A lot of people will probably give me flack for a couple things in this article. The first is that I’ve chosen a song from a movie that is not in honor of “The Avengers” because this movie is based on a DC comic superhero. The other is that it’s not even that movie’s most memorable song.
The movie in question is Batman Forever, the 1995 film that dropped Michael Keaton as the titular Bruce Wayne in (the unfortunate) favor of Val Kilmer. Director Tim Burton also didn’t return for a third time, with Warner Bros. going ahead with the (even more unfortunate) start of a Joel Schumacher double helm that effectively put the dark knight out of movie memory until 2005’s reboot from Christopher Nolan.
Being a ’90s kid, I remember seeing Batman Forever in theaters more in admiration of its depiction of its villains than its superheroes (which saw Chris O’Donnell sport Robin’s spandex). For all its kooky comic glory, Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face was quirkily demented for the material, and Jim Carrey got to be his manic self in what seemed like perfect casting as The Riddler. Most memorable, though? Batman Forever‘s soundtrack, which was probably the best thing to come out of that movie when I left the theater (along with an empty bag of Butterfinger BBs).
While I would love to write about Seal’s biggest contribution to modern music that became bigger than the movie itself, “Kiss from a Rose,” I wanted to instead write about The Flaming Lips’ “Bad Days,” which appears for all of 1.5 minutes in the film and is the last track on the soundtrack, but is a prime example of how to use modern music to emphasize characters, settings, or what have you. Coming off the heels of their breakthrough single “She Don’t Use Jelly” and appearing on the tail end of the highly-underrated Clouds Taste Metallic, the lucid-dream-like instrumentals and Wanye Coyne’s literal lyrics apply directly to The Riddler before he completely consumes himself into the alter ego, as if this is the song to score Edward Nigma’s Rocky-inspired montage that will show him fitting nicely into a confident, maligned evil-doer.
Also the song was a recent pickup for Record Store Day ahead of this fall’s intended 20th Anniversary reissue of Clouds Taste Metallic, so this write-up is appropriate for this site. Watch the music video below, and below that, the scene from Batman Forever which the song appears.