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Norman Cook has recorded music is more guises than most people have had hot dinners. He had been a member of the chart-topping bands The Housemartins and Beats International, as well as scoring dance hits under the monikers Pizzaman and Mighty Dub Katz before arguably reaching the peak of his critical acclaim as Fatboy Slim. After releasing his debut 'Better Living Through Chemistry' and the critically acclaimed and bestselling 'You've Come A Long Way Baby', there was much anticipation for his third album 'Halfway Between The Gutter and The Stars', which was released in 2000. However, it sold a fraction of what it was expected to and was widely received as being disappointing. Somewhat more adult orientated than his previous efforts, the album starts off with 'Talking Bout My Baby', which features a simple piano melody with a repetitive vocal sampled from 'Macon Hambone Blues' by the interestingly titled band 'Wet Willie'. Not the strongest track on the album, it sets the tone for an eclectic and disjointed set of songs. 'Star 69' is up next, which features a relentless dance backing peppered with the gruff male vocal of 'what the f***' on dozens of occasions. A bit gimmicky and insubstantial, it was the forgotten flipside to 'Weapon of Choice', the third release to be taken from the album. Inevitably banned by most radio stations, it has only curiosity appeal and isn't really a tune that would have any great appeal outside of a club. Oddly juxtaposed with 'Star 69' is the Jim Morrison sampling 'Sunset (Bird Of Prey)'. With many of The Doors' fans up in arms about anyone sampling their heroes work, it received a mixed reception, and was certainly a bit of a risky choice as the lead single. Tipped as a number one, it stalled at number 9 in October 2000, which seemed to pre-empt the commercial disaster that the album was. Howe ver, I think it's actually one the finest, if not the finest, work of Fatboy Slim to date. Many of Cook's songs are perhaps guilty of being over-reliant on the sample, but I think that the balance is neatly struck here between Morrison's whimsical strains and the accompanying electronica to create a lush and vivid soundscape. Aided by a memorable video of a Vietnam pilot (far superior to the acclaimed and overrated 'Weapon of Choice' promo), it is the highlight of the album, although some may find it overlong at 6 and a half minutes... 'Love Life' goes back to the 70's-influenced sounds of his previous albums and is given a fresh sound by the unique vocals of Macy Gray. Used on a car advert recently, it is a retro-slab of P-Funk that's only real negative point is that it is once again a bit on the long side. A more dance orientated style can be found in 'Ya Mama', which reached number 30 in the charts. Featuring the characteristic Fatboy guitar loops, and a nagging vocal of 'push the tempo, raise the tempo' is doesn't really offer us anything original, and does smack of a cast off from his earlier outings. 'Mad Flava' is jazz-funk fodder that lacks any distinctive elements to make it any more than a bog-standard album track and can get quite grating on repeated listens. 'Retox' is a faster outing, again revolved around a short loop. Sounding as though it has taken its inspiration from 80's Chicago House, it lacks any interesting vocal sections to make it any more than run of the mill. After this pair of anonymous tracks, we arrive at 'Weapon of Choice', known to many for it's comedy video of Hollywood actor Christopher Walken dancing. Despite being voted by viewers of VH1 as the best promo ever, it has probably suffered from over-play, and once it is taken away from the video, the song itself sounds a little sparse and dull. 'Drop T he Hate' returns back to the preachy vocal stylings that have been used by Cook and his imitators on a number of occasions. Repetitive and lacking in inspiration yet again, it really isn't something that you'd want to play over and over. A brief oasis in the desert of mediocrity is the gorgeous 'Demons', once again featuring the gravel voiced Macy Gray on vocals. Despite it's obvious drug metaphors, it has a delicate charm that is lacking in so much of 'Halfway Between The Gutter and The Stars'. Much more sedate and downtempo than the previous trio of tracks, it is melancholy and uplifting at the same time, and has some refreshingly understated gospel snippets too. Another relative flop commercially, it is perhaps a grower rather than an instant winner. The 11-minute epic is rounded up by 'Song For Shelter'. Like most 11-minute epics, it is very self-indulgent. The requisite loops and the snatches of male speech are accompanied here by some Indian instrumentation and a thumping dance beat. However, instead of sounding fresh and creative, it just appears to be messy and is pretty unlistenable. Not the best way to end an album... Although 'Halfway Between The Gutter and The Stars' is not without its highlights and clearly shows the hallmarks of a maverick, it tries too hard to incorporate too many different sounds into the mix. The result is that is falls between many stools. Too disjointed to be considered either a club album or one that you can easily listen to at home without having to flick through the less accessible tracks, it is not surprising to see why the public didn't warm to it like they did to the more flowing 'You've Come A Long Way Baby'. That said, it is often on sale extremely cheaply. A second hand copy can be picked up for a couple of quid on Ebay, whilst HMV has had it priced at £2.99 on a number of occasions. Worth buying for 'Suns et (Bird Of Prey' and 'Demons' alone, it comes recommended as a bargain if not a classic.
