After an upsetting reminder that Prince hated rappers in the late-80’s, we’re back to Slow Jam Week. Three of the past five days have been first ballot Hall of Fame Prince slow jams. Today’s Daily Prince post celebrates the unofficial love/sex theme from the 1989 Batman soundtrack, “Scandalous.”
I have mixed feelings about Batman. The album went double-platinum and was a smash hit. In my humble opinion, it’s also the worst Prince album since his debut. That’s not to say that it’s not good. I’m saying that Prince set the bar so high for himself that it became difficult for even him to clear it. So, when he did something as experimental as writing the entire soundtrack for a superhero movie, it didn’t reach the level of work like Purple Rain or Sign O’ the Times. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some amazing work on Batman.
One of those amazing songs is “Scandalous.” Sexier than “Adore” but more grown up than early slow jams like “Do Me, Baby.” The previously mentioned songs are intense despite their slow tempo. “Scandalous” is a slow burn. What you hear in the first five seconds of “Scandalous” is what you get for six straight minutes. Prince’s falsetto is in peak form, as always. Just lay back, chill, and enjoy the ride on this track.
Is six minutes not enough for you? Try The Scandalous Sex Suite. That’s really just a more name for the “Scandalous” 12″ single. I was in downtown Chicago last fall and made my usual stop at Reckless Records. They shocked the hell out of me by having a copy of it. The sleeve is beat up, but the record is in solid condition, so of course I bought it. What you get with the 12″ single is the song “Scandalous” broken in to three parts; The Crime, The Passion, and The Rapture. Combined they’re nearly 20 minutes long. When you listen to it what you really get is “Scandalous” for 20 minutes with a lot of Eric Leeds saxophone – which is never a bad thing – and a lot of what sounds like Kim Basinger being pleasured. I think “Scandalous” is a great song, but 20 minutes is pushing it. Plus, Prince was big on sex audio on his tracks – “Lady Cab Driver” and “Do Me, Baby” – but whenever I hear it I’m like, “OK, I get it. You’re both enjoying yourselves. Get back to the funk.” I think the six-minute version from the Batman soundtrack is plenty. The B-side of The Scandalous Sex Suite has a track bluntly called “Sex.” See how he worked both song titles in to the name of the suite? He should’ve done that for other singles. Let’s Go Crazy in Erotic City or When Doves Cry for 17 Days. She’s Always in My Hair like a Raspberry Beret. OK, I see now that’s a terrible idea and he was wise not to do it.
Again, this is three of Prince’s best slow jams in the past five days. Where do we go from here? The cupboard full of Prince ballads is far from bare, but I’ve already burned through three of the best of them. Hopefully we’ll end up with something funky again tomorrow. I give “Scandalous” 3 out of 5 stars.