Album Reviews

Fatboy Slim – Big Beach Boutique 2

UK release date: 7 October 2002

Lord of the Dance Fatboy Slim returns with the key tracksfrom July’s unbelievably riotous Big Beach Boutique 2, the epic tabloidbothering jamboree that attracted about two million people to the Brighton seafront (okay, maybe it was closer to 250,000) one summer Saturday.Excitable red tops predictably focused on the negative aspects that emerged,like the unfortunate handful of fatalities and alleged environmental damageto the beach. However, the enormous popularity of the Fatboy was clearlydemonstrated by the fact that 210,000 more people turned up than wasexpected. The man truly is a dance legend.

His story has been told many times before, the early days in theHousemartins, the depression and liberal drug use, the millionalbums sold, the hundreds of alter egos, Zoe Ball and Woody, thesuperstar DJ. You have to admire Norman Cook for his ability to riseabove the tough times and succeed, but also for his humble attitude tostardom. This ain’t no moody DJ with a king-size chip on his shoulder, just agrounded guy who loves what he does, and is not afraid to show it.

What’s more, Norman’s gift for creating and selecting records thatdemand to be danced to is unsurpassed. Okay, so his mode of thinking isunashamedly populist, but really, who cares. This is a guy with his fingerfirmly on the pulse of the wider dance nation, not the geeky undergroundtrainspotters. His heart probably beats at around 120 bpm.

And the music? Exactly what you would expect, but this itself is nobad thing. Chunky, groovily funky party house, topped by plenty of singalong vocal samples. Several recent favourites are present and correct, fromthe likes of Tim Deluxe‘s Ibiza gem It Just Won’t Do through toMint Royale‘s bold as brass Sexiest Man In Jamaica. And Norman isnot afraid to plunder from the past either. The Midfield General‘suplifting Reach Out gets the party started, whilst Groove Armada‘sbassy stunner Superstylin’ takes the bpms up a notch or two.Camisra‘s undeniably large Let Me Show You gives the mix a big fatrocket up its’ arse and fittingly the Fatboy finishes with his own re-editof the really rather ace Pure Shores.

This is a mix album that wears its smile loud and proud. It’shaving a ball and is not scared of letting people know. It’s not packed with’hip’ or ‘ironic’ electroclash crap favoured by urbanites with funnyhaircuts. It might not be the ‘coolest’ dance album you could buy this sideof Shoreditch but quite frankly, I couldn’t give a monkey’s nuts. This is acollection tailor made to give people a fantastic time and no more,regardless of fly by night fads, and that’s more than good enough forme.

For those that were at Brighton beach in July this album willundoubtedly bring the memories flooding back. For those that weren’t, I’drecommend you get this anyway as it’s damned fine. A BBB3 is not confirmed,so this is a great chance to grab a slice of dance history. After all, whenwas the last gig you went to that was attended by a quarter of a million people?

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More on Fatboy Slim
Fatboy Slim – Why Try Harder: The Greatest Hits
Fatboy Slim – Palookaville
Fatboy Slim – Big Beach Boutique 2