Rolling Stone - p.1064 stars out of 5
-- "This smartly compiled best-of showcases Cook's late Nineties hits; stupid fun bangers with whimsical, gratuitously repeated vocal samples; buoyant remixes...and a smidgen of moodier esoterica."
Q - p.1234 stars out of 5
-- "[G]athered together they sound like music from another planet entirely..."
Personnel: Sharon Woolf (vocals).
Audio Mixer: Simon Thornton.
Audio Remixers: Fatboy Slim; Norman Cook.
WHY TRY HARDER? marks a decade in the illustrious career of Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. As one of the prime movers of the big-beat genre, Cook has arguably done more to popularize global dance music culture than any other artist. This collection highlights songs that have become not only club anthems but staples on mainstream radio, MTV, and throughout pop culture in general. Fatboy Slim's formula for chart-topping success is then all the more surprising since his tracks are not usually "songs" in the traditional sense--rather, they consist mostly of breakbeats and vocal samples from classic soul and R&B.
Tracks like "Rockafeller Skank" and "Praise You" are trademark Fatboy Slim--showcasing Cook's uncanny ability to weave samples as disparate as surf guitar and gospel vocals into a propulsive dance mix. If the entire collection featured such DJ-friendly material, it would make for a fine party album. But the song "Sunset (Bird Of Prey)" displays Cook's more contemplative side. Mixing a spectral Jim Morrison a cappella sample over ambient synth washes, the track is the emotive apogee of a triumphant career retrospective.