Fatboy Slim a.k.a. Norman Cook has had a lot of success on the dance scene. With hits like 'Praise You' under his belt FatBoy Slim is now a very credible figure in the dance world. His album 'You’ve come a long way baby' is still great to listen to. Obviously we were expecting an even more amazing album after that. Okay I admit it I bought this album only because it was £2.99 in the big HMV sale. I only got it because I like ‘Star 69’ and ‘Weapon Of Choice’ but I was pleasantly surprised with it. Be warned it is a mixed bag, I have very eclectic taste when it comes to music so I liked many of the songs! ‘Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars’ is an album which has a lot of contrasting reviews and I just had to add my opinion. ‘H.B.T.G.A.T.S’ begins with ‘Talking Bout My Baby’ which although has a strong melody and vocals isn’t long enough to make any real impression on you. Not the best start off to the album really. It also doesn’t mix well into ‘Star 69’ which is the next track, it just jumps out at you from nowhere. ‘Star 69’ has some brilliant mixes and I feel that one should’ve been included on the album as a bonus track (There’s excellent mixes by Timo Maas and X-Press 2). Things get better with the next track ‘Sunset (Bird of Prey)’ which is a track that grows on you with the Jim Morrison samples. When discussing this album Norman Cook describes why his style of music has changed: "Sometimes over the last two years I've found myself doing things I don't really enjoy and forget why I'm doing this," he explains. "And I'm normally in a nightclub when I remember why. Every foray I've had into the pop world has been based on support and respect from the dance community. I didn't want to end up just pop." It is a slightly more relaxed and soulful track which makes way for the next track ‘Lovelife’ This has vocals by Macy Gray and the lyrics take second place, with the music taking centre stage. Unfortunately this is one of those forgettable tracks, I do like it but I wouldn’t get the album out specifically to listen to it or put it on any compilation (it gets a little repetitive). ‘Push the tempo, push the tempo, push the tempo…’ And here’s the fifth track 'Ya Mama', a guitar-filled, fast paced number which never fails to get me jumping around the room. This is always a good thing. The lyrics are more shouted then sung, and I love the electronic sounds in it too. Unfortunately I hate the next track, it is one that’ll never grow on me- ‘Mad Flava’ a truly average track and it shouldn’t have been included on the album. Thankfully my misery ends with the skip button- the next song is the excellent ‘Retox’. Another catchy song which will get the blood rushing to your head with the big beats and robotic vocals. The fantastic ‘Weapon Of Choice’ is the next song, where another robotic voice takes over and the music gets going- it has an excellent balance of both. This is a song which the Fatboy has got completely perfect. Austin Powers fans will be aware of this track, and how anyone can not like this foot-tapping number is beyond me. The ninth track is ‘Drop The Hate’ with a scratchy, underground feel which has actually grown on me a great deal. The music at times seems to be Prodigy- inspired and that is probably what has made me like the track. The vocals contrast a lot with the music – it sounds like a male jazz/r’n’b singer (no idea who it is), I think it works well. And next comes Macy Gray with ‘Demons’ – to be honest I’m not a fan of hers and this song is no exception. The l yrics and music is great (it’s not a surprise that it’s been a hit song) but her voice makes me want to shove cotton wool in my ears and hide in a dark corner. I’m sorry. The last track is the humungous 11 minute ‘Song For Shelter’ which has