Shanlian On Batman: Prince Tribute

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By John McGee

No matter what you were doing, you will probably remember where you were when the news hit you that Prince was found dead. I believe the 24 hour news cycles have beaten the possibilities endlessly. Rather than ponder the causes I’m here to talk about what his music meant to me as a Batman fan.

As a music fan, I was never deep into pop, but Prince’s impact on the genre and the way musicians go about the art, is certainly undeniable. He is one of the most unique talents in modern music. A man who wrote songs and sent them to other artists without taking any credit. A collaborator and a man who only wanted to express himself and further the art form. Although I know not much of his career, I admire the impact he’s obviously demonstrated.

As a Batman fan, I have been deeply moved by his work on Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989. I never would have imagined pop music in a Batman film, and after his work, I probably will not ever again. One of the themes in Burton’s film was outward image, which I’ll be calling the “false face.” Everyone in the film carried one. Bruce Wayne as Batman: Napier as Joker. In the 80s, image was everything; you had to look perfect. Burton made fun of that perspective several times throughout the film.

Prince’s music, however, served as an honest expression of himself. So for all the Elfman portion of the soundtrack we are imagining the dark and crazy world of Burton’s Batman. Then Prince puts it to words. It’s pop, certainly, but it actually served the same purpose, just with a real beat in a new manner. Imagine Elton John scoring a Spider Man movie, or Taylor Swift contributing to Wonder Woman. It was a pretty big deal to have such a big music name attached to such a big project, one that took half a lifetime for Michael Uslan to bring about.

Prince made great Batman songs because he effortlessly poured his heart into every project he took. Someone who cares that much after all the fame they’ve experienced is rare, and my respect for him and his hard work will never die.

RIP Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016

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