Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. All shallow, all pure as a result--pure escape, pure delight, and, as the cavalcade of gospel postures at the end makes clear, pure spiritual yearning.
  2. Sniffy electronica purism aside though, Cook remains, if not the best overall producer in the dance world, certainly in its top rank, with an excellent ear for infectious hooks, tight beats, and irresistible grooves. On advice from friends the Chemical Brothers, Cook recruited collaborators for the first time -- nu-soul diva Macy Gray, funk legend Bootsy Collins, fellow superstar DJ/producer Roger Sanchez -- and the two tracks with Gray, "Love Life" and "Demons," are arguably the highlights of the entire album.
  3. Vigorous and wise, this is dance music for grown-ups, with Cook keenly aware that any number of spritely garage and trance chancers have stepped in while he's been away making babies. Rather than match them in the disco stakes, he's re-grouped and drawn on previously concealed depths instead.
  4. Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, despite a couple of missteps, is brimming with life.
  5. And though his search for dance-floor transcendence gives the album emotional heft as well as a sense of pacing, the best songs on Halfway are the ones that look straight into the gutter and dive right in, corny catchphrases and all. "Ya Mama" -- which will likely do for "Push the tempo" what "The Rockafeller Skank" did for "the funk soul brother" -- is sped-up, silly, and, in the end, one of the more memorable songs on the album. It's enough to make an auteur look back fondly on his car-commercial period.
  6. Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars won't prompt the inauguration of a Nobel Prize category for dance music, but like Armand Van Helden's Killing Puritans and the Chemical Brothers' 1999 gem Surrender, its another great example of a maturing dance artist learning to harness the ecstatic abandon of late night dance floor epiphanies to sentiments -- musical and emotional -- inventive and universal enough to flourish in the light of day.
  7. Fans of "Praise You"'s twisted but hooky soul or the beat-box bonanza "The Rockafeller Skank" may be a bit disappointed with this current collection. Not because the record is a thundering and cohesive example of sequencers used for good instead of evil, but because Fatboy's approach this go around is a lot less (new-) user friendly. The tracks are longer and more measured, many of them built around the ebb and flow so essential to dance music made for the clubs, as opposed to dance music made for TV dance shows.
  8. Cook hasn't given up the dance-floor stomps that made him a million-seller ...[but] the album isn't as much flat-out fun as You've Come a Long Way, Baby.
  9. Fatboy Slim (aka electronica pioneer Norman Cook) succeeds at the daunting task of assembling material that smartly courts pop listeners, while simultaneously maintaining loyalty to the club underground that's nurtured his career.
  10. Melodically repetitive, the songs only intermittently approach the energizing highs of earlier Fatboy cuts.
  11. Slim's Halfway only reaches heaven twice (Macy Gray's two star turns), and otherwise trolls, not in a gutter, but in what feels like interminable traffic. Most of Halfway's songs extend past the five minute mark, and like a movie that hasn't felt the firming up of a good editor's hands, they feel way too long. If guest vocalist Macy Gray hadn't shown up for Fatboy's party, Halfway might be the year's biggest letdown.
  12. He's ditched dusty folk LPs for guest appearances by stars such as Bootsy Collins and Macy Gray. Gentrification suits him. For all her classic-soul flare, Gray is fond of abrasive nuance. Her singing is the perfect analog counterpart to his techno-philia; those saliva-laden glitches turn her catch phrases into perfect little samples.
  13. With a deeper, more mature sound, Halfway sounds like the work of a producer in mid-career crisis making music inspired by the dancefloor, but not shackled to it. [12/2000, p.89]
  14. 60
    A post-masterpiece puzzler where the kicks just keep getting harder to find, spread-eagle between pop limitations and artistic aspirations. [12/2000, p.214]
  15. Little on Halfway is as immediately gratifying, or even as immediate, as its predecessor's hits, but that's not to say that any of these 11 new songs might not meet the same fate.... The Fatboy Slim assembly-line music machine is in full effect, and anyone looking for substance needn't bother. But to call this collection of sweet nothings half-assed would imply that there was much going on to begin with: The disc is business as usual, a big load of disposable fun and funk that's fluffier than cotton candy and just as weighty.
  16. Much of this album fails to engage.... There are lengthy attempts at covering too many bases, when fewer distractions would have allowed Cook to create music with direction, not just location and motion.
  17. 50
    Notwithstanding a few guaranteed pop hits, the new album will probably leave most dance diehards cold... the album's dance cuts stick to the typical sampling-and-looping aesthetic that's been a bit tired for a while. [#79, p.123]
  18. A halfway successful attempt by Cook to stake his claim as Serious Artist.... Cook started work on Halfway feeling paralyzed by the problem of how to bypass big beat's exhausted fastbreaks-acidriffs-oldskoolsamples formula. He found his path by partially abandoning breakbeats in favor of house's hypnotic four-to-the-floor, and by bringing in what he's called an "almost gospelly" flavor.... It's surprising, though, how much dated, big-beat-style pummel you have to endure before the almost gospel vibe's glorious return.
  19. 40
    Obviously trying to explore horizons beyond big beat (a genre now loathed by many in his native England), Cook diversifies his palette but, as the title unfortunately foreshadows, he only gets Halfway there.
  20. 40
    Cook has attempted to vary the Fatboy formula here but it's all gone a bit "mature".
  21. 20
    Halfway applies Cook's fading trademark of playful repetition to similarly crackly sampling and comes up almost wholly unlikable. [#48, p.89]
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. DJSloves
    Sep 2, 2004
    10
    THis is not Shadow,infact this is a LIGHT and brilliant Classic Album
  2. Jeff
    Mar 20, 2002
    10
    When it comes to creativity and coming up with a unique sound. Fatboy slim is where you are going to find both! Way to go Norman! Another awesome album. Full Review »
  3. PhilM.
    Dec 15, 2001
    10
    This Album Whips the Horse's ASS!