Here at Hymie’s we’ve always loved the idea of the lesser-known dance craze, and we’re surprised this next dance tune isn’t one you hear on the radio very often anymore. Actually, not so surprised.
Prince’s untimely passing coincided with a program by Warner Brothers to reissue his albums under their license, and as they work their way through his catalog chronologically they’ve hit a stumbling block with Batman, which is not exactly his most popular album anymore. Nevermind that the record was a colossal success when it was released in 1989 — it remains the most un-loved of several orphans in the Prince discography.
How does one do the “Batdance”? We’re not certain, and Prince’s music video for the song really only further confuses the matter. We do know for sure it is not the same as the legendary Batusi, as performed by Adam West.
“Batdance” is one of the most unusual Prince songs to become a hit. The track uses dialogue from the movie and seems entirely spliced together in the style of musique concrète. The album is probably the first (to that point) in Prince’s catalog to age poorly — Batman still feels like a record from 1989 where everything leading up to it has a magical, timeless quality. The record also marks the end of Prince’s paisley, psychedelic era and the dawning of a newer and darker image.
We’re not movie critics (hell, we’re hardly music critics) but the Batman film to which Prince contributed music feels like the only screen adaptation of the dark knight’s story which captures the comic book’s continuing creepiness. Prince, so recently on the national radar for his suggestive lyrics, really captured the weirdness of Tim Burton’s reimagination of the Bruce Wayne story.
So we love Batman because the album makes us feel like kids again. You know, unsure of the future and a little terrified but also curious.