle of the album and, at this point, I feel bad because I like this next band, but it is more of the same.
Mazzy Star Tell Me Now
Alexander: I liked this song! Never thought I’d discover a band because of Batman, but I discovered Mazzy Star today. I think they’re great, this is a strong song, but again… in the context of the album it’s painful to sit through.
Devon: It’s just stuck in that same slow crawling tempo the track list is pushing on us.
Alexander: I added a bunch of their albums on Spotify, they’re really nice shoegaze stuff, but man, is it badly placed on this album. The next track could’ve been white noise and that would’ve fit fine.
Devon: I wondered at first if the CD compilation guy thought this was another Burton Batman, then, I realised this is the mix-tape teenage Timmy listened to while reading Batman comics. Shoegaze is also a great descriptor for the middle of this album. U2 and PJ gave the vibe of high flying, dark streets Batman, and at this point, Bruce is just lounging around the mansion in his joggers.
Alexander: Right now, Bruce is in the stage where he’s making vague tumblr posts and editing quotes over pictures of landscapes, ‘the universe is whatever’.
Devon: We’ve entered an DC Elseworlds where Bruce never became Batman, he’s just got real emotional growth issues about his parents’ deaths.
Alexander: That’s all he does, just makes bad internet content rather than battling super villains. If his parents had never died, this album would’ve been nothing but Len and Smash Mouth.
Devon: There’s a segue, you say Smash… and we’ve got Smash It Up next.
The Offspring Smash It Up
Alexander: Oh boy. Oh god. Oh man. I love the original so much, and The Damned are such a great band… but The Offspring?
Devon: This has to be Robin’s theme of the album, no? By that, I mean a real mess copy of someone else.
Alexander: That’s got to be it, Robin loves smashing things up, especially his washing. The Offspring just do not fit alongside Mazzy Star and PJ Harvey.
Devon: He’s always getting into those street fights with all those bizarre gangs. Gotham got so colourful in this one with every gang member having neon paint on them.
Alexander: They were really ’90’s villains. They could feel the second summer of love coming and they were all on ecstasy. There really should’ve been a rave scene at some point, but nope, just Robin doing his washing.
Devon: I just thought, maybe The Offspring is applicable. Robin does steal the bat-mobile for a joy ride, and they did do the music for Crazy Taxi.
Alexander: Whenever I think The Offspring, the first thing I hear is, “YA YA YA YA”. It’s just Crazy Taxi, that’s who they are to me, the Crazy Taxi band.
Devon: Why I always get the bus, can’t be doing with those memories.
Alexander: I hope The Offspring do the soundtrack for the upcoming Crazy Uber which might not be a real thing but should be. After that song, the album picks up for a two track streak.
Devon: It’ll probably be The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack given some of the ordeals I hear about.
Nick Cave There Is A Light
Devon: But, you’re right! We’ve got some good music coming up now we’re over the slump hump. Nick Cave delivering some welcome rhythm and energy that feels years ago already.
Alexander: It felt so refreshing getting that song in there. It works, too, because the album needed some of that weirdo energy.
Devon: Admittedly, I still can’t imagine it in a Batman film. For this track listing? Thank fuck.
Alexander: The film itself is oddball and, not experimental but, weird. The song reflects that. It’s hard to place in an actual film, but it gives you a bit of variation after falling aggressively asleep in the middle.
Devon: If they can get Nick Cave to work for every Scream film, i’m sure they can get him into Batman.
Alexander: Wait, every? The only one I remember is Red Right Hand.
Devon: They reuse that in the sequels. It becomes one of the various weird themes of Scream, along with a score track from Broken Arrow.
Alexander: That’s mad. Did they not at least say, “let’s try and get something similar to that”?
Devon: There’s a cover in Scream 3, because of course.
Alexander: There’s quite a lot to be said about the Scream soundtracks. Some Creed in there, some Eels too, very angst and alt.
Devon: Oh no, before we get into Creed again, we have to finish this. Now you said two good songs next, right?
Alexander: UH OH. Well, listen, I enjoyed Method Man.
Method Man The Riddler
Devon: Wait, shit. My playlist messed up, I went into the next song after that. Yes! Method Man! I totally agree with you, this track is great.
Alexander: Oh, thank God, I thought I was alone out here enjoying this on my own.
Devon: No, no no, this was a real solid track. …Does it fit Batman?
Alexander: It’s such a weird artefact, but Method Man and Wu Tang are into some nerd shit, comic books, and kung fu, it makes sense he’d do this. Also, it does NOT fit Batman.
Devon: We did say Brandy was alone here, but we do have two R&B tracks.
