by Christopher Coleman
When I was a kid, I remember playing Spiderman outside with
my friends and singing ďSpiderman.
whatever a spider can. Spins
a web, any size. Catches
thieves just like flies. Look
out! There goes a
Spiderman!Ē My how superhero music has changed.
The cool, jazzy, big band sound for superheroes is long gone.
Go for a walk on the Saturday- Morning- Cartoon- wild-
side with the music from Batman Beyond.
This CD compilation from Rhino Records has some pretty edgy stuff
and if you arenít in just the right mood, youíll be popping this CD
right back out. On the other
hand, if you are preparing for some extreme-sports activity, kick boxing,
or maybe rugby, this CD is chalk full of audio-steroids.
Kristopher Carter, Shirley Walker, Michael McCuistion, Lolita
Ritmanis combine to deliver a grungy, electronica smorgy.
It is hard to imagine Shirley Walker and company producing such rough
stuff after hearing their work for the Batman and Superman animated
series, yet here it is.
If you liked the high adrenaline soundtrack compilation to The
Matrix, then some of this music is right up your alley.
(See track 9, Batmanís First Fight).
The majority of the tracks are of the heavy metal
variety. The main title by
Carter sets the tone for the CD with its driving rhythms and flailing
guitars. These traits mark all of the tracks by Carter (Bat-Slapped in
Store, Batman Beats Chappel, Batman Chases Inque, Inque Escapes).
Somewhere among all of the electronic mayhem are, I think, traces
of the theme from immediate predecessor to this animated series.
By far the best, most listenable tracks, for those of
us who arenít playing this CD while running around the house play-acting
as Batman, are the mellower. Farewells
(Track 4) is actually pretty nice. It
contains a palette of strings, piano, synth-voices, a bit softer guitar
accents, and subtle e-percussions. Track 10, The Legacy Continues is also
an oasis with its soft guitar and synths and mellow rhythms. Only at the
very end of the of this track does it turn a bit more suspenseful, if not
sinister. The last of the
truly listenable tracks is track 29, Move to the Groove.
This piece is more of the Indie-dance variety than anything else.
It does contain the ever present guitars, but the lead instruments
are really the sitar and mandolin.
Given the cartoon this music was composed for and the
audience, I have to say the music fits.
However, I donít see too many kids outside on a Saturday
afternoon head banging as they play superheroes.
Maybe the big band will make a comeback for our favorite comic book
heroes sometime soon!