The biggest positive about 1995’s Batman’s Forever is that it isn’t Batman & Robin. But even if the film itself has its low points, the soundtrack is in a league of its own. Somewhat strangely, only 5 of the soundtrack’s 14 songs actually appear in the film, but even if the selection method is a little puzzling, the content is too good for anyone to kick up a fuss. If you’re ready to revisit some of the best sounds of the mid-’90s, check out our ranking of all the songs on the Batman Forever soundtrack.
14. Smash It Up – The Offspring
It takes a brave band to tackle the Damned’s unofficial anthem, but the Offspring clearly felt they were up to the challenge. They weren’t, but they still managed to reach number 16 on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart and number 47 on the Hot 100 Airplay (Radio Songs) chart.
13. The Passenger – Michael Hutchence
Michael Hutchence did a lot of great things, both with INXS and as a solo artist. But his cover of Iggy Pop’s The Passenger is less a tribute to one of punk rock’s greatest songs than an insult to it. Some people will tell you it’s better than the original. Don’t believe them.
12. Crossing the River – The Devlins
The Devlins might never have become household names, but before they fizzled out in the 2000s, they made some great songs, including this low-fi slow burner from the Batman Forever soundtrack.
11. The Riddler – Method Man
Method Man stuck with the brief for his contribution to the Batman Forever soundtrack, contributing a song dedicated to the Riddler. Released as a single in October 1995, it reached number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart.
10. Where Are You Now? – Brandy
After picking up multiple awards and selling over 6 million copies for her 1994 debut album, you’d have thought Brandy would give herself a well-earned vacation. Instead, she spent the following year touring relentlessly with Boyz II Men and contributing to two soundtracks. The first contribution, Sittin’ Up in My Room for Waiting to Exhale, hit number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second, Where Are You Now? for Batman Forever, didn’t get released as a single, but it’s still a must-listen for fans of ’90’s R&B.
9. 8 – Sunny Day Real Estate
Sunny Day Real Estate have broken up, reunited, and broken up again more times than most people can keep up with, but when they’re not on hiatus or in limbo, they’re making albums like their eponymous 1995 LP, a fragile, moody exercise in first-rate alt-rock. 8, a spellbinding track taken to new heights of glory by Jeremy Enigk’s menacing vocals, was a very worthy choice for the Batman Forever soundtrack.
8. Bad Days – The Flaming Lips
After the song She Don’t Use Jelly propelled the Flaming Lips into the top 60 of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, their record label must have been hoping for a repeat performance with the band’s next album, Clouds Taste Metallic. As it turned out, it failed to make any kind of a dent on the charts. But even if audiences didn’t get it the first time around, they do now, with the result that it’s widely considered one of the band’s efforts. Bad Days, the closing track, is just as irresistible as the rest of the album.
7. The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game – Massive Attack (feat. Tracey Thorn)
The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game was written by Motown legend Smokey Robinson and first recorded by The Marvelettes in 1967. Massive Attack’s haunting version is a world away from the original (and even further away from Bette Midler’s cover for her 2014 album, It’s the Girls), but it’s no less lovely for it.
6. There Is a Light – Nick Cave
As All Music notes, what ties the entire soundtrack to Batman Forever together is the underlying dark rhythmic pulse and vaguely sexual menace. No one does dark tension and brooding menace like Nick Cave, so it’s no surprise his contribution is among the album’s highlights.
5. Nobody Lives Without Love – Eddi Reader
Batman Forever may be all about big bangs and high action, but it’s the hushed, low-fi moments on the soundtrack like this achingly sweet ballad from Scottish singer-songwriter Eddi Reader that really stand out.
4. Tell Me Now – Mazzy Star
Mazzy Star will always be remembered best for the 1993 hit Fade Into You, but they were way more than one-trick-ponies, as this spine-tingling ballad from the Batman Forever soundtrack highlights.
3. One Time Too Many – PJ Harvey
1995 was the year PJ Harvey broke through with To Bring You My Love, her first album as a solo artist after the breakup of the PJ Harvey trio. The album charted highly around the world, picked up rave reviews, and sent her profile soaring. Little wonder then, that the makers of Batman Forever were so keen to invite her to contribute to the soundtrack. The result, the stomping, bluesy One Time Too Many, is a must-listen.
2. Kiss from a Rose – Seal
Seal has gone on record to say he never really thought much of Kiss from a Rose and was even embarrassed to record it. He’s probably still grateful for those three Grammy Awards and two million-plus sales, though. A melodic, multi-layered ballad, it’s still as much of a radio stable today as it was 25 years ago.
1. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me – U2
Described by Music Week as a “swirling rock affair with orchestral overtones,” Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me is the crown jewel of the Batman Forever soundtrack. Released as a single in June 1995, it hit number 1 across eight countries, reached the top twenty in both the UK and US, and picked up Grammy Award nominations for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Rock Song, along with a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Song. It also received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Original Song – proof that no matter how hard you try, you can’t please all the people all the time.