Alexander: It would make sense on a Method Man album, but a Batman album? Nope, it doesn’t fit the theme or tone, it’s just a cool track. Does it feel like this soundtrack really tried to branch out and appeal to all tastes?
Devon: I could maybe imagine the Riddler listening to this, but then we’re getting into the canon that he took his criminal alias from a Method song.
Alexander: It’s the Goonies watching the video for The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough all over again. It should’ve been a bonus track because it really does mess up the flow of the album, if there even is one by this stage.
Devon: At this point, Schumacher came in to check how the soundtrack listing was going and was absolutely outraged at what we had so far.
Alexander: “You mean you haven’t got songs about the Riddler from any members of Wu Tang? IDIOTS!” A good comment on YouTube pointed out that the Riddler looks, “scary” in the video for it; that Method made the Riddler frightening, which is highly subjective.
Devon: I was just about to ask if you were watching the video. Because first; even though it’s film footage, boy, it’s weird seeing Jim Carrey with Method. I cannot tell if this makes him way less or more white.
Alexander: It’s so, so strange, but I think he pulls it off alright. It’s so weird that it works.
Devon: Now, I don’t know if I agree with the comment of frightening, but it does give him a totally different vibe than as he is in the film. Which is to say, Jim Carrey.
Alexander: Definitely, this makes him a bit more edgy, I suppose, and less, like you said, Carrey.
Devon: If you want to bring the film in for a little bit, I do want to say after watching some of it again, I really like his acting performance in the first half of the movie. He’s just an unhinged scientist starting his crime career, it’s a really solid approach to him.
Alexander: He’s one of the most memorable and interesting parts of the film. Very interesting to see Jim Carrey approach it, too, seeing a comedian’s take on it. They do quite a nice job of giving him a backstory, rather than him coming in and being already insane.
Devon: That’s what’s neat about this film; he really didn’t have a backstory before this film. It was actual comic writers who added all this which is pretty much canon since.
Alexander: That’s great, I didn’t know that. This film doesn’t get enough credit for doing that, because his backstory work is really solid.
Devon: As I was saying earlier, if he didn’t go totally bonkers in costume later, this could’ve been a great character.
Alexander: It does flirt with greatness, before blowing that superbly with the messy second half. Just like the soundtrack blows the great opening.
Devon: In a positive sense, it’s a little fitting to his arc; he’s so obsessed with getting Bruce’s attention at the start, that becoming the Riddler is him distancing himself from that and becoming himself. But then he goes completely overboard. I wish I could say the soundtrack had that arc, lets not give it that much credit.
Alexander: They try to give it an arc, unfortunately, that involves me falling asleep directly after the Method Man finishes because The Passenger cover is not great.
Michael Hutchence The Passenger
Devon: What I almost got into before remembering Method. This should’ve, or should not have, been in that middle slump.
Alexander: I’m not sure it should’ve ever been recorded. I expected it to be an exact likeness of the original, and instead we got this?
Devon: Wait, I did it again, fuck! I’m still talking about that Devlins track.
Alexander: Oh no, that’s bad too! For me, it goes Passenger, Devlins, Sunny Day Real Estate, and then Flaming Lips.
Devon: Right, shit, my notes are a fucking mess. Before all of this, I just want to point out one last Method note; isn’t it weird how that video starts with a Godfather homage?
Alexander: SO WEIRD. Did Method just say, “Hey, I like films, okay?” and go nuts?
Devon: He was expecting this to be on the same level, “this is gonna be The Godfather III in this classic trilogy…”.
Alexander: The video doesn’t really have very comic-book-y vibes; very mafioso, which doesn’t exactly say the Riddler.
Devon: Maybe that’s what made him so frightening.
Alexander: Finally, a Riddler we fear will pull a fucking gun on us.
Devon: I’m back on track now, The Passenger is next, so you can make your opening point a third time now.
Alexander: So I thought this will be note for note bland cover, but instead it’s just a horrible dated sounding mess. It has a pretty ugly production.
Devon: Ah, I don’t know… I thought this was pretty okay! I dug the aural aesthetics of it.
Alexander: For me, it felt a little unstructured, and I wanted something with a lot more meat at this stage. I needed a song that would be an espresso to wake me up, but this was a cup of lukewarm water.
Devon: The orchestra in this was quite strong, it’s gearing towards an end.
Alexander: That’s true, actually, the orchestra called back to U2 which, by this stage, felt like ten years ago.
Devon: That chorus though… Batman? “La la la la la” is quite close to, “na na na na na”, which are classic Batman lyrics.
Alexander: Speaking of that, it took me a minute to notice the beat on the chorus of The Riddler sampled the original theme. I do prefer The Passenger to the next damn song, though.
Devon: We at Devlins, finally?
Alexander: We are. This song is what Mark from Peep Show listens to.
