Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Fatboy Slim

  • Better Living Through Chemistry [Astralwerks, 1997] **
  • You've Come a Long Way, Baby [Astralwerks, 1998] ***
  • On the Floor at the Boutique [Astralwerks, 1998] A-
  • Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars [Astralwerks, 2000] A-
  • Live on Brighton Beach [Ministry of Sound, 2002] Choice Cuts
  • Palooka-ville [Astralwerks, 2004] Choice Cuts
  • Big Beach Bootique Volume V [The End, 2013] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Better Living Through Chemistry [Astralwerks, 1997]
bang bang bang ("Going Out of My Head," "Santa Cruz") **

You've Come a Long Way, Baby [Astralwerks, 1998]
proving what all pop pros know--that obvious is harder than subtle ("The Rockafeller Skank," "In Heaven") ***

On the Floor at the Boutique [Astralwerks, 1998]
The stupid album he's not genius enough to make himself is a live mix tape segueing many dance records unknown to me and a few I've long loved, most crucially the Jungle Brothers' groove-setting "Because I Got It Like That." All are speeded up so that the vocalists, let's call them, sound less like cartoons--except on "Michael Jackson," which samples the J5's Saturday-morning show--than like they've just huffed helium. Jumping jack laugh, it's a gas gas gas. A-

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars [Astralwerks, 2000]
As someone who's about as intimate with modern dance music as the radio jocks and collegiate punters Slim accesses with such drunken disregard for subcultural niceties--and who believes house divas are only slightly smarter, popwise, than Slim's fellow sot Jim Morrison--I say this is where Norman Cook achieves the nonstop stupidity breakbeats alone could never bring him. One great idea per song, from anywhere--embellished, of course, with all the sonic tricks he's filched and made his own. "What duh fuck" muttered to infinity. A retox anthem whose time has come. Macy Gray B-in', C-in' and F-in' ya. And for that essential soupçon of soul: a Wet Willie sample! All shallow, all pure as a result--pure escape, pure delight, and, as the cavalcade of gospel postures at the end makes clear, pure spiritual yearning. Transcendence, we all want it. Good thing Cook knows most of us aren't deluded enough to want it all the time. A-

Live on Brighton Beach [Ministry of Sound, 2002]
Black and White Brothers, "Put Your Hands Up" Choice Cuts

Palooka-ville [Astralwerks, 2004]
"The Joker" Choice Cuts

Big Beach Bootique Volume V [The End, 2013]
Live beats as exciting as their hype men, who can be pretty exciting or, too often, altogether silent ("Clubs," "Get Naked [Fatboy Slim vs Futuristic Polar Bears Remix]") *

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