389: Scandalous

Batman (1989) / Scandalous Sex Suite (1989)
In the pantheon of Prince ballads Scandalous would be the Mercurial trickster god. As a pre-existing song it used Tim Burton’s Batman as a host, worming its way into the end credits and sections of Danny Elfman’s score, before ditching its Batman / Vicki Vale allusions and fleeing with its lead actress, to became the last Prince release of the eighties and the first of his run of maxi-singles – a 19 minute soft-porn tête-à-tête with Kim Basinger called Scandalous Sex Suite. Which, according to legend, was a recording session that got so out of hand that the engineer decided to leave them to it after a jar of honey got introduced. Not shy of cliche, the suite (consisting of three tracks called The Crime, The Passion and The Rapture, but all faithful variations of Scandalous) starts with a doorbell and Prince beckoning Kim in, and then plays out slow-motion like an underwater dream sequence. The cold space between the sparse Linn drum filled with enticing string vespers and late-night movie sax. The blue movie dialogue subsides for The Rapture, replaced with guitar (Prince) and groans (Kim), and after the climax, worried that the subtle innuendo may be lost, Prince follows it up with a song entitled simply Sex. The end result, besides a sticky mixing desk and a groan that would be sampled and looped on 1993’s Peach, was an exquisite, cinematic suite of audio erotica, a couple of age classifications removed from Batman’s PG-13.