Fatboy Slim – You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby (1998)

Fatboy Slim became a household name with this release. It’s a decent listen for sure, and is a nice mixture between big beat and other electronic sounds. Let’s dive in and have a listen, track by track.

We begin with the eerie sounding Right Here Right Now which is an EDM classic. It takes a while to build up, but when it hits you, it hits very well. It’s a great dance number with many different sections to boot. It has a great midsection and climax, short story of the tune is that is a great tune to listen to, despite the fact it goes well over five minutes. It finishes with some interesting radio chatter, before leading into the next tune.

The next one perhaps is even better. The Rockafeller Skank is an optimistic and cheerful tune with some country-esque Telecaster sounding licks and some other great samples. It never bores once through the listen, and has an ear busting (in a good way) climax with more multi-sectioned goodies sound wise. A good listen.

Fucking In Heaven is ridiculous sounding for THAT sampled quote. This one seems a little overkill for that reason, it’s a good piece without sounding great. It still has its moments, sounding rather comical. It’s throwaway, but decent for a South Park sort of tune. It does have some, once again, good midsection based sounds. Nice.

Gangster Trippin is a much more listenable tune than the previous one. It sounds really good, with alternating sections as well with some alternating samples and melodies. This sort of music isn’t played much at parties or in regular day-to-day life, so it is worth a listen for that purpose. Much like the other songs on this album, it is fairly repetitive, mind you.

The next piece is fairly meh. Build It Up, Tear It Down is merely an exercise in doing that to a dance track, with mixed results. No doubt a fan favourite, but it just lacks quality. Better examples of dance tracks out there have done this sort of thing. Just very, meh.

Following that is a vast improvement. Kalifornia has some weird sound effects and samples to boot. But it’s quite enjoyable. Suitable for a road trip or something similar, it’s a good listen throughout. The beats are quite heavy for sure, propelling this piece along very well. The outro is pretty different.

Soul Surfing is a crowd pleaser. It’s sort of a mixture between a soul and funk pastiche. It’s an adventurous and nice listen. There are many different guitar based samples and some unusual breakdowns. A nice listen, but like much of the album, good, but not great.

You’re Not From Brighton is quirky. It’s likely considered by many to be a filler track, but sounds so cartoon like and different that it does necessitate listening. Sounds not like out of a Donald Duck cartoon or something similar, it sure is interesting. Guessing the tune here, not a lot of us are from Brighton, UK, either. A basic, slowed down outro leads into the next piece.

Probably the defining Fatboy Slim piece is here, Praise You is a good-vibe and uplifting piece with a piano riff, a variety of samples and many different tasty sounds. It kind of blows away a lot of the other songs on the album. It segues to and from the piano riff to an organ led midsection. It’s a good listen. There is some beatboxing here if you listen closely as well.

Following up is Love Island. This could be a reference to Ibiza, the club paradise of the world, off the coast of Spain. Google that one, if you don’t know about it. The song has a very moving intro, before launching into a static sounding acid-like piece with some interesting peaks and troughs. By this point, we recognise the album as a good, yet not great listen. It’s still worth the time if you can put that into the recording itself.

Acid 8000 finishes the album. It’s a beatastic and extended piece for a long period of dancing, in or out of home. Some pulsating sounds make up this one. “It’s so easy to get acid, you can get it anywhere,” launches the more danceable section of this one. The baby screaming is unnecessary and annoying.

This album is okay, but only okay. The main thing letting it down is the length of the album, which is excessively long. If 10-15 minutes were chopped off some of the songs, this would be a much better listen. Still, it’s better than most EDM compilations out there right now, which gives it a sort of place in history. But still, it could be bettered here.

6/10

Korn – Follow The Leader (1998)

Nu Metal was seen mostly as a niche genre of heavy metal music. Before the release of this album the genre and band were not taken very seriously by music listeners. This album, Follow The Leader, changed that. It made Korn into superstars.

Does the album live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

We begin with the weird sounding It’s On! which then has a groove based beat and some freaky sounding distorted guitars. We head into Nu Metal territory right here, and it sounds demonic. Jonathan Davis’s ripping vocals enter the scene. The groovy sounding chorus hits you. A good way to start the album. It is totally different to most music out there.

The next song is Freak On A Leash. It’s about being ripped apart by emotions. The drumming here is excellent with rolling snare beats, leaving the rest of the band filling in with the distorted guitars and quiet/loud dynamics. The chorus is strange uplifting for a singer sounding like he is having some personal issues at hand. It’s brilliant though. Catchy too. The drop tuned guitars are fantastic to hear.

Got The Life, another hit single, is very catchy. It sounds like satanic disco, and the interplay between the instruments and singing are top notch. Jonathan Davis sounds like a man full of fear and rage, not many singers can fit that description. It is still a great listen today. It refers to a God that hates oneself. If you are Christian, stay away from this album. It is certain heavy listening.

Dead Bodies Everywhere is a slow start with a toy sounding melody, before bursting into a Nu Metal style danceable tune. That’s right, these guys had a great sense of musical accomplishment at hand. It’s not as strong as the two before it, but it’s a deeply disturbing listen. There is some semi wah-wah guitar sounds in the breakdown too.