parts of ‘I get Deep’ performed by Roland Clark and it fails to hit the spot. I don’t understand what Cook has tried to achieve by this track, it just doesn’t work with the other songs and is not one to end an album with. The first and last tracks of an album are crucial to making the whole package work and this is where the Fatboy has let himself down. At times the mixing is erratic and a few songs are just not good enough to be on the album at all. I know I’m probably being a pain but the CD booklet included could’ve been better. There’s some beautiful photos inside of clouds, however it would’ve been nice to see something more personal from Cook. Also there’s a page with details of guest vocalists and samples, however the writing is tiny and it’s really difficult to read. These are things that make the CD look sloppy. Overall I feel that there’s a lot of potential on this album, but it seems to be rushed. It could have been a brilliant album if Cook had been clear from the start what kind of mood he is trying to create. If he wanted a more soulful, older feel then his mixing and choice of tracks should’ve reflected this. Instead the result is an uncertain listing of tracks, where it’s unlikely that any listener will like more than two or three songs. It’s a huge shame because Fatboy Slim can do much better.
Norman Cook has always been working at finding a balance between the music that is at the cutting edge of the dance scene and that which panders to the handbag dancing radio listener. This album is no exception. I have always been a believer that the Fatboy's greatest work has been done either live in session or in a live-inspired album. Focussing on what gets the crowd dancing, singing, throbbing and pulsating. when this is the way he writes and present his music it can be truly great. As examples of this I would have to cite work such as "Fatboy Slim at the Big Beat Boutique" which is an all-round uplifting and engaging album that once on the cd player cannot be removed. Another example, although perhaps less so, is "Better Living through chemistry", which continues a trend of some excellent and non-cosumerist beats. However it is only in more recent, and his more successful years, that so-called "handbag house" has dribbled over into his musical style. It is this influence that has alienated some parts of his following, but have also brought him great chart success. Unfortunatly, apart from a scarce few examples, "You've come a long way baby" was riddled with over-produced, bubblegum trash. It just doesn't get the blood pumping or the feet tapping. But it does seem to get the money out of the wallets in the music shops. This new album is a little bit of both. The big-beats and handbag come together and don't get on too well. Songs such as "Bird of Prey" are simply over done in the studio leading to a somewhat sanitised sound with no real emotional commitment from the listener. But in contrast "Demons" featuring Macy Gray (an artist I'm decidely non-commital about) is truly engaging and uplifting. "Weapon of Choice" is also wonderful, with some great bass notes and some real depth. This song is only outdone by it's superb video featuring Christopher Walken and directed by Spike Jonze. If you haven't seen this video yet, you must! Seeing Walken dance, and the whole video is worth it's weight in gold. Overall the album has it's moments of greatness and its times of dull, modern consumer sell-the-record-ism. Buy it if you like the singles you've heard. Buy it if you like Fatboy Slim's previous's. But don't expect either the pop or the big beats to win out in the end. It is a truly middle road album. Having said all that, I love it and want to hear it live before I can really pass any more judgement. I thank you, and good night.
