Batman The Animated Series:
BTAS was groundbreaking, innovative, and revolutionary. So much so that it is well loved to this day, 20 + years after it’s release. La La Land Records released Batman The Animated Series 2 CD Set wayyy back in 2008, and here’s TFG1Mike’s full review of it.
Batman The Animated Series Volume 1 consists of 2 discs and 71 tracks, for a total running time for each disc is:
Total Time Disc One: 76:05
Total Time Disc Two: 74:02
Sadly this was a limited edition run of 3,000 copies when it came out in 2008. Since I wrote up my Music of the Bat post a few years ago, I could only find the rerelease of this disc set on ebay. With the rerelease Lala Land did a few years back they included everything except Gotham City Overture and Music of the Bat 101. I’m glad I was able to get in on the ground floor when this release initially happened, and I have the original release. Who knows maybe La La Land will put out a huge giant Batman TAS box set when they get through all the disc releases.
So I’m going to be reviewing this from the original release. Disc one starts out with Gotham City Overture, and Batman The Animated Series Main Title, after that, there are multiple tracks from the following BTAS Episodes:
Gotham City Overture is amazing, and we all know the BTAS Main Title is epic. What I love about the Overture track is that it combines multiple BTAS themes from many different parts of the series. It’s a great starting point to this score.
On Leather Wings
Tracks 3-8 are all about being “On Leather Wings” Track 3: “On Leather Wings – Sub-Main Title / Batwing / Bat Attack” is just amazing. It starts off very dark, and then there are a few light tones in it. This first episode of the series has never been one of my top favorites, but the music in this is so well done. It’s like you are listening to a mystery build and build. The excitement jumps p to level ten after awhile. Track 4: “On Leather Wings – Batman Drives to Gotham” is so awesome it reminds me of the Burton film so much. That is a good thing considering that BTAS stemed from the 1989 Batman film. But hearing the score here, reminds me of the driving scene in the film when Batman is taking Vicki Vale back to the BatCave. Any time Batman Escapes or flies I love how Walker and company elevate the music. In Track 6: “On Leather Wings – Batman Escapes /Batman Flies” Shirley adds in several uplifting beats as Batman Escapes and flies through the night. My favorite tracks from this episode are 3,4,6, and 7. They all have such a Batman feel… if that makes any sense. You can clearly hear the Batman themes throughout these tracks, and Walker crafts themes just for this incarnation of Batman.
The Last Laugh
The Last Laugh is tracks 9 through 15. They are all fantastic. I think my overall favorite is Track 9, which is the sub main title of the episode. The coolest music was always given to The Joker and Batman. I mean lets face it they are the two core characters in the Batman Universe. They are each other’s own worst enemy. Batman the hero Joker the villain. It’s as classic as Apple Pie and Baseball. Track 14: “The Last Laugh – Batman the Terminator” has so great cues in it. An overall very enjoyable track to listen to. It has part of that sub main title, and high action sounds as well. Shirley Walker has composed very entertaining elements to the Batman and Joker themes…. which are all shown off in the final track for this episode. Track 15: “The Last Laugh – Batman vs. Joker / Batman vs. Joker part 2″melds everything in the episode together between the sub main title, Batman and Joker’s themes, plus a few other tones. There are upbeat and dramatic cues as well. After all The joker is an actor!
It’s Never Too Late
It’s Never Too Late is an episode all to itself. Sure Rupert Thorn is in it, but this is the story of Arnie Stromwell, and his brother Mike. It’s more of a Stromwell versus Thorn episode, but it has some wonderful undertones in the music. It depicts the sad state of afairs that Stromwell’s life has become. Shirley and company go all out in this one, with dramatic tones, action anthems, and emotionally charged music.
Pretty Poison takes up Tracks 24-28 on this first disc. I’ll be honest and say that Ivy isn’t my favorite Bat Rogue, but she aint half bad. I prefer it though when she teams up with Harley. That being said I love how Walker, Ritmanis, and McCustion set up the tone for Ivy’s debut episode. The scoring is very intriguing to say the least. Really love Track 26: “Pretty Poison – Batman Sneaks Around” Again the music adds to the mystery of the episode, and that is always a good thing.
Christmas With The Joker
We end Disc 1 with “Christmas with the Joker” This might be my favorite score from this disc. Besides the Sub Main title of “The Last Laugh” I can say that overall this is my favote ep that is on this disc. “Christmas with the Joker – 14 Seconds Opening / Jingle Bells / The Joker Blasts Off” kicks this final ep score off on disc 1. Everytime I hear the jingle bells theme within this track, I think of jungle bells batman smells!!! LOL Then we have the game show msic, that is my number one favorite thing about this episode. Such fun and funny music. Which kinda makes sense and goes against the Joker’s type. however still very much love it. Shirley Walker / Lolita Ritmanis / Michael McCustion all do an excellent job crafting The Joker’s themes here, and they are very memorable!!! As they should be. I can even hear Hamill’s Joker voice in my head as I listen to this part of disc 1. Track 31: “Christmas with the Joker – Pukey Christmas Music / Christmas with the Joker / Game Show Music” might be my favorite on the entire episode scoring for this. So The Joker ends disc 1, and now onto Disc 2!
