Essential Selection, Vol. One features the world's two most visible electronic music DJs in 2000, Fatboy Slim and Paul Oakenfold; these two DJs couldn't be any different in terms of style, but are quite similar in terms of popularity. Think of them as the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears of electronic music. On Fatboy Slim's mix, the well-known producer otherwise known as Norman Cook splices together a total of 18 quite eclectic dance tracks of varying styles. Many may sit back in wonder, listening to Cook mix from one charismatic track to the next in ways many would never attempt. But most well-seasoned electronic music listeners will realize by at least the second or third listen that Cook's approach relies heavily on novelty to wow listeners and works well the first time before the novelty wears off.
Oakenfold takes an entirely different approach than Cook, but similarly achieves little in terms of lasting quality. The notorious trance DJ found immense fame with his Tranceport album in the U.S., where he essentially edited together the ultimate trance anthems of the late '90s into one monolithic ride through the genre's most euphoric moments. Of course, now that Oakenfold has used all the genre's best songs on previous releases, his new material sounds second-rate in comparison The supposed peak moments of Oakenfold's set will make most anyone who has been listening to trance for more than a year simply roll his or her eyes; the cliched motifs and formal characteristics of trance found in songs such as this -- warm, lingering synth notes, a re-occurring melody every few minutes, the long-awaited breakdown, the tranquil lulls -- give the genre a bad name. . So if generic products equals customer satisfaction and effective marketing equals healthy profits, this album proves that Cook and Oakenfold are the McDonald's and Coca-Cola of electronic music.