10 Songs From 'Batman' Soundtracks You Probably Forgot About

Features
by Drew Taylor
July 18, 2012 12:01 PM
21 Comments
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R. Kelly, "Gotham City" from "Batman & Robin"
Only R. Kelly can turn a song about a city full of deformed freakshows and masked vigilantes into a very-nearly gospel song, full of easily digestible spiritual uplift and a chant-along chorus. (A more-further-removed-from-Batman remix version, which featured a lot more references to "the ghetto, ghetto," appeared on Kelly's needlessly self-indulgent 1998 double-album R.) What's so amazing about "Gotham City" is how you do genuinely get caught up in the song's blindingly positive message, even though everything you've been shown thus far has suggested that Gotham is not "a city of justice, a city of love, a city of peace," as Kelly so emphatically croons. It's nice to have a little R&B back in the Batman soundtracks, though. Sing it Kels!

Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Face to Face" from "Batman Returns"
"Batman Returns" is sorely lacking in the pop music department, mostly because of Burton's outrage at his forced usage of the Prince songs for the first film. But that doesn't mean there isn't at least one memorable pop music moment, and it comes courtesy of eighties art-pop sensations Siouxsie and the Banshees. The song, "Face to Face," was co-written by Danny Elfman, which is kind of incredible given the amount of music he wrote for the film (about double the normal amount of music for a typical film). The song plays over the masquerade ball hosted by Christopher Walken's character, which Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) and Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfieffer) mistake for being a black-tie dinner. Alternate versions of the song were released, including a more pop-friendly version with an Elfman-penned chorus and a club mix (by big beat pioneers 808 State). It's just as good as anything on the Prince album.

U2, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" from "Batman Forever"
Produced by No Doubt stalwart Nellee Hooper and featuring a wholly animated music video (with animated versions of U2's ZooTV personas), "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" is a jangly glam-rock ditty that perfectly captures the anarchic spirit of Gotham City (much better than, say, "Gotham City"). Originally conceived during the Zooropa sessions (it does have that reverb-y feel of some of those songs, most notably "Numb"), it was a big hit for the album, if not the critics (it was nominated for the Razzie for Worst Original Song, unsurprisingly losing to a track from "Showgirls"). The song is a whole lot of fun to this day, and was resurrected for the band's live show during the 2010 U2 360 Tour (which we feel like is still going on somewhere). As a kid we also loved the comic book-y single sleeve. So there's that, too.

Smashing Pumpkins, "The End is the Beginning is the End" from "Batman & Robin"
It's interesting to think that "The End is the Beginning is the End," a rollicking Smashing Pumpkins track from "Batman & Robin," was some of the first new Smashing Pumpkins material to come out after the blockbuster success of their era-defining double-album Melon Collie & the Infinite Sadness. It kind of makes it even more impressive. Featuring predominantly electronic elements (foreshadowing the direction the band would go in with their next album, the unfairly ignored Adore), the song mixes Billy Corgan's dreamy lyrics (what exactly is a "crystal crow"?) with a propulsive beat and a gnarled, shredding guitar. (A more down-tempo variation, "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" also accompanied the album.) It's a far more intellectual and deeply felt piece of pop song-craft than you would expect for a movie that features Arnold Schwarzenegger spouting ice puns.

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21 Comments

  • Sasquatch | July 25, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    I prefer "The Beginning is the End is the Beginning" rather than "The End is the Beginning is the End"

  • crossing the river | July 19, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    Actually, "The Future" is played during the casino scene.

  • Holden | July 19, 2012 6:49 AMReply

    Underworld - Moaner (Batman & Robin)

  • Sam | July 18, 2012 10:32 PMReply

    half of these are songs i immediately think of when people say Songs from a Batman Soundtrack. you failed.

  • Dryer | July 18, 2012 2:55 PMReply

    I still laugh thinking about when I was 9 blasting the '89 soundtrack cassette on my parents stereo system and singing along. But one particular song Bat Dance I was completely oblivious to the induendo lyric, let me stick the 7" in your computer. Today kids would probably would pick up on it right away. The soundtrack surprisingly still holds up today, have "Vickie Waiting" on my iPod.

  • Gabe Toro | July 18, 2012 2:40 PMReply

    R. Kelly's "Gotham City" is the greatest thing to ever happen to Batman.

  • Jonathan | July 18, 2012 2:12 PMReply

    What, no Sunny Day Real Estate!? That Batman Forever soundtrack was the greatest thing in the world in 1995. And how could anyone ever forget that "Kiss From A Rose" was on a Batman soundtrack. The music video is burned into my brain.

  • cirkusfolk | July 18, 2012 1:35 PMReply

    It's amazing that U2's song got nomed for a Razzie when it was also nomed for a Golden Globe. Now it didn't get an Oscar nom but imo opinion should've won one. It's an awesome mix of rock/electronic with some cool orchestration and great Bono vocals. Also samples a riff from T. Rex which is a plus.

  • The Playlist | July 18, 2012 3:48 PM

    +1 Fred.

  • Fred | July 18, 2012 1:49 PM

    I can believe it. Such a godawful song.

  • JD | July 18, 2012 1:26 PMReply

    "The Future" actually is in the first Burton Batman--it's in the opening scenes, playing faintly in the background as the family walks through the streets of Gotham City, as if it's on a radio or something.

    And yeah, Prince's Batman album deserves a lot more respect. : )

  • no@youdidnt.com | July 18, 2012 1:21 PMReply

    "eye" the smashing pumpkins song they contributed to the david lynch film "lost highway" is actually the first song they recorded after MCIS not the batman song

  • Marko | July 18, 2012 12:52 PMReply

    For a really forgotten pop song from a Batman soundtrack, there's "I Never Even Told You" by Tia Carrere from the Mask of the Phantasm soundtrack.

    Of course that song is terrible.

  • juicebox | July 18, 2012 12:28 PMReply

    While I appreciate its inclusion, I would disagree that people don't associate "Kiss From A Rose" with Batman Forever... I remember it being such a weird match as to be unforgettable.

  • Jesse | July 18, 2012 3:32 PM

    That song is the only thing most people remember from that film. In fact, the other day when I brought it up, a friend of mine replied with 'is that the movie with Seal?'

  • Rodrigo at The Playlist | July 18, 2012 12:25 PMReply

    I fucking loathe all these songs and most of these movies. Take that as evidence that we're not a hive mind and our writers have their own say.

  • rotch | July 18, 2012 12:20 PMReply

    great piece, but the headline is not accurate. as you well say, 'kiss from a rose' is far from forgotten, as are most of the tracks. 10 Songs From 'Batman' Soundtracks You Probably Forgot Where From 'Batman' Soundtracks seems more accurate.

  • cirkusfolk | July 18, 2012 12:17 PMReply

    Really cool piece. I love both Partyman and Trust which I felt were always better than the single Batdance. I'm also glad u included the Pumpkins track although I vastly prefer the slow version which we used on the trailer to Watchmen.

  • Katie Walsh | July 18, 2012 12:15 PMReply

    The Batman Forever soundtrack is the first CD I bought. True Story. Also probably still my fave Batman movie-- saw it at a very impressionable age. CALL ME WHEN TDKR FEATURES CHRIS O'DONNELL'S ROBIN CODPIECE.

  • Arthur | July 18, 2012 3:43 PM

    Ha ha! I love it how this post made the Staff all nerdy and sweet instead of.. you know, mean.

  • Katie Walsh | July 18, 2012 12:16 PM

    Someone ban me from commenting on Batman posts.

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