The Greatest Hits - Why Try Harder

All the best from the lord of the big beat for more than a decade, British DJ Norman Cook, a.k.a. Fatboy Slim, has bridged the gap between break beats and silly little pop songs better than anyone. This smartly compiled best-of showcases Cook's late-Nineties hits ("Praise You"); stupid-fun bangers with whimsical, gratuitously repeated vocal samples ("Sho Nuff"); buoyant remixes of other people's songs ("Brimful of Asha"); and a smidgen of moodier esoterica ("Sunset [Bird of Prey]"). It doesn't take long to identify the common elements here: big beats, can't-miss hooks and a hip-hop DJ's tendency to draw sounds from all over. But if it were so easy, everybody would do it. The riotous Everybody Loves a Carnival takes Brazilian samba to a rave, and "That Old Pair of Jeans" — one of two new songs here, both good — is a warm retro-soul jam featuring Latryx vocalist Lateef. Slim's heyday as a hit machine may have passed, but this collection is a vivid reminder that everyone's still invited to his party.