Despite All Logic, The Original Batman Soundtracks are Actually Pretty Okay
Credit to the pride of Minnesota, Prince, for nailing it right out of the gate: Few Batman fans of the right age can hear his infectious "Partyman" and not envision Nicholson-as-Joker destructively "broadening his mind" with a purple paintbrush in the Gotham art gallery, goofily dancing to Prince's funky awesomeness, the devilish grin permanently fixed to his face.
It's a great song from a great soundtrack--one that set a trend which has remained, despite this author's best efforts, entirely unexplainable. For the most part, the Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney Batman films were abysmal failures, completely overshadowed by Christopher Nolan's serious, stellar efforts. But now that everyone is having a fit over Ben Affleck being named the new Batman, it pays to remind ourselves that, even if the film sucks, the soundtrack might be surprisingly great.
Case in point: the way-better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be Batman Forever soundtrack,
That one includes Sunny Day Real Estate's "8," a heaping serving of angry post-punk or proto-emo or whatever title you'd like to saddle them with. If goofy psychedelia is more your scene, there's the Flaming Lip's still-quite-awesome "Bad Days," from back in the days before Wayne Coyne became an insufferable caricature. And while if it's not Tical-level outstanding, even Method Man's "The Riddler" is worthwhile and fun, released just two fucking years after Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers.)
And though the proper soundtrack was just a Danny Elfman score, we can even give a nod to Batman Returns for the altogether brooding, goth-y Siouxsie and the Banshee's track, "Face to Face," used as a promo track for the film--it's still worth a re-listen for its own merits.
Even the truly terrible Batman and Robin supplied a few gems, notably Soul Coughing's pre-El Oso effort, "The Bug," where Mike Doughty's fractured, hip-hop-y brand of electronica propels forward infectiously--you can practically hear the industrial piercings jiggling around in this song.