You've Come A Long Way, Baby

Fatboy Slim

AstralWerks, 1998

http://www.fatboyslim.net

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/06/2014

One of the great party records of the decade, Fatboy Slim's sophomore release was among the crop of early electronic releases that helped push the genre into the mainstream at the end of the 1990s.

The music is technically classified as "big beat," meaning it shuns the roboticism of techno and the speed of house music for a more arena-friendly, less intense dance record with hints of rock and pop. It's similar to what the Chemical Brothers were doing around the same time, but with the vocals and celebratory vibe forming as the backbone, Fatboy Slim is more fun and appealing, especially to those who don't really get into electronic music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Right Here Right Now" is the perfect opener, ominous but hopeful keyboard riffs and background vocals rising higher until the main riff enters, drops out for a repetition of the song title, and then the riff and main beat return for the core of the piece. This segues perfectly into the hit "The Rockafeller Skank" (all ‘90s kids remember the line "Right about now / The funk soul brother"), and in its full form the song is an absolute delight, mixing surf rock guitar with an indelible beat. Sure, it's dumb fun, and at nearly seven minutes is a bit repetitive, but this is music that you move to, not sit and listen to.

"In Heaven" is a profane piece with a quirky instrumental tic and "Build It Up, Tear It Down" is the perfect party song; you will end up moving to it whether you intend to or not. "Gangster Tripping," "Soul Surfing," "Love Island" and "You're Not From Brighton" are all solid releases, not quite reaching the heights of the best songs but acting as great filler. "Praise You," however, is a great dance pop song that got some airplay, which is not surprising since Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook) was part of British pop band The Housemartins prior to going solo.

The disc only has two real flaws, the first being the repetitive nature and less than memorable beats of some of the filler tracks and the extremely irritating, pointless closer "Acid 8000," which takes too long to get going, offers a decent song in the middle, and then fades out on the most annoying electronic noises you will ever hear. Ever. For two minutes.

Toss that one aside and you have yourself a fun record that brought Fatboy Slim deserved success and stands, along with records by Daft Punk, the Chemical Brothers and DJ Shadow, as one of the great early electronic records, and certainly one of the finest big-beat records ever released.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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