Fatboy Slim – Better Living Through Chemistry

Before “Rockefeller Skank” and “Praise You”, Fatboy Slim released this 1977 techno album. It’s full of bass and big beats, and like much of Slim’s music, it makes extensive and original use of sampled loops. It targets the dance floor, and the beats and songs are heavy enough and catchy enough to do the trick.

There’s a lot to like on Better Living Through Chemistry. He samples from a variety of artists, and uses the samples in unique ways. Some are well-known riffs, like the guitar hook from the Who’s “Can’t Explain”. Others you probably won’t recognize, but are catchy as well. Slim’s tracks are less trance-like than many loop-based bands, such as the Chemical Brothers. His cuts are relatively short, and often have a lot of variety to them, and song-like structures.

There are several standout cuts on the album . Who can argue with Fatboy Slim when he suggests that “Everybody Needs a 303”, in an acid ode to the TB 303? I can’t. Too bad there aren’t enough to go around.

“Give the Po’ Man a Break” takes that phrase and turns it into a catchy chorus. “The Weekend Starts Here” stakes out different territory with its jazzy sampled feel. This cut is a good example of the way Slim delivers a variety of grooves, unlike many techno artists.

The weakest cut is probably “Michael Jackson”. This has some interesting sample work on it, but the lack of depth make the song become tiresome.

Slim’s loop-based style is in abundance on this CD, and there’s more than enough beats, 303 bassline, and catchy hooks to keep dance electronica fans happy.

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