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This review is from: Batman (Audio CD)
This album starts so well: "The Future" is cold, stripped-down funk, sinister strings and a choir adding a darkness to the track. This is followed by "Electric Chair", an equally sinister track, plenty of electric guitar laid over the top towards the end, and it all works very well indeed.
The problem however is that whereas his previous albums had all been comparatively "real"-sounding, it was clear that much of "Batman" was made up of samples, so the strings, choir, and even several of the guitar parks were digitised, plus there are several sampled snippets of dialogue from the film peppered throughout. This is what spoils the album for me, because I know that Prince is better than that, and all in all it gives the album a cheap, almost done in a hurry air.
Of the remaining tracks, "Arms of Orion" is one of Prince's better ballads in my opinion, a sweet duet with Sheena Easton. "Partyman" is fairly naff (I once asked for it to be played at a party, and it cleared the floor - hardly a party anthem then!) "Vicky Waiting" is built around some sampled strings and is insubstantial. "Trust" is almost a companion to "Partyman", a jolly little thing which bounces along for a few minutes without doing anything remarkable.
"Lemon Crush" is a welcome return to the dark stuff we had heard at the start of the album, a sinister almost-rap with lots of guitar and multi-tracked vocals. It is one of the strongest tracks on the album. "Scandalous" is a good ballad, not as light as "Orion" and more jazz-inspired. Finally, "Batdance" sounded great at the time but now sounds a bit like a kid messing with a sampler. The best thing about the track must be Prince's guitar work, but the song itself is nothing special.
As an "inspired by the motion picture" album it is alright, but as a Prince album it is nothing special, aside from maybe four tracks. Worth a listen, but far from essential.