Whether it be the comics or any of the Batman films new or old, when I think of The Dark Knight – I think of Seal’s, “Kiss From A Rose.” It’s a problem really… and I blame it on Joel Schumacher and his god-awful, ’90s, melodramatic camp-fest, Batman Forever. Growing up in the mid-90s “Kiss From A Rose” was on the radio constantly. Seal was on the rise and Batman Forever had just been released. It seems that in order to compensate for how horrible the film was, the studio felt it necessary to push this song – which was for some reason the theme tune for the movie… check out its Batman themed music video, I’m still trying to figure that one out – down our ear holes in what I can only guess was an attempt to sell compact discs and cassette tapes to make up for film losses.
I was a child at the time, and I hated sleeping in silence, so every night when I went to bed my mother would come in, turn on my radio, and I would doze off listening to “Delilah…Light, 102.5″. Each night around the time of the film’s release (and years following), good ol’ Delilah would have this song played an upwards of at least 5 times an hour, each time with some corny sound-byte from the film before. Each sound-byte would feature Val Kilmer or Chris O’Donnell saying some melodramatic monologue or something. Delilah did this with Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” too, “Jack… i’ll never let go!” but that’s another rant for another time.
I think hearing these sound bites before the song every night conditioned me through some sleep osmosis effect to think of “Kiss From A Rose” whenever I see Batman. This Seal-Batman disorder (I’m sure there are others out there like me… we should start a support group) makes it impossible for me to enjoy a serious moment in a Batman film. When Bruce Wayne’s parents are killed in Batman Begins (oops, spoiler) I can’t help but see Seal’s beautiful face shouting “BABY! I COMPARE YOU TO A KISS FROM A ROSE ON THE GRAY.” Even most recently when the super dark Batman V Superman trailer was released, I couldn’t help but hear the line “Now that your rose is in bloom/A light hits the gloom on the gray.” It’s tragic.
To be fair – Seal’s song is not really bad. It’s more of the baggage that comes with it. It is a truly well written song, with poetic lyrics, and solid musical orchestration. I have to give props to any musician who can write a chorus that will get stuck in your head for weeks just after one listen, and because of this inert catchiness, the song has truly transcended into folklore (some may say pop culture), with individuals like Jack Black and Aziz Ansari creating comedy acts based off the song. It should also be noted that Seal is an incredible vocalist and there are several parts on this song where his voice really shines. Truthfully, I like the song – I still have no idea what it has to do with Batman… unless “the gray” is code for Val’s bat nipples – but I can enjoy the track for what it is.
This toned down live version is really good.