Release Date: 11.07.00
Record label: astralwerks
A Little Less Funk, A Lot More Soul
by: bill aicher
Big beat house... it's a beautiful thing really. It can transform a seemingly random churning of bodies on a dancefloor into a synchronized display of love for a higher power. A power of soul and the love held therein - a love shared by countless individuals worldwide. A love and feeling of inner peace shared by those spiritually enlightened individuals - the club kids.
Doubt if you will, but not before listening... no, feeling a Fatboy Slim record. In the dark club late at night; on the dancefloor as sweat drips down your face. As you wipe it off, smile, and keep right on moving.
Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars will enlighten you. It will take you to that place where it's ok to have fun. It's ok to move. It's ok to love.
Fatboy Slim's third record (under the moniker Fatboy Slim) marks a maturation in the big beat style he has all but trademarked through his last two offerings, Better Living Through Chemistry and You've Come a Long Way Baby. The maturation is made obvious within the first few seconds of the opening track, "Talking Bout My Baby," a piano-driven soulidified number in the vein of "Praise You." However, instead of continual use of repeated samples, this time around Mr. Cook has put more focus on creating songs with lyrical lines and verses layered upon the samples he has made himself famous through.
The use of vocalist Macy Gray on the funkdified "Love Life" and the haunted extended segue of "Demons" are the results of Fatboy's soul searching, especially after the massive (albeit unwanted) pop status he achieved after 1998's You've Come a Long Way Baby. Toss in guest vocals from Parliament Funkadelic's Bootsy Collins on "Weapon of Choice" (the album's truest dance track), Roland Clarke (of Armand Van Helden's "Flowerz" fame) on the closing dance opus, "Song For Shelter," and the ghost vocals of Jim Morrison on "Sunset (Bird of Prey)" and the transition from funk to soul of this brother is made abundantly clear.