An Ode To The Greatness That Is Fatboy Slim's 'Praise You' Video Clip
One of the all time best, 20 years down the track.
Words by Glenn Symmons.
Responsible for many of the greatest music videos that we hold near and dear, Spike Jonze has influenced music and pop culture enormously. Think iconic music videos such as the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage, Weezer’s Buddy Holly and of course the Fatboy Slim’s big beat classic videos, Weapon of Choice and Praise You. You've Come A Long Way, Baby, Fatboy Slim’s album from which those last two tracks come, turned 20 in 2018.
With the album also including songs such as Right Here Right Now, Rockafeller Skank and Gangster Tripping, You've Come A Long Way, Baby has become a cornerstone album in which has helped score many an advert, film, live event and everything in between.
Praise You, one of the greatest songs from Fatboy Slim, is the track responsible for one of the greatest ever music videos ever produced. Created and directed in 1998 by Spike Jonze, now known for acclaimed films such as Being John Malkovich, Her, Where the Wild Things Are and uh, the Jackass franchise, mustn’t be forgotten for his true contribution to music and pop culture.
Starting out his career by creating some of the worlds’ best skateboarding videos, Jonze has climbed the rungs of direction through music videos and advertisements, ultimately to make feature films and winning Academy Awards. But, in amongst the list of critically acclaimed media, it’s possible that Praise You is what Jonze is most well-known for.
According to NME (among many others), not only has Fatboy Slim's Praise You become a staple and icon of British music, but it’s helped define a soundtrack to the late-90s and early-noughties - and the fact that any conversation about the best music videos of all time reference it, plus an MTV Music Video Award (when they meant something), speaks for itself.
Typically found placed somewhere alongside music video greats like Thriller by Michael, The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony and Aphex Twin's Windowlicker, Praise You is not only an award winning banger, but a highly respected music video. Made on the cheap in 1998, Fatboy Slim agreed to Jonze’s idea for his then next hit - after originally pitching the idea to Fatboy for The Rockefeller Skank, Jonze ultimately directed and starred in the Praise You video under the pseudonym Richard Koufey. Jonze and the fictional interpretive dance troupe of elderly people called The Torrance Community Dance Group begin to launch into what they were hoping to be their best performance ever outside of an LA cinema… it’s hard to think otherwise.
Exciting performances and creative displays of music has always been a reality for Fatboy Slim, who has faced some of the largest crowds in the world. One relatively recent example, has been through the Brit’s 2018 Australian tour in which he sold out shows around the country. This and other massive performances over his 22 year tenure as the alias Fatboy Slim, playing the world’s largest gigs, festivals, stadiums and arenas have exacerbated his mainstream success.
I believe that among all of the critical success and rampant airplay, that Praise You should be remembered and respected for what it is: just a great song that’s undoubtedly become ingrained in your brain after the bulk-listens you’ve given it growing up.
From here, surely it’s only fair that we not only applaud the writer and performer of the iconic song, but also the director and performer of the one-of-a-kind music video, which was truly ahead of its time.