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Better Living Through Chemistry

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Nov. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Skint Records
  • ASIN: B000024NPY
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,216 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Song for Lindy
  2. Santa Cruz
  3. Going Out of My Head
  4. Weekend Starts Here
  5. Everybody Needs a 303
  6. Give the Po' Man a Break
  7. 10th & Crenshaw
  8. First Down
  9. Punk to Funk
  10. Sound of Milwaukee
  11. Michael Jackson
  12. Next to Nothing

Product Description

Product Description

After a second coming with chart-toppers Beats International followed his stint in The Housemartins, Cook had an acid house epiphany. He got into making tunes under names like Pizzaman and Mighty Dub Katz, as well as co-founding Freak Power. But it was as Fatboy Slim that he captured the good-time zeitgeist and eventually became one of the late-90s' formidable superstar DJs. His debut, Better Living Through Chemistry, is more of a compilation than a proper album per se. Much of it had already been released, either as singles or via Skint's Brassic Beats series. Indeed, along with Skint, he helped spearhead an array of chiefly Brighton-based bangingness at the Big Beat Boutique club night (a sort of south coast response to London's Heavenly Social). This paved the way for the likes of Midfield General, Lo-Fidelity Allstars, Bentley Rhythm Ace and X-Press 2 to follow. The blueprint was already there: the beats were big, the house was mostly acid; the funkier end of crate-dug breaks prevailed, and there were cheeky lifts and samples ahoy. Santa Cruz borrows Lulu's tremendous Love Loves to Love Love, Going Out of My Head batters I Can't Explain, and Punk to Funk masterfully deploys Keith Mansfield's Young Scene. The key track, however, was Everybody Needs a 303: a champion acid monster of a tune, it encapsulates the Fatboy ethos in just under six minutes. Sixteen years on, Better Living Through Chemistry stands tall as the sound of abandon and messiness, a joyous soundtrack to an era of caning it and the third (or fourth... or fifth?) Summer of Love. Though you'll probably have to ask your parents what that thing on the cover is.

BBC Review

To some, it seemed a peculiar moment during the Olympic closing ceremony when Norman Cook popped out of a bus in a giant inflatable octopus, bringing his giddy rave action to proceedings. He belonged there, though. Fellow performers the Spice Girls and Liam Gallagher may’ve sold more in the 90s; but you’d be a fool to forget Norman’s role as the go-to party-starter from the latter half of the decade.

After a second coming with chart-toppers Beats International followed his stint in The Housemartins, Cook had an acid house epiphany. He got into making tunes under names like Pizzaman and Mighty Dub Katz, as well as co-founding Freak Power. But it was as Fatboy Slim that he captured the good-time zeitgeist and eventually became one of the late-90s’ formidable superstar DJs.

His debut, Better Living Through Chemistry, is more of a compilation than a proper album per se. Much of it had already been released, either as singles or via Skint’s Brassic Beats series.

Indeed, along with Skint, he helped spearhead an array of chiefly Brighton-based bangingness at the Big Beat Boutique club night (a sort of south coast response to London’s Heavenly Social). This paved the way for the likes of Midfield General, Lo-Fidelity Allstars, Bentley Rhythm Ace and X-Press 2 to follow.

The blueprint was already there: the beats were big, the house was mostly acid; the funkier end of crate-dug breaks prevailed, and there were cheeky lifts and samples ahoy. Santa Cruz borrows Lulu’s tremendous Love Loves to Love Love, Going Out of My Head batters I Can’t Explain, and Punk to Funk masterfully deploys Keith Mansfield’s Young Scene.

The key track, however, was Everybody Needs a 303: a champion acid monster of a tune, it encapsulates the Fatboy ethos in just under six minutes.

Sixteen years on, Better Living Through Chemistry stands tall as the sound of abandon and messiness, a joyous soundtrack to an era of caning it and the third (or fourth… or fifth?) Summer of Love. Though you’ll probably have to ask your parents what that thing on the cover is.

