Album: You've Come a Long Way, Baby
Artist: Fatboy Slim
Summary: Catchy hooks. Big beats. Surf guitars. Scratching. Fun party music.
This album opens with an old sample of arpeggiated strings, looped and passed through a resonant filter with an increasing cutoff point. The end result is the feeling of getting closer and closer to the source of the sound. This technique is one of Fatboy Slim's trademarks, along with the loud, bass-heavy drum beats that kick in just over a minute later. The recycled sounds really ought to give the album a patchwork feel, but instead the overall sound is surprisingly coherent and modern.
Just in case you thought Fatboy Slim would take this album seriously (and the UK cover artwork didn't tip you off), the next cut starts off with someone requesting the song by singing it to a radio DJ. The mood of the album suddenly gets down to Earth, and the feeling of getting closer to something amazing changes to the feeling of being at a really good party. This is the perfect album to celebrate something with, even if it's just the fact that it's Friday night.
Assuming you won't be offended or just plain annoyed at the looped vocal sample with swearing in it, Fucking in Heaven is a playful piece of music that's very silly yet still gets you in the mood to dance.
Gangster Tripping is only slightly less silly, but is extremely catchy - albeit repetitive - and again shows off the looped-sample-with-increasing-filter-cutoff-point effect. By this point it becomes obvious that the album is formulaic, but it's such a catchy, feelgood song producing formula that it doesn't matter. This isn't art so much as very enjoyable entertainment.
The next four songs stick to this theme, although they don't stand out so much, with the exception of the particularly resonant filter sweeps at Kalifornia's climax. Fatboy Slim excels at breaking down a mix before building it back up, and with this track he does so particularly well, without even touching his sampler's filter.
Praise You is probably the best track on the album (The Rockafeller Skank comes close, but the noise in the middle can get pretty irritating). A vast improvement on his previous song featuring the same vocal sample, this is catchy, fun, great to dance to and just generally upbeat and happy. It's the perfect pick-me-up. It also relegates the TB-303 to background duties, which in my opinion is where it works best, although judging by some of his other releases, Fatboy Slim may disagree.
Love Island is mediocre, although anything after Praise You has a lot to live up to. Fatboy Slim has even started recycling his own melodies at this point: the main riff is also the bassline in his previous album's track Song for Lindy. As is the case with the samples, however, the context of the album's aesthetic doesn't make anything seem like a rip-off as much as a new twist on an old piece of pop culture. In this respect, the album most resembles Pop Will Eat Itself's samplefest This is the Day... This is the Hour... This is This!
The last track is apparently a nod of respect to fellow Skint artist Dr. Bone's I Came Here to Get Ripped, but I'd rather listen to this more polished version any day. It finishes off this great album with a suitable acid house style climax before bringing the listener slowly back to reality with its post climax noise.
In short: This isn't art, but it's catchy, you can dance to it, and above all it's fun. Great stuff.