292: Batdance

Batman (1989)
The first record I ever bought was Jive Bunny’s Swing the Mood, a child-friendly medley of jitterbug-era hits. This oft-ridiculed chart-topper imprinted in me a deep love of cut-and-paste culture and became the cartoon rabbit-hole that eventually led me into the underground world of Double Dee & Steinski, Coldcut and Cut Chemist. A world where eclectic sound-collages battled over a hip-hop beat. For a while I started to create my own cut-ups and one even made it onto national radio. They were my thing. Chicken soup for my restless soul. Batdance was released in the same month as Swing the Mood but until now I never considered it to be part of the cut-and-paste genre. In essence though that’s exactly what it is, only the samples are sourced a lot closer to home. Prince’s 1995 release Purple Medley follows all the rules of a standard megamix – a weaving together of the hits à la Jive Bunny – but Batdance is a cut-up masterpiece in the mould of Steinski; a shredded hodge-podge of film dialogue, previous songs and soundboard off-cuts. We Got The Power, The Future, Electric Chair, 200 Balloons and Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic get thrown into the potpourri of Gotham funk and for the only time on the album the guitars are let loose with impunity. Despite being left off compilations due to licensing issues, this three-part sampler symphony is one of Prince’s most well-known songs and possibly his most atypical; an impressive claim considering the diversity of his output. If Batman was fully soundtracked with this cinematic experimentation in place of recycled songs joking about the size of his “organ”, then the resulting album could have been a Burton-esque Lovesexy, instead of becoming a Shaun of the Dead punchline.