BTAS Alternate Main Title (The Adventures of Batman & Robin)
So Disc 2 kicks off with The Adventures of Batman & Robin theme!!!! I love these theme, but it’s not my absolute favorite. I love that the creators of the series went and changed the intro visuals. They then thought a new theme was needed. Which is an awesome thing to hear.
Two Face Parts 1 & 2
Two Face Parts I and II take up tracks 2-10 on disc 2. It starts off with “Two Face Part 1 – Harvey’s Nightmare/Dent’s Soap Box” In the beginning of this track it’s dark and sinister. Ms. Walker really knows how to come up with great villain themes. At the end of “Two Face Part 1 – Split Personality/Harvey/Harv” it’s the most bone chilling I’ve ever seen for a villain reveal, it makes it even more dramatic in the show, because they add in a lightning strike. I love how Walker crafted a score for Harvey Dent-Two Face, that is not only emotional, but caters to the multiple personality disorder he suffers from. YES I know these days it’s called D.I.D., but most of us non clinical people know it as multiple personalities.
This episodes tracks run from 11 through 17 on Disc 2. I’ve always loved this Joker episode, because poor Charlie Collins never knows when the Joker will call upon him. This episode starts out with some bone chilling music as we find ourselves at “Joker’s Hide Out”!Then there is Track 12: “Joker’s Favor – Charlie’s Neighborhood/Joker Finds Charlie” I love the intro to this. It is such a fun creepy theme for Joker and Charlie. Then to top it off the track gets even creepier… if that’s possible when Joker finds Charlie! The final two tracks for this episode are my favorite, because they are from the climax of the episode. I love the sinister, yet fun tone to both “Joker’s Favor – Crashing The Party” and “Joker’s Favor – Batman Saves The Commissioner/Batman’s After The Joker/Charlie Gets The Joker” After listening to a few of these scores it makes me want to go back and re watch a few of these episodes!
Vendetta has never been one of my favorite BTAS episodes. But since it’s Michael McCustion doing the scoring here, that does make me happy. I’ll say this these tracks from 18 through 23 are very well done. They are super dark, and bombastic all in the same breath. I think one of the reasons why this is not one of my more favorable episodes is that I’m not much a fan of Killer Croc. But McCustion gives him some epic themes here. They are all very dark. That’s what I love about Shirley Walker’s team… they find away to make the music feel natural to each character within BTAS!
Perchance to Dream
Perchance to Dream is one or my Top 20 Favorite BTAS episodes! It always has been. You wanna talk about a mystery that Bruce Wayne has to solve. Well hook him up to a dream machine and give him everything he ever wanted. This episode’s score runs from tracks 24 through 28 on disc 2. We start off with “Perchance To Dream – Sub-Main Title/The Dream Begins” while this track is only 0:54 it sets the stage quiet nicely for the rest of the episode. Track 25: “Perchance To Dream – It’s Impossible/Bruce Sees Batman/Bruce Watches Batman At Work” is simply amazing!!! I love what they’ve done here. they really bring out the emotion in Bruce. Then there is Track 26: “Perchance To Dream – My Life Is A Dream” When Bruce realizes his Life is a Dream, this part of the score is so emotionally charged, I’m not sure of a better way to put it. Perchance to Dream’s score is by far one of my favorites on this set. It’s music I can listen to over and over again!
Birds of a Feather
The final score on this amazing 2 CD set is “Birds of a Fether” Yup one of the Penguin’s episodes. I like it when Pengy teams up with the other villains, moreso than being on his own. This final score on this set is from tracks 29 to 33. My fav track from this episode is “Birds Of A Feather – That Fine Roman Nose/Penguin Vs. Muggers” I just love the beginning of this. It clearly sets the Penguin up as a character. As well as bringing us into his world.
Batman The Animated Series End Credits
Everyone loves this end theme it’s so fantastic. It’s track 34 on Disc 2. One of the best cartoon ending themes ever.
Music of the Bat 101
This is a six minute forty five second track, where Shirley Walker is walking us through the tones used, and feel they were going for. It’s almost like a music lesson on making the BTAS themes. She focuses on ways they have used the theme, and the construction of each time the main theme is used.
Overall Thoughts BTAS Volume 1:
Amazing, simply amazing!!! So happy that we finally have the DCAU Music on CD releases. This now VERY RARE original release is by fdar the best. The re release was great, but I think having the Gotham City Overture and Music of the Bat 101 adds even more to it. Unless you pounced on this when it was released you aren’t going to find it, and if you do it might be an outrageously priced item. Overall LOVE this set, and now I dive deeper into Gotham City as I take on Volume 2 NEXT!