Batman (album)

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Batman
Prince Batman.jpg
Studio album / soundtrack by Prince
Released June 20, 1989
Recorded June 1988 – March 1989
Studio Paisley Park Studios
Genre
Length 42:52
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Prince
Prince chronology
Lovesexy
(1988)
Batman
(1989)
Graffiti Bridge
(1990)
Batman soundtrack chronology
Batman (score)
(1989) Batman (score)1989
Batman
(1989) Batman1989
Batman Returns
(1992) Batman Returns1992
Singles from Batman
  1. "Batdance"
    Released: June 8, 1989
  2. "Partyman"
    Released: September 15, 1989
  3. "The Arms of Orion"
    Released: October 16, 1989
  4. "Scandalous!"
    Released: November 28, 1989
  5. "The Future"
    Released: May 18, 1990

Batman is the eleventh studio album by American recording artist Prince and the soundtrack album to the 1989 film Batman. It was released on June 20, 1989 by Warner Bros. Records. As a Warner Bros. stablemate, Prince's involvement in the soundtrack was designed to leverage the media company's contract-bound talent as well as fulfill 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 Purple Rain. The album was No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart for six consecutive weeks. It has sold over eleven million copies worldwide.

Production[edit]

The album was recorded in six weeks, from mid-February to late March 1989, and Prince used three tracks recorded earlier: "Electric Chair", "Scandalous!", and "Vicki Waiting" (originally known as "Anna Waiting", named for his then-girlfriend Anna Fantastic). Originally, the songs "1999" and "Baby I'm a Star" from earlier albums were slated to be used in the film, but Prince instead recorded an entire album's worth of material with Batman samples and lyrics. In a 2001 Rolling Stone interview, Prince revealed that the project was initially supposed to be a collaboration between himself and Michael Jackson: "Did you know that the album was supposed to be a duet between Michael Jackson and me? He as Batman, me as the Joker?" Prince would have sung funk songs for the villains, while Michael Jackson would have sung ballads for the heroes. This never came to fruition as Jackson was busy with the Bad World Tour and signed with Epic Records, while the film was a Warner Bros. production. The album was performed entirely by Prince, with a few exceptions: Sheena Easton duets with Prince on "The Arms of Orion", "Trust" features a sampled horn part by Eric Leeds and Atlanta Bliss, and "The Future" features strings by Clare Fischer sampled from the then-unreleased 1986 track "Crystal Ball" and samples of the Sounds of Blackness choir. "Batdance" includes a sample of Prince's technician Matthew Larson, and "Partyman" features the vocal performance of then-girlfriend Anna Garcia (credited as Anna Fantastic).[1] All dialogue sampled on Prince's Batman album is taken directly from a workprint of Batman and therefore lacks ADR and foley. This is especially noticeable in the beginning of the first track, "The Future", with dialogue of Michael Keaton speaking as Batman.

In the album's liner notes, the lyrics of each song are associated with one of the characters in the film: "The Future" and "Scandalous" are credited to Batman; while "Electric Chair", "Partyman" and "Trust" are credited to the Joker. "Vicki Waiting" is sung from the perspective of Bruce Wayne, while "Lemon Crush" comes from Vicki Vale; the two characters share the duet, "The Arms of Orion". "Batdance", whose lyrics are compromised mostly of samples from the film, is credited to all aforementioned parties, as well as Gemini, Prince's Batman-centric alter ego that resembles Batman villain Two-Face—Prince on the right half of the body and the Joker on the left. Prince himself is credited with singing two lines of the album as himself: "Who do you trust if you can't trust God? Who can you trust - who can ya? Nobody." in "Trust"; and the word "STOP!" which ends "Batdance" and the album proper (though the "STOP!" is actually a sound bite of Michael Keaton), directly from the film where he tells the Batmobile to stop.

Batman also marked a change in Prince's appearance; he switched out frilly clothing, polka dots, lace, and controversial attire for a much darker and simpler attire, usually donning dark blue/black clothing and "Batman" boots. The artist's hair was also completely straightened from wavy curls, as shown in the "Batdance" video.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[2]
Blender3/5 stars[3]
Chicago Sun-Times3.5/4 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[5]
The Guardian3/5 stars[6]
Los Angeles Times3/5 stars[7]
Q4/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[10]
The Village VoiceB+[11]

In 2016, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz praised Prince's songs and music videos for Batman, more so than the film itself, stating that his songs "suggest a goofy, perverse, sensuous, somewhat introverted Batman film that so far we've never gotten from anyone", and arguing that Prince's music videos "are more psychologically perceptive than any of the Batman films."[12][13][14]

Ownership complexities[edit]

