Fatboy Slim delivers the big-beat techno sounds that he is famous for. This Funk Soul Brother may be a middle-aged white guy named Norman Cook, but on this release, he proves that he can lay down the beats with the best of them.
Cook’s pop approach to techno has made him one of the leading techno artists. Cook builds his tracks from almost nothing. He takes a few samples and speeds them, slows them, and slices and dices them until the original sound is twisted into rhythmic noise. On top of his manipulated samples, he lays down big beat grooves that turn his almost avant-garde sound manipulation into danceable tunes.
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby has some of Fatboy’s most popular tracks on it. “The Rockafeller Skank” is one of those tunes that is immediately likeable and sticks in your head. The track features a sample of the words “Right about now, the Funk Soul Brother. Check it out, now, the Funk Soul Brother.” That’s it for the lyrics, but Slim manipulates the sample in so many ways that it makes the song unforgettably catchy.
“Praise You” is the closest thing to a straight pop song on the CD. The lyrics are simple and direct:
“We’ve come a long long way together,
Through the hard times and the good,
I have to celebrate you baby,
I have to praise you like I should”
On the chorus, Slim takes the phrase “I have to praise you”, and repeats it over another groove. The combination of catchy beats, techno-sliced vocal samples, and reverential love lyrics make it a great cut.
The other tracks use similar techniques to create big-beat dance tunes. Other great tracks are “Right Here, Right Now”. It uses a wordless chorus and string samples to back up a female rapper shouting the title lyrics. “You’re Not from Brighton” reworks the old-school lo-fi sampledelic sound that groups like the Beastie Boys and De La Soul perfected in the 80’s.
Unfortunately, one track will make most listeners reach for the remote. “Fatboy Slim is Fucking in Heaven” repeats the obnoxious sample over and over. If it were provocative or sexy, the track might be interesting, but it’s just monotonous repetition of the title:
“Fatboy Slim is fucking in heaven
Fatboy Slim is fucking in heaven
Fatboy Slim is fucking in heaven”
The last track, “Acid 8000” is a techno track, heavy on the 303. Slim always seems to throw on a 303 techno track, and for that, we have to praise him like we should. Slim takes a TB-303 bassline, a drum machine and a handful of samples and turns it into a driving cut that techno fans will appreciate. “If this don’t make your booty move, your booty must be dead!”
On You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, he’s at the top of his form, delivering big-beat cuts for dancing and driving.