10) Batman - Prince
Anyone who knows me know that I'm a huge Prince fan. This album started it all.
The funny thing about this album is the ridicule it gets- some rightfully so, some not. Let's just go ahead and get "Batdance" out of the way right now, shall we? Yeah, it's cheesy as hell. Yes, it's FULL of samples of dialogue from the movie, which, if we're going to be honest, weren't the best to begin with. At the same time, though, it has one of the most badass Prince guitar solos EVER. And that "skinny m**********r with the high voice" (his words, not mine) has a lot of them. Hell, one song on the album, "Electric Chair" is basically a series of guitar solos bridged by verses. It's badass. Look it up. Oh wait, you can't, because Prince's shit isn't anywhere online. I guess you're just gonna have to trust me. Or come over and drink beer and liquor and listen to it with me. What's that? You'll take my word for it? Go figure. "EC" also features my absolute favorite song lyric of all time- "If a man is considered guilty for what goes on in his mind, give me the electric chair for all my future crimes". Hey, for the androgynous Prince, that's pretty bad ass. There's some other rad stuff on the album- "Partyman", which had a bonkers music video where Prince, dressed in his half-Batman, half-Joker character Gemini (who was introduced in the "Batdance" video) and his band plays a posh party in what looks like the museum where Joker and Vicki Vale meet in the movie, and then Gemini poisons the liquor the partygoers are drinking and they all die. It's fantastic!
That reminds me- Prince did something extra weird for this album. Each song is supposed to be "sung" by different characters from the movie. For example, the aforementioned "Electric Chair", according to the liner notes, features lead vocals by the Joker. Is Jack Nicholson singing? Hell no. Sounds just like Prince. What about "Vicki Waiting", which has lead vox by Bruce Wayne? I mean, of course Jack Nicholson wouldn't sing a song. That would be just silly to expect. Michael Keaton, though- he's a bit of a character, so I bet he'd give it a shot. What's that? It's still just Prince singing? Weird. Well, I mean, "Lemon Crush" is sung by Vicki Vale, and Kim Basinger made an album with Prince around the same time (look it up, it's creepy as hell), so she obviously sang this, right? OK, this is just getting confusing. You mean to tell me it's just Prince again? Fuckin' Prince. Then you get to "Batdance", and it's the only one that isn't misleading. "Vocals by the Joker, Gemini, Vicki Vale, Bruce Wayne, & Batman". Oh, and that's the other thing- Prince doesn't actually claim (except for in small print) to sing on the album at all. Actually, that's not true; he has two lines, and they're (go figure) on "Batdance". He gets to say the quizzical line "Hey Duckie, lemme stick the seven-inch into the computer", and then gets the final word in the song, "Stop." There's lots of Gemini vocals, though. He's never really spoken on it, but I'm guessing that since the songs took place in the world of the movie, Prince himself needed an alter-ego, and decided to go all chaotic-neutral up in this piece.
It's not his best album by a long shot, but it's better than most remember, and it's certainly better than anything he's done in the last fifteen years at least.
I remember being 8, and listening to the radio on a random Saturday morning. I don't think I was listening to hear anything in particular (truth be told, it might've been to hear a New Kids on the Block song), and I remember hearing Martika's "Toy Soldiers" which I thought was catchy even as a child (and you probably are thinking about it for the first time in twenty years right now- you're welcome), and then hearing this completely batshit (no pun intended, but completely intended at the same time) song (Batdance). I had Batman fever already (even though my parents wouldn't let me see it because it was PG-13... and then got it for me for Christmas... weird.) and this song tapped into some strange part of my brain. I couldn't hear it enough. Bought the cassette single (which had the AWESOME b-side, "200 Balloons", which, in a story I won't bore you with, is the basis for "Batdance", and features even MORE AWESOME GUITAR). I must've listened to it a million times. Then one day, it was in the garbage, in a story too whatever to recount. Not long after, I got the album from the library and was blown away. As an eight-year-old, I didn't understand a lot of what was being sung about, but it just sounded so cool, and so beyond everything I had heard up until that point. I kinda stopped paying attention to Prince around then (probably for the best, "Graffiti Bridge" came out not long after that, and the less said about that, the better). The seed lay dormant until I got a job at the record store ten years later, and got to work with some really awesome people who pointed out the good shit almost immediately. Haven't looked back since.
And for those of you who still won't shut the hell up about the assless chaps? I can burn you a cd of some good shit that he hasn't even released that will make you forget about those forever.
Prince is the man.