--John Aizlewood

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I bought this after hearing the "Funk Soul Brother" tune on the radio! (Though it ain't on this album). It must be said that the best tunes here are growers, but grow they most definitely do. Song for Lindy and Santa Cruz, as well as Sound of Milwaukee are my favourites, but it's all quality one way or another. In my opinion it's this masterpiece, rather than his recent albums, that shows him for the genius that he obviously is. The quick tempo stuff rocks, and the slow stuff is really hauntingly beautiful.
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By A Customer on 4 Jan. 2001
Format: Audio CD
If you're a fan of Fatboy Slim and haven't yet laid your hands on this masterpiece then get your act together. Better Living Thru Chemistry, the first of Norman Cook's (aka Fatboy Slim) major albums is a must not only for die-hard fans but anybody fond of dance music. The album is typical of the later releases with groovy bass lines and jazzy synthesised samples. There is a mixture of "get up and dance" songs such as Everybody needs a 303 (my personal favourite) and songs to "chill out to" such as The weekend starts here. Other brilliant tracks are Going out of my head and Give the po'man a break. Many of the tracks are essentially the foundation of some tracks on the 2nd album, "You've come a long way baby" so if you liked that album then this album is a must-buy for you. The biggest surprise is the fact that when you first listen to the album, you'll have heard the songs before but won't know where. A significant number have popped up in various TV ads across the world, such is their appeal. The best thing about the album in my opinion is the fact that you never get tired of it. Every listen reveals some new element which adds to the freshness of the music even after a year in my case. Unlike other dance albums, this one certainly merits a place on your cd-stack. Remember, a Fatboy Slim album is "not just for Christmas, it's for life".
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By A Customer on 25 Mar. 2001
Format: Audio CD
I only bought this album because I am a completist and I had the other two but it is probably the best album I own. I don't believe until I bought this I had ever enjoyed every song on an album before but I did this time. In my opinion it's defintely Norman's finest. Smooth beats, funky choons, even overplayed (and I have) it sounds fantastic. 'Out Of Your Head' is the best by far-it's a famous song-it's just that no one realises it! Brilliant! Inexpensive! BUY IT NOW!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Despite the fact that this was the FBS album I appeared to know least songs on, after a listen through I realised I had heard at least half of them before and boy are they awesome tunes! Slim at his best, this is probably my favourite of his work aside from you've come a long way. Definitely recommend this to anyone who is into Fatboy Slim or anything similar! If anything get it just for Everybody Needs a 303 and Going Out of My Head!
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By A Customer on 27 Jan. 2001
Format: Audio CD
I couldn't resist writing a review for this album, after seeing the two above reviews, first of all, this album IS the best album he has ever releaced. What makes this album so succesful, and enjoyable, is that it isn't commercial as his other two albums. This album shows pure quality from start to finish. If your thinking of buying a Norman Cook album, this is the one to buy.
TWO THUMBS FOR NORMAN COOK!!!
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Format: Audio CD
This is a classic album. Although not commercially successful it mixes the best of acid, punk, house and funk with the biggest brassic beats around. Everyone tune is anthemic and your favourite track will always change-be it Song for Lindy at first, then punk to Funk the next listen-BRILLIANT
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Format: Audio CD
Back in 1997, Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook was one of the first to pioneer the "big beat" sound that battered dancefloors up and down the country, and abroad, and their mixture of old funk, 303s, heavy dirty beats and strange samples really made Fatboy Slim's career go off with a bang. This album, his début really made his career. He was obviously lost in so many pseudonyms (Pizza Man, Freakpower etc) that this was a good project for him, and really made his career more concrete. Tracks like Everybody Needs A 303, with it's hazy lyrics, distorted 303s blazing away and beats really shook the foundations of house music. Other greats include the more chilled out and conscience The Weekend Starts Here, which is so blissful and worth slipping in at the end of the mix.

Every track on here is a gem, and hits like Going Out Of Ny Mind made him more mainstream, as people liked the lyrics, his four chord guitar part, and the stuttery beats - the start of the album is amazing, with Song for Lindy borrowing classic rave chords to perfection.

This is one of the greats of big beat, and made a great leap for Skint Records as well as the scene itself - even though it wasn't as murky as The Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust it still is a very valid album and worth every penny. Hopefully Norman will be coming back with something just as fun as his last album Palookaville, but for now, remember his better days, when he was still niche and made some great 12" records.
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By A Customer on 31 Dec. 2000
Format: Vinyl
If you're a fan of Fatboy Slim and haven't yet laid your hands on this masterpiece then get your act together. Better Living Thru Chemistry, the first of Norman Cook's (aka Fatboy Slim) major albums is a must not only for die-hard fans but anybody fond of dance music. The album is typical of the later releases with groovy bass lines and jazzy synthesised samples. There is a mixture of "get up and dance" songs such as Everybody needs a 303 (my personal favourite) and songs to "chill out to" such as The weekend starts here. Other brilliant tracks are Going out of my head and Give the po'man a break. Many of the tracks are essentially the foundation of some tracks on the 2nd album, "You've come a long way baby" so if you liked that album then this album is a must-buy for you. The biggest surprise is the fact that when you first listen to the album, you'll have heard the songs before but won't know where. A significant number have popped up in various TV ads across the world, such is their appeal. The best thing about the album in my opinion is the fact that you never get tired of it. Every listen reveals some new element which adds to the freshness of the music even after a year in my case. Unlike other dance albums, this one certainly merits a place on your cd-stack. Remember, a Fatboy Slim album is "not just for Christmas, it's for life".
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