A word of advice before you play this album. Don't judge it on the first track, because while the rest of the album is (mostly) good, 'Talking About My Baby' is rubbish. Somebody screaming over a lame, cheesy piano hook - not my cup of tea, thank you very much. But it is instantly forgotten when you hear the amazing 'Star 69'. This is essentially 'F*cking in Heaven' over a trance record, but I mean that in the best possible way. It marks quite a radical departure for the Fatboy from the big beat sounds of his previous album, but he handles the change in style excellently. From here we move into 'Sunset (Bird of Prey)' - a more laid-back track, with a (shock horror)Jim Morrison sample over the top of an extremely clever breakbeat rhythm. So many people hated Norman Cook for using a Jim Morrison sample - why, though, I have no idea. Because let's face it - The Doors were terrible. I'm probably going to be crucified for saying this, but they were. Anything is an improvement on that, but 'Sunset'somehow amnages to make Morrison's voice almost acceptable. The track still would have been better without it, though. 'Hafway Between the Gutter and the Stars' is a far more serious record than the classic 'You've Come A Long Way Baby'. The only concession to fans of his last album is in 'Ya Mama', one of the best tracks on the album, but it almost parodies everything the Fatboy did on his last album - the big beats, the acid bass lines, the catchy vocal hooks - everything. Still does the trick for me, though. Hmm... maybe I'm a little shallow. Other highlights include 'Weapon of Choice', 'Drop the Hate', and 'Retox', another more straight-forwad club track, but with an absolutely phat bass line at the beginning. Put your speakers on the floor, and feel the ground shake. But as you may have guessed from the title, I was not too impressed with the two Macy Gray tracks. Apart from 'Talking About My Baby', they are the worst two tracks on the album. 'Love Life' sounds like an Anastasia song with Macy gargling in her usual crappy way over the top - not recommended. 'Demons' is a slightly better track, with dirty percussion and a well used piano hook, but is one again ruined by Macy's voice. When will she, and other people, realise she has a terrible voice and sings out of tune on all of her songs? However, barring three dodgy tracks, the Fatboy's new album is good. There are fewer instant classics than on 'You've come a Long Way Baby', but good, all the same. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to dig out 'You've Come A Long Way Baby', and remember the good old days. Are my standards slipping?...
A third album from Norman Cook. Has he exhausted the formula? Can he still kick it? Predictably and respectively, no, and yes. It seems he's taken his foot off the gas a little. This is a less formulaic album than its predecessor, in that less of the tracks follow the rigid big beat template he invented. 'Ya Mama' is the track which sticks most closely with tradition, and it's the least successful number. 'Weapon Of Choice' (try and track down the video - Christopher Walken can move!) isn't too new, but is a lot more fun. There's a harder edge to offerings like 'Star 69', 'Drop The Hate' and the mighty, funky 'Retox'. It's a relief to hear him producing these less commercial dancefloor workouts. Proggy single 'Sunset (Bird Of Prey)' seems a little tame in this company, but it too is a breath of fresh air, after the overkill of the "You've Come A Long Way, Baby". By being a little less high-profile, it seems he's given us an album with a little more longevity - i can well imagine listening to this long after 'Rockafeller Skank' or the greatly overplayed 'Right Here, Right Now'. The best song (in the songiest sense of the word) is of course 'Demons'. Where 'Love Life', their other collaboration, is noisy (and not in a good way) and dull, 'Demons' is wierdly moving, with its easy gospel piano and loping, distorted drum break. But like i say, it's the banging tunes that make this album.
Norman Cook has always been working at finding a balance between the music that is at the cutting edge of the dance scene and that which panders to the handbag dancing radio listener. This album is no exception. I have always been a believer that the Fatboy's greatest work has been done either live in session or in a live-inspired album. Focussing on what gets the crowd dancing, singing, throbbing and pulsating. when this is the way he writes and present his music it can be truly great. As examples of this I would have to cite work such as "Fatboy Slim at the Big Beat Boutique" which is an all-round uplifting and engaging album that once on the cd player cannot be removed. Another example, although perhaps less so, is "Better Living through chemistry", which continues a trend of some excellent and non-cosumerist beats. However it is only in more recent, and his more successful years, that so-called "handbag house" has dribbled over into his musical style. It is this influence that has alienated some parts of his following, but have also brought him great chart success. Unfortunatly, apart from a scarce few examples, "You've come a long way baby" was riddled with over-produced, bubblegum trash. It just doesn't get the blood pumping or the feet tapping. But it does seem to get the money out of the wallets in the music shops. This new album is a little bit of both. The big-beats and handbag come together and don't get on too well. Songs such as "Bird of Prey" are simply over done in the studio leading to a somewhat sanitised sound with no real emotional commitment from the listener. But in contrast "Demons" featuring Macy Gray (an artist I'm decidely non-commital about) is truly engaging and uplifting. "Weapon of Choice" is also wonderful, with some great bass notes and some real depth. This song is o nly outdone by it's superb video featuring Christopher Walken and directed by Spike Jonze. If you haven't seen this video yet, you must! Seeing Walken dance, and the whole video is worth it's weight in gold. Overall the album has it's moments of greatness and its times of dull, modern consumer sell-the-record-ism. Buy it if you like the singles you've heard. Buy it if you like Fatboy Slim's previous's. But don't expect either the pop or the big beats to win out in the end. It is a truly middle road album. Having said all that, I love it and want to hear it live before I can really pass any more judgement. I thank you, and good night.
