'Praise You' provided man of the moment Norman Cook with his first Number One single as Fatboy Slim... Norman was awarded the '99 Brit for Best British Dance Act - over ten years since he won his first Brit Award as a member of the Housemartins for Best British Newcomer.Cook's only solo chart topper arrived, funnily enough, as the third single from his second album in this guise. It was one of those cases where it felt like a matter of time before he got a Number One anyway, such was the excitement around the album, and perhaps the record company even chose to hold back this crowd-pleasing single for an opportune time in the spring. It's certainly a song of broader appeal than 'The Rockafeller Skank' and 'Gangsta Trippin', both of which featured highly repetitive vocal samples. 'Praise You', by contrast, has a more conventional song structure and a full vocal, derived from Camille Yarborough's 'Take Yo' Praise', which most people would never have heard before. I'm not accusing Cook of anything here, though, it's not as if he pretended it was him singing; and in this case at least it's clear that he's acted out of affection for the source material, blending it with various other samples and reviving it for a wider and younger audience.
The other thing everybody remembers of this is of course the promo video, directed by and starring Spike Jonze. If anything it seems a little ahead of its time - it looks more at home on YouTube, where we're used to seeing videos shot in public without proper lighting, and where people publicly sharing their own interpretation of a popular song is commonplace. One of the actors who played a dancer posted a sort of making-of video although most of it seems to have been cribbed from a tacky BBC3 I Love 1999 segment. Towards the end there's a brief excerpt of future Cook collaborator David Byrne showing his autocue-reading skills, which are as convincing as you'd expect.
To tell the truth, I'd got a bit tired of this song because it was so ubiquitous for so long, and these days I'm as likely to listen to the flipside 'Sho Nuff', but I still have fundamental affection for this record and it's here that Disc 2 starts to get good.
Also appearing on: Now 40, 41, 43
Available on: Cruel Intentions