Picks and Pans Review: Batman

UPDATED 07/31/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/31/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT

Prince

The movie is just the beginning. Then you have to wade through the flood of related merchandise—the clothing, posters, toys, lunch boxes, even two sound tracks. So to help you budget your Bat dollars, let us tell you: This is the Bar album to get.

Like Prince's fireworks-filled Purple Rain, it's not a sound track in the usual sense (which is what the other Batman album is). His Badness is constitutionally incapable of creating incidental music. His rhythmic genius, his obsessively Manichaean lyrical stance and his ego wouldn't allow him to play background music if his life depended on it. Here, the salty little devil has managed to come up with nine admirably kinetic songs that cleave to the film's theme in a creative fashion.

The tracks are linked to Batman characters. Bruce Wayne gets the swaying soul of "Vicki Waiting." His alter ego, the cowled crusader, gets the incantatory funk of "The Future" and the seething ballad "Scandalous." Bruce's new running mate, Vicki Vale, gets the boiling rocker "Lemon Crush," while Bruce and Vicki duet (Sheena Easton adds a guest vocal) on the longing love song, "The Arms of Orion." The most electrifying song, fittingly, is the Joker's. "Electric Chair" is a sizzling slice of sexual attraction: "Your face looked so good/ I wanted to touch your mouth/My brain is jackin' all over the place." The whole cast unites on the capstone, "Batdance," which is both hallucinatory and visceral. "Get the funk up," indeed. In Batman, Prince found a morality play worthy of his twisted talents. (Warner Bros.)

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