This is a much more satisfying record than Fatboy Slim's previous album. Whereas about a third of the songs on 'You've come a long way baby' simply sounded loud and repetitive, every track on 'Halfway between the gutter and the stars' is good. The loudness is still there, but a manifest hip-hop influence gives this album a much more relaxed over all groove. Reviews in magazines and at other web sites cite Norman Cook's marriage and fatherhood as the reason for this more 'mature' sound. It certainly does seem that he has calmed down somewhat since his last offering. All songs stand up well on their own, but this album is much better enjoyed if played all the way through since the tracks are blended together nicely. The strong piano introduction and almost screaming vocals of 'Talking bout my baby' gets things off to an attention grabbing start. It is interesting that the Jim Morrison sample 'Bird of Prey' was the first single to be released because I actually think it’s the weakest track on the album! My favourite songs are the two collaborations with Macy Gray - the wonderfully gospel-like 'Demons' (another single of course) and the funky and laid back 'Love life'. Another of the tracks that I was taken with on the first few playings was the infectious 'Weapon of choice'. This will be the next song from the album to be released as a single - watch out for the excellent video (directed by Spike Jonze, responsible for the movie 'Being John Malkovich' and, famously, a previous Fatboy Slim video 'Praise you') featuring a jiving Christopher Walken! Those who loved 'You've come a long way baby' might find 'Halfway between the gutter and the stars' with its slightly more refined sound, something of an acquired taste. Nevertheless, I'm sure they would enjoy 'Ya Mama' and 'Mad Flava' - tw o songs that deserve to be played loud! A more impressive album than its predecessor, containing an appealing variety of beats and tempos, I recommend this as one of the more original and alternative offerings available at the moment.
Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars is a massive departure for Fatboy Slim. As a proud owner of previous albums Better Living Through Chemistry, You've Come a Long Way Baby and "Fatboy Slim's Greatest Remixes", a compilation of some of his remixes of tracks by other artists, I was anticipating another excellent album from Norman Cook. He has failed to deliver on this occasion, though. He said he was taking a big risk leaving bigbeat in favour of house, and he was right to be concerned. There is absolutely nothing special about this album. It fails to live up to any genre in any significant way, and sounds like the work of an entirely different artist. Fatboy Slim tracks are not supposed to have meaningful lyrics, and having those lyrics sung by Macy Gray is the last straw. This album is a massive let-down, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to advise that anyone who likes Fatboy Slim for his previous work just stick with that previous work: There is nothing for you here.