The rebellious Children Of The Korn is a rap/metal piece. It sounds better than you’d expect. It’s just different, in a good way. It seems more subtle than what came before. Ice Cube is featured here as the rapper, and does a great job. This sort of song would likely have got some good attention here for Korn.

The next piece, B.B.K. sounds creepy. It’s designed to sound that way. This is almost like Industrial Music in the respect that it sounds rather freaky. But in any case, it still sounds consistent to listen to. The semi rapped jibberish on this one is interesting as well. This album is very heavy indeed.

Pretty is not what you’d expect. It sounds monstrous in the chorus, whilst being quieter in the verses, a good Nirvana style trick. The lyrics are horrific, taking a likely influence from Death Metal or a similar source. Sort of a cross between Nirvana and Slayer. It’s effective though.

All In The Family is a rather disturbing tale of horrific sex. It’s not really worth mentioning in this review as it is rather disturbing lyrical adventure. It’s a good listen if you want to hear some freaky stuff though.

The next song, Reclaim My Place has some more unusual guitars and bass work once again, focuses on personal issues. Strangely enough, this seems to be the case throughout the album. It’s a lesser track on the album but still, it’s okay. It’s about fighting demons from within and without. The repeated screaming of the phrase: “WHAT THE FUCK?!” is epic and brilliant.

Up next is Justin. Surprisingly for a Nu Metal band, these guys can groove too. This is a case in point, this is a heavy, groove based piece. It has some good wah-wah guitar and multi-tracked sound effects and vocals. This makes for a compelling listen. Korn sounding heavier than most forms of music out there, and this is an example of that. This song is rather long though, it could have benefitted from some editing here. Otherwise, it’s okay.

Seed begins with some quiet sounds, before launching into more Nu Metal goodness. It is rather slow to begin with, but once Jonathan Davis begins singing, we are back in Nu Metal territory. It sounds like a plea for help from the singer here. It breaks down into a mid-section with bass guitar and excellent drumming, before beginning to rock hard. It’s a surprising listen all the way through.

Cameltosis begins with some goosebump inducing sounds, sounding like a distorted electric sitar. It then goes into a song asking a woman of fancy what she wants sexually. You could only imagine the restrictions by those who find this album scary towards others, namely parents and authorities. This is not light music at all, it is some of the heaviest music you will hear. The drum loop at the end is awesome.

The next song, My Gift To You starts with, get this, bagpipe style sounds with Nu Metal guitars. It’s certainly different, but better than the last two songs for sure. It’s another great listen from the world of Nu Metal here. It has some down-pitched distorted vocals here too. Great stuff. It certainly sounds warped. The repeated screams about hating someone and feeling the pain are brilliant.

The last piece Earache My Eye starts with a spoken word piece. It seems totally unnecessary to begin with. The last piece here is a nonsensical Nu Metal piece. It finishes off the album quite nicely, and we come to a close here.

Nu Metal rose in popularity after the release of this album. It’s not the best album ever, but it’s not bad still. The only real drawback? Many of the songs here are quite long, some editing of the length of album would have helped. Otherwise, it is a good entry to the world of Nu Metal here.

7/10

Nickelback – The State (1998)

Ah…Nickelback. The most hated famous rock band to many. But back in their older days, they were actually musically decent. The State is one of their better albums, so cue the hysterical laughter, and here we go.

We begin with Breathe. It’s a pumping and pulsating rock tune that is actually quite good to listen to. There are some interesting chords and chord structures here, with some lyrics about social interaction. The breakdowns are interesting as well. It’s an almost political talk here. Interesting to listen to.

The follow up is the acoustic driven Cowboy Hat. It’s a weird tune that only Southern Americans with a twisted mind would enjoy. It talks perversely about weird relationships with…well if you listen to the song you’ll understand. A lot of the lyrics seem nonsensical, but the sound is fantastic.

Leader Of Men is an introspective and acoustic driven piece about considering what one has to say in life. It evolves into a strange love song of sorts, with great chords and nonsensical lyrics. It sounds very musically accomplished here.

Old Enough sounds quite, bad, really. It could have been rethought here, but the production powers this piece along. It does sound good in that respect, but is a very ordinary piece. Some questions are raised here about the quality of this song.

The pothead anthem Worthy To Say comes next. It’s a brilliant piece about weed and paranoia, and seems catchy enough for the mainstream audience. A great song, with some great sound effects here. Mint. “They’re growing dope everywhere around the block,” indeed.

The next song Diggin’ This is a song about wasting time. These guys here at this point were very musically accomplished. There is a great deal of variation in their chord structures, sound effects and structures here. A good listen.

Deep doesn’t sound that deep musically, but it’s a good tune anyway. It has some tripped out guitar sounds midway through, which add to the song. An interesting listen with a drum solo midway through as well, or is it? Adds to the album here. The producer here deserves kudos for the interesting sounds at hand.

