If you thought the Batman Forever soundtrack was uneven, wait till you get a load of this one...
Believe it or not, this OST starts off really well with a Smashing Pumpkins song that, regardless of whether you like the band of not, you gotta admit is pretty darn cool. It's the usual moody, high-pitched angst we expect from the Pumpkins but "The End Is The Beginning Is The End" is definitely worth a listen. It's actually so good there's two versions of it on the album, the slower "The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning" (what's with the silly titles, you guys?) ending the soundtrack in style.
In between you get the usual mix of teen-friendly rock and hip-hop/R&B.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Look Into My Eyes" is a catchy effort and strangely, I quite like it. R. Kelly's "Gotham City" is fine, I guess, if you like that sort of syrupy ballad but frankly if you're gonna sing about Gotham City choose something a little less hopeful and chilled out: THAT CITY SUCKS. Did you not watch ANY of the Batman flicks ever made?
Arkana's "House On Fire" follows R. Kelly and I don't really know what to say about it except that it's got a better bridge/chorus combo than it does have great music. It has its moments but it's just over-produced and ends up being pretty forgettable on the whole.
R.E.M. may not exactly scream "Batman" but their "Revolution" is a good song with a chorus punkier than we're used to from the usually mellow band. Really like that one. Good to see R.E.M. show some attitude. It's just a shame the song is followed by Jewel's "Foolish Games", a solo corny enough to be entertaining in a wave-your-arms-from-side-to-side kind of way but which completely blocks the energy built up in the previous song. Oh well. Not to worry: The Goo Goo Dolls are next. Yes, teen rock angst is back and it's actually a breath of fresh air to see it back! "Lazy Eye" is by no means a ground-breaking song but it does the job. If you fell asleep to the sound of Jewel's soothing voice and sorrowful tones then this is a good one to wake up to.
You've got some pop in there with Lauren Christy's "Breed" which I rather liked up until the annoying chorus. Talk about missing out on a solid pop song... God I hate that sub-Avril Lavigne chorus. Not sure what to make of Soul Coughing's near-Raga tune "The Bug" which is pretty entertaining thanks to a hypnotic beat but it just sticks out like a sore thumb. I don't get why that song is in a Batman album. Same goes for Moloko's "Fun For Me", an ok song if you like that sort of thing (I REALLY don't), but unless it's meant to be Batgirl's theme it's basically filler. Speaking of themes, Poison Ivy's is next. Meshell Ndegeocello's aptly named "Poison Ivy" at least sticks to the movie with lyrics actually relating to the character at hand. Neo-soul is so not my thing though so forgive me if I admit that this is one of the ones I usually skip.
I also tend to skip Eric Benet's "True To Myself".
Because it's ass.
Thankfully, they throw in some Elliot Goldenthal in there to "Bat" things up a little because at this point in the album you would be forgiven for thinking you were listening to the Felicity OST. His Overture is as good as it was in Batman Forever and although his theme will never reach the iconic heights of Danny Elfman's classic score, it's still a damn good hero theme by any standards. Oddly, it is followed by Underworld's "Moaner", an electro tune destined to be played super loud in super packed sweaty-ass clubs but seeing as it's 10 minutes long and you're not in a club, you're on the bus listening to a shitty movie's soundtrack, you'll be skipping that one about halfway through. A shame because it's actually quite decent as an electro/techno outing.
As you can see this is another one of those uneven, commercial Batman OSTs aimed at undemanding teens. Yes there is some good stuff in there but I just wish these soundtracks would pick a tone. I know they're trying to appeal to everyone but what's the point? All that does is give people a third of an album they kinda like rather than a full album they can get behind.
Is it better than the Batman Forever soundtrack? Not really.
Is it worse? Not really.
You get pretty much the same amount of bland and decent in both so what I suggest is pick your favourite songs from each album, throw away the rest, put your choices together and make up your own album. You'll be better off.
Hey, it could have been worse: the soundtrack could have been as "good" as the movie...