YAWN....ZZZzzzZZZ!!!! Well what can I say.... I wasn't exactly surprised to hear the 93/94 Techno/Hardfloor stylee tunes (Star 69 & Retox). Particularly after hearing Fat Heads set at Glastonbury festival last year...Predictable or what??? My original plan was to come here and give this album the roasting I think it deserves. And more or less, that's what I'm going to do...But to overlook the 2 absolute DIAMOND tracks, Love Life (4) and Demons (10) would be wrong of me. Both of these are in fact excellent, and conincidently both feature none other then Macy Gray. So, you have to ask yourself how much of this comes down to the fact Macy has an outstanding voice, that could probably bring something good to almost any drum loop made by anybody. I think it's only fair to mention at this point that A: I can't stand Norman Cook and B: Macy Gray is chuffin' tops...As for the rest of the album??? It's just as poor as the last release. Endless tired loops, running round and round the Fat Boy garden...But that's what the Yanks want it seems (and I'm sad to say a few of us less sensible British folk) Some vaguely interesting breaks ..Especially after about track 5 (Song for Shelter) and Weapon of Choice(track 8)starts off good, but becomes tiresome pretty quickly. I'd say on the whole that this album at least shows a bit more effort on the part of Mr Cook,..But it's hardly original and The Freestylers are still way ahead of the game....... Summary?? As always with Norman Cooks' projects ( Beats International, Pizzaman, Freakpower) the good never really manages to outway the bad. Maybe he should've stayed with The Housemartins. So there there you have it...barely consistent...barely lucid, and thats just me... Don't buy this save your dosh for a new Ninja Tune release..
Fatboy Slim`s new album is, in my opinion, just as good as his previous one, if not better, though it is let down by a few tracks. The first track is about his wife(The former Zoe Ball, now Zoe Cook).The second track, Star, may be offensive to some listers and is the reason for the explisit lyrics sign on the cover of the album, but except for that is a very good track.It is more in the style of his old album, like Yamama, weapon of choise(Features Bootsy Colins), retox(features Ashley Slater), and Drop the hate.These tracks are my favorites by a long way. Te other tracks are not very good, 2 of which feature Macy Gray(Deomons and love Life) Overall I feel that this album is pretty good,but I also feel that Fatboy Slim is doing the same thing as Moby, and chilling his songs out a bit.
After the worldwide success of “You’ve come a long way baby” it can be said that Fatboy Slim (a.k.a. Norman Cook) was heralded as the shining example of dance music DJs crossing over into the mainstream. His subsequent marriage to media darling Zoe Ball didn’t help in calming down the hype surrounding him. Putting the hype aside “You’ve come a long way baby” was a great album with many unforgettable tracks (Praise You, Right Here Right Now, and The Rockerfella Skank). So when I heard the next album was due for release I put my reservation in sharpish. “Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars” does not unfortunately live up to the high expectations I had. The album opens up with “Talking Bout My Baby” which just doesn’t get going. The next track “Star” amplifies my fears that I have bought the wrong album. It is dire and littered with the ‘F’ word for no apparent reason (hence the Parental Guidance notice on the front of the box). Now comes track three “Sunset (Bird of Prey)” and I almost screamed out loud with despair at this one. I could not believe it. A dance track with samples taken from The Doors?? What was he thinking??? At this point I was so tempted to eject and give up all hope. If one thing can be said about me is my stubbornness, so I continued to listen to the rest of the album. It couldn’t get any worse could it? Thankfully it does get better. Track four “Lovelife” is a funky little number featuring the vocal talents of Macy Gray. Track five “Ya Mama” is probably the the one track that feels like it could have Fitted in on the previous album. It is much more upbeat and reminds me in places of The Chemical Brothers. The rest of the album doesn’t warrant any special attention either way. None of the tracks are great or poor. They just do n’t stand out at all. With the exception of track ten “Demons” which again features Macy Gray on vocals. “Demons” is the highlight of the album without a shadow of a doubt. It has a slow, strong on the vocals song, with a pumping (but not overpowering) drumbeat in the background. It is made for Macy Gray, This is the star of the album. Tracklist: 1. Talking Bout My Baby 2. Star 3. Sunset (Bird of Prey) 4. Lovelife 5. Ya Mama 6. Mad Flava 7. Retox 8. Weapon Of Choice 9. Drop The Hate 10. Demons 11. Song For Shelter The above tracklist may differ slightly from the UK release as it is the Canadian version purchased from www.play247.com for a measly sum of £8.99 including packaging and delivery. This is such a mixed up album that it is difficult to put down in words how I feel about it. The first three tracks are sub-standard pieces that he must have picked out of the gutter, so I now see where part of the album title came from. The rest of the album isn’t too bad but in comparison to his previous effort this album is fairly weak. You won’t see many hit singles being released off this album. Only “Demons” stands out as a possible hit single. The presentation of the CD is poor. The inlay sheet is only six small pages and contains mainly artistic photographs of sunsets. One page is given up to repeat the tracklist on the back of the case and another page of credits. That’s it. In the months to come, as valuable CD storage space comes at a premium, I can see this CD being consigned to the already large pile gathering dust. All that I can say is Fatboy picked a perfect album title as it accurately portrays the quality of this album. Plain Average.
