Soundtracks of Significance: Batman & Robin

Nigel Druitt

An avid Flickcharter since 2009, Nigel is a self-described fanboy whose Top 20 is dominated by the likes of Indiana Jones, Frodo Baggins and Marty McFly. Nigel is the Canadian arm of the Flickchart Blog, but try not to hold that against him. You can find him on Flickchart as johnmason.

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2 Responses

  1. The Schumacher Bat-soundtracks are oddities for me, given that the genres and artists covered are generally outside my default listening zone. I know the Smashing Pumpkins by name, and I could tell you they made the Melon Collie album by its title, but that’s the extent of my familiarity. One of their songs could be playing and I’d be unable to tell you.

    The upshot is that I’m freer to evaluate the soundtrack album strictly as a compilation album. As with the films they accompany, I favor Batman Forever. Speaking of which…how dare you insinuate Method Man’s “The Riddler” is anything less than spectacular?! I even bought – and still own – the CD single of that featuring a different mix of it.

    Batman & Robin‘s aesthetic felt more like it was meant for a rave than anything else. I’m more likely to skip through some of its tracks, whereas I let Forever play in its entirety. Still, I have to say that there are some really fun songs here.

    I’ve always enjoyed the stream-of-consciousness absurdity of “Fun for Me” (one of the few songs here to actually feature in the movie; it plays during the motorcycle race). I love Me’shell Ndegéocello’s cover of “Poison Ivy”.

    I was so familiar with the version of “Foolish Games” included here that when I finally bought Jewel’s Pieces of You album, I couldn’t get into the original version of the song. She sounds a little more emotional here; less rushed. It’s a curiosity in the album, but I fell in love with it anyway.

    I also agree with you on the point about Elliot Goldenthal’s Bat-scores. I was always disappointed that he recycled so much of the Batman Forever themes for Batman & Robin. Danny Elfman’s Batman and Batman Returns scores are easily distinguishable from one another; not so with Goldenthal’s pair. Still, I did like his compositions and “A Batman Overture” is a nice medley.

    There was a CD single for U2’s “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” from Forever that included another Goldenthal medley, “Themes from Batman Forever“. The key advantage to “A Batman Overture” is that it can be easily found on the Batman & Robin album proper, whereas you have to go hunting to find “Themes from Batman Forever“. (La-La Land Records did include it as a bonus track in their expanded Batman Forever score 2-disc set this year, though.)

    I still have issues with that R. Kelly song, though. It’s mesmerizing to hear, but it’s just so…wrong! “A city of justice, a city of love”? No version of Gotham City that I recognize! I could never tell if this song was evidence that R. Kelly didn’t understand Batman, or if it was more a microcosm of the Schumacher era itself. Maybe both.

    Incidentally, a fun thing about the CD is that it included “enhanced content” such as the movie trailer and I believe a free trial for AOL. I haven’t actually put the disc in a computer drive in quite some time except to rip it for my iTunes library, but I recall exploring that stuff about a decade ago.

    I could probably whittle down the whole album by at least 1/3 by discarding the tracks that I never got into (including that tedious “Moaner” by Underworld), but the stuff that works, works very well.

    I still favor Batman Forever, though.

    • Nigel Druitt says:

      I do believe I prefer Forever as well, but B&R strikes me as more eclectic, and in some ways more interesting. (Yes, the fact that I am a Pumpkins fan helps.)

      I don’t mean to imply I don’t like Method Man’s “Riddler”…it just seems like such an odd song to represent Carrey’s manic character.

      “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” might just beat out the Pumpkins to my favorite song on both CDs, though.