The Devlins Crossing the River
Devon: Okay, at this point, I hoped Schumacher had fucking fired the jabroni in charge of compilation.
Alexander: It is a warm fart of a song. So bland, I cannot believe it made the cut. Surely, thirteen songs was enough?
Devon: I just did a single deafening clap in how perfectly described that was.
Alexander: Thank you! This song brought out a sour distaste in me and I needed to express it. Weirdly, the YouTube comments were filled with praise, “they don’t make music like this anymore” THANK GOD.
Devon: After some in depth analysis of Brandy and Seal, at this point, I’m so done with all this, “crossing the river”. WHAT IS? I HOPE A FUCKING BATARANG.
Alexander: So much water talk! Whoever compiled this must’ve been really, really thirsty. Which would explain why all the songs are so dry.
Devon: Almost as wet as Nicole Kidman, bringing it back round to relevant.
Alexander Do you think if she heard Bruce listening to the Sunny Day Real Estate song, she would’ve lost interest in him? Because I would.
Devon: I am going to acknowledge the finale of Batman Forever involves the heroes crossing a body of water to the villains’ lair. But I will not give this track any credit.
Sunny Day Real Estate 8
Devon: Now, like Mazzy Star, this is a band I didn’t know about. But I do love Garbage and The Distillers so love me some laryngitis female vocals.
[So the only editorial note I’m making here, I legitimately thought Sunny Day Real Estate featured a female vocals. I learnt that they do not after the fact.]
Alexander: The song is very proto-emo. It’s not a bad song but, again, it feels weird on this soundtrack. Really weird that a 30-something billionaire would listen to them.
Devon: This is Bruce playing this to Robin to get into the vibe of night crime fighters, “alright, Dick, you gotta constantly be brooding, never stop thinking about your parents’ deaths, and turn down that poon tang”.
Alexander: The strict rules of being Batman: 1) Dead parents 2) Hard rock 3) Soft cock. This song makes me think of Bruce being a teenage kid walking down the hallways of a high school with floppy hair in his face and ripped jeans.
Devon: Imagine being one of the ladies in a Batman film, looking up Bruce Wayne to find out more about him, and finding a Spotify playist called ‘HARD ROCK SOFT COCK’.
Alexander: The playlist is 18,000 songs long.
Devon: It sounds insane, but honestly, that’s such a perfect summary of Bruce.
Alexander: It is completely him; he abstains from all the pleasures in life because it helps him focus, but also makes him suffer even more, and, boy, does he love to suffer.
Devon: And so, following this weird, weird rock vibe, what else but the Lips to close us out?
The Flaming Lips Bad Days
Alexander: A song perfect for the Riddler, it’s quirky, kind of funny, and weird.
Devon: Strangely perfect for Batman in general. Has that Fight Club Pixies finale feeling; a great parallel to the shitty, shitty, absurd life in Gotham.
Alexander: I completely agree. So far, the album is very serious, with not much levity at all, so a sort of absurd end note works so nicely.
Devon: You can have as many rambling monologues as you want, Nolan! But this explains everything we need to know about the Dark Knight’s day to day.
Alexander: Yeah, Chris! You can waffle on all you like but, “in your dreams you can blow his head off” explains a character perfectly. It’s a really nice touch, and it makes you feel more fondly about the album in general. Starts strong, ends strong, just a shame about the middle/
Devon: What if… this is a perfect summary of Gotham though the entire album. Huge energetic start with the promise of heroics, this isn’t Metropolis so it brings a skuzzy atmosphere, there’s the chance for strange, powerful obsessions, lots and lots and lots of misery, and then, at the end of the day you say, “fuck it” and wait for tomorrow to do it all over again.
Alexander: That’s actually kind of brilliant? So there’s a chance, they structured an entire album, in all it’s sloppiness and not-goodness, to mirror the society it came from.
Devon: Looks like the CD guy is getting rehired. Get Matt Reeves on the phone, we have an idea for the new Batman soundtrack.
Alexander: “Listen, man, just pick two good songs to bookend it then slap twelve songs in between which can be as disparate and un-listenable as you like”. The tragic thing is, albums like this don’t exist anymore, really. There are no bands who could possibly come together to make a soundtrack like this.
Devon: For all the times we’ve mentioned this particular soundtrack, I had no idea it would actually be the perfect start for this article series. Soundtracks like this are an absurd art form.
Alexander: They really are. Makes you realise how much goes into picking these songs, and even sequencing them, even if the results are, um, mixed. It’s kind of admirable and I do miss it.
Devon: So, after all the mentions, are you ever going to listen to this soundtrack again? And by listen, I truly mean, experience this again.
Alexander: You know, I think I will.