Herald rating: * * * *
Aah, the memories. Who didn't own Norman Cook's blazing, big beat blockbuster, You've Come A Long Way, Baby in the summer of '98? His rollicking combination of funk, breakbeat, rock and hip-hop was like Moby and the Chemical Brothers sucking laughing gas together: so infectious, even house music haters were hooked.
Those who still spin it might wonder why they should splash out on a greatest hits but this is a reminder he was a masterful DJ and remixer with an ear for potential music of all persuasions. Who doesn't recall his absurdly bouncy Cornershop remix of Brimful of Asha, his insanely catchy take on Groove Armada's I See You Baby, the fact that he took Macy Gray in a new direction on Demons - or the Doors for that matter on Sunset: Bird of Prey?
Still, Why Try Harder doesn't deny that the best stuff happened during his most commercial time - The Rockafeller Skank, Praise You, Gangster Trippin, Right Here, Right Now and Going Out of My Head are included alongside tracks from his Better Living Through Chemistry. This also includes two new songs, Champion Sound (strange) and That Old Pair of Jeans (strangely compelling).
Big beat might sound shallow and repetitive to our modern ears but the man who did it best is still worth celebrating.
Verdict: We're gonna party like it's 1999
Label: Sony/BMGBy Rebecca Barry Hill Email Rebecca, Reviewed by Rebecca Barry