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Review of Batman The Animated Series Volume 2 Limited Edition Score

Batman The Animated Series

Volume 2:

BTAS Volume 2

On July 19, 2012 Lala Land Records released Batman: The Animated Series Volume 2 on a 4 Disc Set. You can order it here from their website. Price is $59.98. Volume 2 consists of four discs this time, with 184 tracks. The total running time for the set is 291:14. 

Discs Art:

BTAS V2 Discs Art

OH. MY. GOD. When LaLa Land Records announced this in 2012, I was flabbergasted! FOUR DISCS!! COUNT EM! FOUR!!! Since the time of my Music of the Bat Blog… I’ve gone back, and wanted to have separate reviews for these releases. I’ve already reviewed Volume 1. Volume 2 is a completely different monster, because it has 4 discs… I’m going to put the 3rd and 4th disc, along with my final thoughts on a page 2. Because this is such a massive set… one page just aint enough. I’m going to alsso include my original thoughts in italics, while writing new opinions as I’ve re listened to the set.

Disc 1:

Track 01: Batman The Animated Series Theme – Danny Elfman

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Tracks 02-12: Beware The Gray Ghost – Carl Swander Johnson

 Simply Amazing! I love this episode for several reasons. The number one reason is that Adam West is the voice of Simon Trent/The Gray Ghost, and reason number 2 is that the music is very grand!!!

Beware the Gray Ghost is one of the best BTAS episodes ever. Between Adam West voicing the Gray Ghost and such grand music… It’s definitely one of the most interesting episode. Plus we get to see that EVEN Batman has a hero. I think that’s what’s lacking in some superhero media. We see them being heroes to us, but in most origins we don’t see if they were ever fans of superheroes that came before them. My favorite tracks on this one are 1, 2, 3, and 5. Each has a very epic sound to them. Track 03: “Trent Meets Batman/Trent Runs” has a sinister feel to it in certain parts. Track 11: “Gray Ghost Suite” is also another favorite for it’s upbeat tempo and over arcing themes.

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Tracks 13-30: The Cat and the Claw Parts I and II – Harvey R. Cohen

 The Cat and the Claw, I like this as a Catwoman episode, but The Red Claw is just a crappy villainous. The music however makes up for the useless plot of the episode. I love some of the slower, softer tones in these tracks.

The Cat and the Claw was always a weird episode to me at times. I love the first track “The Catwoman” because it has a nice mystery to it, that adds to Catwoman’s character. Also love the tracks “Catwoman at Multigon H.Q./Cats in the Office” and “Batman Rescues Catwoman/Lovers or Enemies”. The latter track really shows the fun in Batman rescuing Catwoman, and then the way that they interact with each other. I think it was really cool that they worked in “Ode to Joy” in this episode, and hearing that on this soundtrack was a nice surprise. Also the “Introducing Red Claw” alternate was very intiguing. I like how the alternate takes are included here as well.

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Tracks 31-39; Nothing to Fear – Shirley Walker

A Scarecrow episode, I’ve never really enjoyed the scarecrow stuff. However the music is spectacular!!! Very upbeat and dramatically awesome.

Scarecrow has never been a favorite Bat Villain of mine. However the music in this episode is at times VEY Scary sounding. Which fits because it is the Scarecrow. The tones in “Machine Gun / The Scarecrow Arrives” are eerie, and mysterious. I know I use that word a lot, but can you blame me…? They craft very mysterious music for this series. It also has a few grand brass beats in it. I also always like when they manage to fit in the BTAS theme. Of course whenever Batman is on screen chasing a bad guy it plays, but it just amazes me how well the composition is to have it fit in. “Scarecrow’s Backstory” might be the creepiest track of all. Just the way the music is presented… upbeat, yet you know there’s something sinister behind it all.

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Tracks 40-49: Heart of Ice – Todd Hayen and Shirley Walker

Heart of Ice, the story that made Mr. Freeze something other then just a common criminal. The DCAU creators actually turned him into a sympathetic and tragic character. The music that goes along with this, is just outrageously awesome.  That title card music is eerie, and mysterious!!

Heart of Ice… the episode that made Mr. Freeze more than a common foe. The must enhances the episode so much! This one I’ll probably use the term heart wrenching a lot. Because that’s what this music is. It rips your heart out, because of Victor’s sad story. Of course this feeling is limited to this episode alone. The rest of Freeze’s appearances in the BTAS toon were kinda selfish and creepy at times. However this one is heart felt and interesting to say the least. Todd Hayden and Shirley Walker composed and executed the orchestra very well here.

Track 50: End Credits (Extended) – Danny Elfman

Disc 2:

Track 01: Main Title (Piano Version) – Danny Elfman and Shirley Walker

I love the Piano version of the theme by Elfman and Walker. So much different from the original theme, and it makes me feel as if BTAS could have been on the big screen every week!!! It makes the darkness in the original version fun and light. As well as adding different cues in there that fit so well.