I've been a fan of Fatboy Slim since his first album. One of the major differences between this album and the previous ones is that this one contains a number of songs with a substantial amount of lyrics. Track 11, Song For Shelter, has lyrics that are downright vacant, and track 2, Star 69, contains probably the most annoying subset of the lyrics from Song For Shelter. The first track, Talking Bout My Baby, is mysteriously missing a beat and is pretty repetitive and monotonous. Fatboy Slim earns his stars, though, with tracks 3 through 10. These tracks get back to what Fatboy Slim is best at: funky beats with catchy grooves and haunting overtones. Track 10, Demons (with Macy Gray), is another lyrical selection, but these lyrics are much more coherent, and more musical to boot; it's one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head. My recommendation? As long as you've got your CD player's skip button handy, buy this CD. There's a lot of Fatboy Slim classics buried between those few annoying filler tracks.
When I first listened to this album I wasn't sure. The tracks aren't as instantly grabbing as those off of his previous albums, but if you give it a chance then it will grow on you. It's true that this album is different to his previous ones, but how many bands/group/artists have been criticised for putting out the same album after album. The first word that comes into my head when trying to describe this album is Funky (hence the title!) and this is true of most tracks, but you also get songs like Sunset which are darker and more moody. There is only one thing that I don't like about this album and that is why on earth did Norman Cook get Macy Gray to do guest vocalists, as in my opinion there are far better vocalists out there. If you have listened to the previous albums and are not afraid of change then, chances are, that you will like this.
This is the latest album from Fatboy Slim after the phenonmenal succes of the You've Come A Long Way Baby album. This sees Fatboy Slim depart from the traditional Big Beat style of recent years for a slightly more agreeable style of music. The tracks here are very good and you find yourself humming or dancing along quite easily. The best track in my opinion is Song For Shelter which has a very ambient feel to the synthesizer and with excellent vocals from Roland Clark. It has a slight big beat style coming through with a subtle guitar-ish element working alongisde the rhythmic bass. Star 69 is an interesting song with it's liberal use of the F word.... It has an almost hip hop style vocal which actually works very well. It has a great bass beat backing it up making for an excellent club track! The Macy Gray colaboration tracks are in my opinion are the worst and don't represent the Fatboy Slim style of music very well at all. Personally I can't stand Macy Grey and so if you like here then you will probably like these. I just find her vocal performances really annonying.... I actually prefer the Big Beat style of stuff from Fatboy Slim, and still think the best album to date is the On The Floor of the Boutique from the man himself! If you're a big fan then you won't be disappointed but it is a typical followup to the last album which unfortunately will be forgotten quicker...
Norman cook's last album was good but his latest one - Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars is well...not good. Its ok for artists to change styles but i think such drastic change is brave at best. Middle tracks are halfway to been descent but beginning and ending gets a big thumbs down i'm afraid. And to think i actually ordered this befare it's release AND before hearing it. Well i can only say more fool me. Sorry cooky, better look next time round!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sunset (Bird of Prey)
2 Ya Mama
3 Talking Bout My Baby
4 Demons (feat. Macy Gray)
5 Song For Shelter (feat. Roland Clark)
7 Weapon of Choice (feat. Bootsy Collins)
8 Drop The Hate
9 Star 69
10 Love Life (feat. Macy Gray)
11 Mad Flava