One Last Run is a good listen. It sounds more uptempo and varied in terms of playing and structure here, adding something extra to the album. A good song. The drummer sounds like he is having good fun here.

And a real stinker is here now. Not Leavin’ Yet sounds pretty awful. This is easily forgiven here as much of the rest of the album is good. But come on guys, if a track stinks, edit it at least, rather than leave it in its entirety. That is a poor error of Nickelback’s in retrospect.

The next song is much better. Hold Out Your Hand sounds cool, and has some interesting lyrics as well. It’s got some Nine Inch Nails esque percussion here as well, a nice touch. It’s just a mint song on the album. Cool interplay between the instruments here.

Leader of Men – Acoustic is the last one on the album. It’s a good take on the song earlier on, with strummed acoustic guitars here. It sounds melancholy and different. A good way to finish up here. Sounds just as good, if not better than the original.

This album is actually quite decent. It’s not perfect, but then again it’s a very good listen overall. Nickelback deserve more credit than what they often receive, and this is a good example of that status.

7/10

Kid Rock – Devil Without A Cause (1998)

Kid Rock seemingly came out of nowhere with this album, but he had spent many years trying to make it. He had three hit and miss albums prior to this landmark release, Devil Without A Cause. He had been arrested and thrown into jail overnight in 1997 upon being signed to his first major label recording deal. However, despite this, this album changed everything.

Bawitdaba begins our journey, and it has some awesome rap like chanting and screaming before bursting into a great rap/rock piece about Kid Rock’s world. It’s got some awesomely humourous and classy lyrics in it. A must listen – and a Kid Rock classic. The guitar riffs are just killer.

Cowboy follows, and is really very funny. It’s got a great chorus and lyrics otherwise. “Riding at night, because I sleep all day.” Cue the hysterical jokes. But that aside, it’s a great musical piece. Kid Rock does well here. Excellent stuff. Laugh out loud funny.

The title track Devil Without A Cause has the most funktastic wah-wah riff introducing us to the said devil himself, Kid Rock. This guy obviously knows how to rock a party, but does it in such a fantastic way that is imitable. The Kid has come of age here, and he would never look back.

The next piece was an early recording re-released for this album. I Am The Bullgod refers to god-knows-what. But it’s a catchy and upbeat piece, and great to listen to. It’s a classic Kid Rock piece, referring to himself as top dog and a pot god. What a legend.

Roving Gangster (Rollin’) is a funky and musically layered and textured piece telling us a little bit about Kid Rock, touring with Ice Cube when he was younger. He also refers to himself as a trucker and various other things. Yep, Kid Rock is self-obsessed but it’s a great listen nonetheless.

Wasting Time is about what Kid Rock likes to do best in his spare time. Believe it or not, the melodies and lyricism stand out well here. It’s not even a standout track but holds up well. “A little bit of love, that’s all I need. A little inspiration, and a bag of weed.” Classy.

The extended Welcome 2 the Party (Ode 2 the Old School) is a great old school rap like piece. It’s got many different sections and different elements to it, and Kid Rock lets loose towards the end. It’s fantastic, proof that Kid Rock was only just beginning in his musical path in life.

The funktastic I Got One for Ya’ is a great song with Kid Rock’s IDGAF attitude prevalent on it. It’s another great pastiche here, with a great outro. How does he do music like this? Only Kid Rock knows, or so we think.

Somebody’s Gotta Feel This is a rock/metal piece that delivers just really well to the listener and sounds rather Black Sabbath-like in its phrasing. It’s mega cool, and Kid Rock sounds inspired here.

Fist Of Rage is a screamer and shows how good Kid Rock is at vocal delivery. It features some well mixed and variable sounds here. It’s almost heavy metal here, except that Kid Rock is delivering it. Well done.

The answer to where Kid Rock gets his inspiration as the Devil Without A Cause is here: Only God Knows Why. It was written as a self-expression type piece starting during that night in jail but becomes a great serious song on its own. It’s self-obsessed as well for sure, but it is really touching as well. Not too bad here.

And after all that, we have a not-so-serious song at all, the rather awful but direct Fuck Off. Yes, that is what it is called. Anyway, it’s got some interesting lyrics. And guess what? An early Eminem part is here at the end, showing Kid Rock’s foresight in terms of recognising future talent. Interesting in that respect. In between this song and the next one, we have some real Kid Rock answering machine messages, which sound brutal. What a devil.

Where U At Rock follows, it’s a relatively catchy piece with Kid Rock showing some attitude here. It’s a little weaker as a song compared to some of the others, but it’s still Kid Rock being himself. Which isn’t a bad thing really, at least on record.

Black Chic, White Guy / I Am The Bullgod is a two-piece track. The first is a messed up true life story about Kid Rock’s life, a bad experience with an ex-girlfriend of his. The latter is a very good rework of I Am The Bullgod, which depending on your view, is either good or unnecessary. But it’s good anyway.

This record went platinum many times over and made Kid Rock famous. It’s a good record full of twists and turns, by a very humourous and selfish person, Kid Rock. Like him or not, he is here to stay in the music world and is no doubt very good at what he does.

8/10