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Tracks 02-10: Appointment in Crime Alley – Stuart Balcomb

This was the episode where Roland Daggett was gonna tear down the neighborhood where Crime alley is. As we all know Crime Alley is where Bruce’s parents were murdered. When watching the episode I always wanted to hear the score behind the dialogue and sound effects. Now that is here. And I’m not afraid to say it, just hearing the music makes me cry.

Appointment in Crime Alley…. Hearing this music again even after rewatching the episode still makes me cry. Such sad overtones in the music. Although the first track is very creepy. It opens the episode very well. That was the Sub Main Title I was talking about a moment ago. The next track in this episode is “Batman Drives to Crime Alley / Where Are We Going to Go?” and it starts off like great chase music! As we realize Batman is driving to Crime Alley. I love when music is added for the Batmobile scenes. Not that it was never there, but what I’m saying is that anytime Batman is in the Batmobile… it makes the music  even more epic! Tracks like “I’m Not Afraid Here” and “Good People in Crime Alley” are what adds to the emotional rollercoaster of this episode.

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Tracks 11-19: Mad as a Hatter – Harvey R. Cohen

The Mad Hatter is just awesome, and hearing the music that was behind his debut episode, was just as great.

Mad As A Hatter! This score is just plain fun. That’s all there is to it. Well that’s ALMOST all there is to it. There are dramatic moments in this score, but for the most part it’s very upbeat. That to me is such a good thing especially with such a dark cartoon. Even though Hatter is off his rocker… he is still very fun to watch. The music that Harvey R. Cohen gave to this episode was wonderfully crafted! My two favorite tracks from this are the main title track “Mad as a Hatter” and “Off With His Head/The Maze/Batman Comes to Tea”. I think I like the latter tack, because it twists the BTAS theme slightly in the beginning of it. Then it gets very diabolical. Overall some of Harvey R. Cohen’s best work!

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Tracks 20-25: The Strange Secret Of Bruce Wayne – Lolita Ritmanis

Psssssssssst Bruce Wayne is Batman… shhh.. don’t tell anyone! Because you have Dr. Hugo Strange, and three of Batman’s lead villains in this episode, the music will be epic right? Right! There are tons of loud booming dramatic moments, as well as some quiet eerie moments.

Dr. Hugo Strange has never been a Bat “Villain” I really felt one way or the other about. For me he’s a very mild reaction, when I realize he is behind something. I’d compare him to Mysterio from Marvel. With one exception… I always feel really jibbed when I find out that Mysterio is the big bad in a book. Take Kevin Smith’s Guardian Devil…. PLEASE!…. I read that thinking I was gonna love it… only to find out that it was a 4th rate marvel villain behind the whole damn thing. I don’t have such of a kneejerk reaction to Dr. Strange, but he isn’t one that I care to much about. however this episode was awesome, and the music that was put to it fit it like a Bat Glove!

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Tracks 26-34: I’ve Got Batman In My Basement – Shirley Walker and Carlos Rodriguez

The music for this episode seems like a cross between Joker and Penguin music, yet neither villain had anything to do with this one.

Hiding Batman in your basement is not the best thing in the world. However in Sherman’s case his friends do not believe him. This episode’s score is done by Shirley Walker & Carlos Rodriguez, and they do an amazing job setting up the characters of the episode. One of my favorite tracks from this episode’s score is “Batmobile Goes Bats/Sherman and the Batmobile” As a kid every boy wanted to DRIVE the Batmobile, or at least ride in it with Batman. So the track here depicts how the Batmobile has a mind of it’s own, and Sherman driving it as well. I also like “Penguin the Bully/Batman vs Penguin” Because we can never have enough music where it shows off Batman fighting the villains.

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Tracks 35-49: Feat of Clay Parts I and II – Jeff Atmajian

At first it’s the tragic story of Matt Hagen, becoming Clayface, then the dude just becomes evil. The music for this one has very subtle melodies, and is very suspenseful!

Ahh yes Clayface’s origin. With tracks like “Matt’s Make-Up”,  “Matt Finds the Formula”, and “Creation of Clayface” this episode’s score has a lot of great things about it in the music. Jeff Atmajian, Shirley Walker, and Carl Swander Johnson are the crafters on Part I of Feat of Clay. They do an excellent job with these themes. They are dark, brooding, and ominious all at the same time. Shirley handles the scoring on FEat of Clay Part II… a few of my favorite tracks afrom that are “Arrival at Imperial Pictures” and “Batman Confronts Clayface/The Matt Hagen Films” I always loved that scene in the video room. Where Batman uses Hagen’s advantage to his disadvantage.

Track 50: End Credits (Alternate Beginning) – Danny Elfman

Really dig these alternate takes on the BTAS theme. It’s always nice that they include and perserve these parts of Elfman’s music.

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