Fatboy Slim - Why Try Harder: The Greatest Hits

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(Skint/Sony BMG)

When you think of Fatboy Slims music, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the keys from Praise You? The Jim Morrison sample from Bird of Prey? Or is it the unforgettable (even if you want to) lyric funk soul brother, right about now, funk soul brother, check it out now from the Rockafeller Skank? Whatever it is, there can be no doubt that throughout Fatboy Slims career, he has crafted some memorable tunes. His music has been used in ad campaigns, movies and video games, and has become engrained in popular culture (again, whether you like it or not). He is the herald of the Mid-Nineties breakout sound of Big Beat and is by far its greatest benefactor, stemming from the overwhelming success of his hit album Youve Come a Long Way Baby.

Herein lies the difficulty in trying to sell a greatest hits compilation for the man. Its not the music isnt good (if a little dated in spots), or isnt iconic, its just that it has been so damn overplayed that chances are youll hear the first few notes of a track and skip it due to the overwhelming Ive heard this a million times before factor. Most of his biggest tracks make an appearance (the aforementioned Rockafeller Skank, Praise You, Bird of Brey, Gangsta Tripping, Right Here Right Now, Wonderful Night), albeit in easier to digest four minute versions but the real treasures here are Fatboys remixes of Cornershops Brimful of Asha and his seminal rework of Groove Armadas I See You Baby. Both tracks take the original elements, slap on the big beat and take the groove to the next level of funkiness, and should not be missed.

As with any greatest hits compilation, its going to be notable for its omissions and occasionally dubious inclusions. Like what is the seventies surfer dross of Slash Dot Dash doing on there, when the driving beats of Star 69 missed out? And why the hell did his consummate remix of the Beastie Boys Body Movin get left out? I mean, come on, even the Beasties came out and said the remix took their original track to the next level, even going so far as to put it on their own greatest hits compilation (the only remix included might I add) And it misses out on getting a call up over a track like the relatively unremarkable Going Out of My Head? That aside, there is still plenty of listening and funking goodness to be had here. Weapon of Choice is still a ton of fun after all these years, and the build up and drop in Right Here, Right Now is still epic.

By the end of the compilation you start to realise how distinctive his signature style really is. The man sometimes known as Norman Cook has always shown an affinity for separate rhythms and samples running in opposite speakers, not to mention jittery lyrics that make it sound like the CD is skipping. Its a distinctive style, and though in points it feels somewhat dated, the CD as a whole is fun nostalgia trip into the sound you were probably listening to in the mid-nineties.

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