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Cover Art Fatboy Slim
You've Come A Long Way, Baby
Rating: 8.2

She's the cutest little thing-- pure good- vibe granola- chik kinda cute. We all love her, she loves us, smiles, laughs and packs it up for us without hesitation. Our little hippie angel. I don't want to change her, really, but I sense a desire to broaden musical horizons tinging her radiance. We start to talk about trance, and when I pontificate at length about my introduction to tek-no, I can feel her open mind burning with curiosity. I profess that I shall do my utmost to introduce her to the wild and wolly world of electronic music. Her smile has misgivings, but her eagerness shines through.

Fast- forward to a few days later. We're in the doper's den hittin' the three- foot tobacco- master in preparation to see a late screening of "The Wizard Of Oz." I'm mentally still preparing the mix tape list for her. We're all talking about the bleak childhood terror of the first time we saw the Wicked Witch die. It's time then, and we head for my buddy's car. He's got a penis- envy car with a helluva sound system. I bring Fatboy Slim for the trip to the theatre.

I'm hearing it now, not just as a tekno- lover but thru the virgin ears of a girl that has ingested more Grateful Dead and Phish than any one human should have to bear. What a strange thing Fatboy Slim must sound like to her; the repetition of phrases like "fuckin' in heaven" and "the funk soul brother/ check it out now." Is she prepared to eschew traditional narrative structure and seek the trancelike state more like looking at an eye candy poster than listening to a poem?

Curious. To my ears, Norman has managed to assemble a truly sublime piece of music, only to be used when willing to let it move in and take over your head. Though his flagrant self- promotion in the first few tracks turned me off initially, I find myself hearing beat progressions that seem new every time, emerging from the maddening repetition like a welcome dream. She sat in the back seat, silently for a while, and asked "Um, what are we listening to?" I told her, and she responded: "Hmm..." I heard the climaxes building, the tempo changing, the sheer simple stupidity delighting some secret place in my drug- addled hypothalmus. I guess people are going to be calling this "big beat" 'cause Norman virtually started that short- term market push. But goddamn-- this shit feels much more like trance than his previous album, Better Living Trough Chemistry. Less real, but more entrancing. It gives itself over to pure rhythm, and it works pretty damn well. Oh look, we're here.

I look through the back window, and she looks confused. I know that Fatboy Slim is the wrong place to start this babe of the garden, but it's a sight, ain't it? Her eyes are glassy-- I love that in a woman. She's disturbed, doesn't see the light, and wants Jerry. I understand. I let her go to him, and make a mental note to be gentle on the mix. She's too far gone not to save. I just hope I can help her.

-James P. Wisdom

"Right Here, Right Now"

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10.0: Essential
9.5-9.9: Spectacular
9.0-9.4: Amazing
8.5-8.9: Exceptional; will likely rank among writer's top ten albums of the year
8.0-8.4: Very good
7.5-7.9: Above average; enjoyable
7.0-7.4: Not brilliant, but nice enough
6.0-6.9: Has its moments, but isn't strong
5.0-5.9: Mediocre; not good, but not awful
4.0-4.9: Just below average; bad outweighs good by just a little bit
3.0-3.9: Definitely below average, but a few redeeming qualities
2.0-2.9: Heard worse, but still pretty bad
1.0-1.9: Awful; not a single pleasant track
0.0-0.9: Breaks new ground for terrible