Fatboy Slim

Though big beat never really exceeded its novelty status, artists like Fatboy Slim helped champion its thunderous dance-funk anthems into mainstream success. Songs such as "Praise You" and "Gangster Trippin'" became such commercial forces that they -- deliberately or not -- added to the soundtrack of our lives.

So maybe it's fatherhood or simply lack of ideas that's slowed down the Brighton native on his latest foray in sample-biting antics. It outshines his previous disappointment, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, but much of the fun on Palookaville seems to rehash the emotions of past glory or simply fade into the background. "Slash Dot Slash," with its brief aggro breaks, proves more slapdash as a leadoff single. Mr. Slim would've been better off choosing the potent Afro-house of "Jin Go Lo Ba" or the buoyant "Wonderful Night," featuring Lateef, as solid representations of his now sound. The closer, a sincere cover of Steve Miller's "The Joker," hints that he is ending the hedonistic half of his life story, minimizing his sound, and offering listeners fewer opportunities to praise him. Its result is mildly satisfying at best, succeeding in evoking shrugs rather than euphoria. -- Kiran Aditham

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