Thursday, August 31, 2006

Remembrance of Videos Past #9: Prince, "Batdance"

What you don't know about 1989 unless you lived during it is how big the Batman motion picture was. The poster simply had the Batman symbol and the release date. Just like there was a comedy boom in the '80's, there was a boom of direct market comic stores in the late '80's. In the months preceding the Batman film, everyone went to comic stores. Scott Jarzombek the 12-year old rock snob in my seventh grade class sneered at Batman and recommended V for Vendetta, which I read in comic book form and liked.

While I was waiting for the film - while we all were waiting for the film - even Scott, who came out of the closet and admitted he wanted to see Batman - we had Prince's "Batdance."

In 1989, Prince was a has-been. Nobody appreciated his virtuosity and virtually none of the college rock kids would come to his defense. Scott sure didn't. I'm not even sure if "Batdance" is a great song. It was more of a rhythmic six minute trailer for the movie. Only one other person - who was also named Prince (Prince Paul)- would fit so many samples into a song. For the first time you could quote the movie before you saw it.

At the beginning, I thought he said "Shut the fuck up" (he says "Get the funk up"). There is one beginning, one end, and a quadrillion middles to this song. One second it's a slinky r&b tune, next second there's a proto-house bass line.

I ended up liking the movie in the theater, though I only saw it once again after its release. Perhaps it didn't live up to the hype. Nothing can live up to hype like this.

(courtesy of babel17a)


Cibbuano said...

man, I remember the fervor over this song... it seems gaudy and ridiculous now, though...

Mo! said...

It was ridiculous then. But as our friend Jesse Thorn would say, soooooo New Sincerity.