If there’s a comic book franchise that has simply taken all of us to the very depths of all things pop culture madness, it most certainly is the Batman franchise. As we’ve seen through the years, the world of Batman has been a roller coaster ride of ups, downs, highs, lows and Bat-nipples and cod pieces. Before Christopher Nolan magically revived the series nearly a decade (!) ago with Batman Begins, the franchise had seemingly drifted miles away from its original counterpart, 1989’s wonderful Tim Burton spun telling, simply titled, Batman. Mr.Burton followed in ’92 with Batman Returns, which was bashed by critics (on a personal note-“meow” all day. ), and met with a box office take that didn’t match its predecessor, which led to Burton leaving the director’s chair. (Sigh) After that, the franchise had been picked up by Joel Schumacher who ruined…errr…turned the franchise into a straight-off-the-pages live action comic book with both 95’s Batman Forever and ’97’s Batman & Robin, which were mercifully laced with cheesy dialogue, “wtf” plotlines and…..Arnold.
But, it’s not all shade when it comes to the hostile candy-coated Schumacher takeover. His casting of Ms. Uma as Poison Ivy in B&R was to die for (sorry, Alicia), and Batman Forever wasn’t that bad. (Except for Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian…we’re not buying any of those three titles.) While, yes, the film had plenty of overacting, thanks to Jim Carrey as The Riddler (riddle me yas.) and Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey/Two Face Dent. (That makeup…so even.) And of course, there was the brooding Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader who did all he could do with the dialogue he was given. Then there was Chris O’Donnell as Robin.
However, the best part of Batman Forever was that it was accompanied by a soundtrack that was–and still is–all wrapped up in music bliss. There wasn’t a music kid out there who didn’t own this CD and live their life to its Bruce Wayne inspired fullest. When the soundtrack was released 20 years ago, it spread its bat wings straight to the top 5 of the Billboard album chart, shooting out singles, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2, “Shake It Up” by The Offspring, and the soaring “Kiss From a Rose” from Seal, which just gobbled up countless Grammy Awards as well as taking over our lives for all of music eternity.
Besides the fiery single releases, the Batman Forever soundtrack also boasts some classically influential ’90s indie artists–Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, The Flaming Lips, Eddi Reader, Tracey Thorn, Massive Attack–as well as “Where Are You Now,” a track delivered by R&B songstress Brandy who was in between records and starring in Moesha at the time. Even dearly departed INXS front man, Michael Hutchence, pops up on the wistful,”The Passenger.”
While we don’t necessarily need to relive the actual movie, the music within certainly speaks for itself. Not since the original Prince-led ’89 Batman soundtrack has another musical offering from the Batman series gave us something to spread our music wings about. When it comes to any one of these Batman Forever tracks that Philly Mixtape has pulled out of the music Bat Cave for everyone, there certainly aren’t any riddles…..
Seal/”Kiss From a Rose”
U2/”Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”
Brandy/”Where Are You Now”
PJ Harvey/”One Time Too Many”
Eddi Reader/”Nobody Lives Without Love”
Massive Attack/Tracey Thorn/”Hunter Gets Captured by the Game”
The Offspring/”Smash It Up”
Michael Hutchence/”The Passenger”
The Flaming Lips/”Bad Days”
Nick Cave/”There is a Light”