Ownership of the Batman franchise is notoriously complex.[citation needed] Prince had to agree to sign the publishing rights to the songs used in the film over to Warner Bros.; Prince's hit singles from this album were not permitted to appear on any of his hits compilations until the 2016 release of 4Ever, which included "Batdance". Only the B-sides "200 Balloons", "Feel U Up", and "I Love U in Me" appeared on his 1993 The Hits/The B-Sides collection. On concert T-shirts which listed all of Prince's album titles to date, the song "Scandalous!" appeared in place of the album Batman.[citation needed] Despite this, Prince performed a number of the album's tracks in concert over the years.[citation needed] A 2005 special edition DVD of the Batman film contains Prince's related videos as a bonus feature (although the video for "Partyman" is an edited-down version of the original 7-minute long video). Wedged between Lovesexy and Graffiti Bridge, the soundtrack serves as Prince's final album contribution of the 1980s.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Prince, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."The Future" 4:07
2."Electric Chair" 4:07
3."The Arms of Orion" (Performed with Sheena Easton)Sheena Easton, Prince5:02
4."Partyman" 3:11
5."Vicki Waiting" 4:51
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Trust" 4:23
7."Lemon Crush" 4:15
8."Scandalous"John L. Nelson, Prince6:14
9."Batdance" 6:13

Personnel[edit]

Singles and Hot 100 chart placings[edit]

  1. "Batdance" (edit)
  2. "200 Balloons"
  3. "Batdance" (The Batmix) (maxi-single)
  4. "Batdance" (Vicki Vale Mix) (maxi-single)
  1. "Partyman"
  2. "Feel U Up"
  3. "The Purple Party Mix" (maxi-single)
  4. "Partyman" (music mix) (maxi-single)
  5. "Partyman" (video mix) (maxi-single)
  1. "The Arms of Orion" with Sheena Easton (#36 US, #27 UK)
  2. "I Love U in Me"
  1. "Scandalous!"
  2. "When 2 R in Love"
  3. "The Crime" ("The Scandalous Sex Suite" maxi-single)
  4. "The Passion" ("The Scandalous Sex Suite" maxi-single)
  5. "The Rapture" ("The Scandalous Sex Suite" maxi-single)
  6. "Sex" ("The Scandalous Sex Suite" maxi-single)
  1. "The Future" (Remix)
  2. "Electric Chair" (Remix)

Charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 4
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 3
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[17] 1
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[18] 3
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[19] 4
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[20] 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 2
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 1
UK Albums Chart[23] 1
US Billboard 200[24] 1
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[24] 1
Chart (2016) Peak
position
US Billboard 200 61

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[25] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[26] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[27] Platinum 488,100 [28]*
Germany (BVMI)[29] Gold 250,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[30] Gold 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[31] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[33] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alex Hahn (2003). "Possessed: The Rise And Fall Of Prince". Billboard Books. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Batman – Prince". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Harris, Keith (June–July 2001). "Prince — Every Original CD Reviewed: Batman". Blender. New York (1). Archived from the original on August 20, 2004. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ McLeese, Don (June 19, 1989). "'Bat' dancing // Prince spreads his wings with hot movie soundtrack". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 16, 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Browne, David (September 21, 1990). "Purple Products". Entertainment Weekly. New York (32). Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Price, Simon (April 22, 2016). "Prince: every album rated – and ranked". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (June 18, 1989). "Prince's Gotham City Batdance: Id and Ego". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  8. ^ Bradley, Lloyd (August 1989). "Prince: Batman: Music from the Motion Picture". Q. London (35): 100. 
  9. ^ Pareles, Jon (August 24, 1989). "Prince's Personal Purple Soundtrack Side Trip". Rolling Stone. New York (559). 
  10. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (2004). "Prince". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 654–57. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (October 3, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved December 10, 2016. 
  12. ^ Matt Zoller Seitz [@mattzollerseitz] (October 8, 2016). "Watching Burton's BATMAN. Not a good film but many striking elements; like that it has full scenes, contrasting w/Nolan's trailer aesthetic" (Tweet). Retrieved October 19, 2016 – via Twitter. 
  13. ^ Matt Zoller Seitz [@mattzollerseitz] (October 8, 2016). "I wish Prince had directed at least one Batman movie. His BATMAN-themed videos are more psychologically perceptive than any of the films" (Tweet). Retrieved October 19, 2016 – via Twitter. 
  14. ^ Matt Zoller Seitz [@mattzollerseitz] (October 8, 2016). "Prince's songs for BATMAN suggest a goofy, perverse, sensuous, somewhat introverted Batman film that so far we've never gotten from anyone" (Tweet). Retrieved October 19, 2016 – via Twitter. 
  15. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman". Hung Medien.
  16. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman" (in German). Hung Medien.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  18. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  19. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman". Hung Medien.
  20. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman". Hung Medien.
  21. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman". Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Soundtrack / Prince – Batman". Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Batman (OST)". chartstats.com. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Batman: Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums" at AllMusic. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  25. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATION.
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Prince – Batman". Music Canada. 
  27. ^ "French album certifications – Prince – Batman" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  28. ^ https://www.infodisc.fr/Ventes_Albums_Tout_Temps.php?debut=550
  29. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Prince; 'Batman')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  30. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Prince – Batman" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  31. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Prince; 'Batman')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved June 2, 2018. 
  32. ^ "British album certifications – Prince – Batman". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Batman in the search field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Prince – Batman". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]