The WaterTower Music release The Lego Batman Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack offers 12 upbeat songs plus 16 well-blended orchestral works composed by Lorne Balfe. (Note: This reviewer saw the movie before reviewing this score and there are also no movie spoilers here.)
The first set/disc isn’t just fast-paced filler for audiences/listeners with short attention spans. It showcases even more comedy beyond the animated movie while enhancing emotions with effective song covers throughout the plot.
Patrick Stump (of Fall Out Boy) starts off with the pleasantly maniacal “Who’s the (Bat)Man”. A little repetitive in the lyrics, but it’s a high-powered dynamo that makes me smile when thinking of the movie.
Next up is DNCE’s “Forever.” It’s a great sing-along with sharp guitar work and nice harmonies that showcase the dance-rock group’s talents (led by Joe Jonas). Next, the first classic cover comes from Cutting Crew – arguably their biggest hit, “I Just Died (In Your Arms)” – and it was featured during a key character encounter in the movie. A well-chosen gem that was a guilty pleasure when originally released in 1986 – now it’s just a pleasure.
“Invincible” by Kirsten Arian captures the movie’s fast-paced excitement with a positive message. Then comes a classic followed by two more two remakes. “One (Is the Loneliest Number)” by Harry Nilsson (not the famous Three Dog Night cover) reflects Batman/Bruce Wayne’s current emotional state. “Heroes (We Could Be) (Hard Rock Sofa and Skidka Remix)” by Swedish musician/DJ Alesso featuring Tove Lo matches the tone but misses the emotional impact of David Bowie’s original performance. Rising star Alex Aiono does better with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” but not by much.
“Friends Are Family” has an important, hilarious function near the end of the film with a nice video montage during the ending credits plus a great guitar solo from an unexpected character. This catchy pop tune by Oh, Hush! featuring Will Arnett and Jeff Lewis beats through the movie’s ending, three-count color credit sequences “that make parents and studio executives happy.”
“I Found You” by Fraser Murray features a great children’s choral arrangement, and then Justin Tranter is featured with his own version of “Forever,” which isn’t very memorable. He’s done better as a songwriter in his varied collaborations, including with DNCE in their beginning years.
Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. That name should describe this comedic cover band/comedy act perfectly – perform modern songs in a lounge/swing style. You might recognize their a capella version of “Everything Is Awesome” during the ending credits of The LEGO Movie plus “Night and Day” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In this soundtrack they cover Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and “Everything Is Awesome” to close out the first set/disc.
The second set/disc is the movie’s score, which was written by Balfe (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2). It features several memorable arrangements, including a great piece titled “The Arrival of Robin” that features a whimsical beginning that reminded me how much heart and genuine emotion there is in this film. The organ arrangements later in the song and the gothic, eerie ending also stand out. Balfe’s seven and a half-minute “Black” begins this set on a great note. The third piece, “Your Greatest Enemy,” mirrors several parts from “Black.” “Lava Attack” has some thrilling movements, as “Chaos in Gotham” is more playful. Balfe even touches on the Batman television series in the 1960s with “No Seat Belts Required” and “Battle Royale,” which also features some great wooden xylophone work.
Balfe’s last six pieces make a strong finish to this album, especially the stand outs “Batman’s in the Zone,” “The Babs Signal,” and “A Long Farewell.” “Joker Manor” also showcases strong movements with a memorable instrumental laugh that emulates the Joker’s laugh at the beginning of the piece.
This soundtrack has great variety thanks to a rich history in the Caped Crusader’s film and TV history. Enjoy the pleasant variety from The Lego Batman Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which is also streaming on Amazon Unlimited.