Album Review: Fatboy Slim ‘Big Beach Bootique 5’

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Kids and their dance music these days. When I was young, cell phones were the size of bricks, we had to be kind and rewind, MTV showed music videos and the beats were the size of the Empire State Building. There was none of the ‘wub-wub-wub’ dubstep malarkey — it was good, old-fashioned electronic big beat dance music!

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Yes, this is a facetious statement…for the most part. Dance music today, particularly the dubstep movement which is crushing it in the scene right now, is something this reviewer just can’t fully embrace. It was not long ago that my ‘generation’ of teens were donning UFO pants and throwing shapes into the ravetastic world of dance with men like Norman Cook AKA Fatboy Slim on the wheels of steel. And part of me misses the bigger than life beats, the drum machine fueled epic dance anthems that were our versions of Grateful Dead jam sessions. The big beats of The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx and of course, Fatboy Slim are sorely lacking in today’s mainstream electronic dance world.

Then, Norman Cook, comes bursting back into our brains this month with the music from Big Beach Bootique 5 — his famed outdoor Brighton, UK-based dance party where tens of thousands of people fall in love with the Funk Soul Brother’s playful, high-energy mixes, beats and samples.

What Big Beach Bootique 5 proves to the world of music is quite simple — he is still a golden god on the 1s and 2s.

Now this isn’t a live record, per say, it is all the tracks Cook spun at BBB5, but there’s not a lot of audible crowd noise on the crowd, with the exception of a few waves of cheers from the Brighton crowd. Frankly, this is okay because for a record like this, we don’t need crowd noising harshing the vibe created here. The set is really, really upbeat and head-bopping good time — it’s a constant driving force for 19 tracks, without ever getting overly long or lagging and with too much crowd involvement this probably would be the case.

The setlist is actually the most impressive thing about the entire record as there’s a lot of variety of songs on here, not just Cook’s greatest hits. And that’s why his mixing skills are so impressive — he’s mixing and blending all these disparate songs together creating big beat beauty. It’s not just a re-tread of hits — although for those wondering — “Praise You,” “Bird of Prey,” and “Star 69” are all on the record.

In the end if you want a damn good electronic dance music album, Big Beach Bootique 5 is an absolute must-own.

Fatboy Slim’s Big Beach Bootique 5 DVD and CDcan be purchased on his website, iTunes and Amazon.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites