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The Prodigy

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    The Prodigy

    Fat Of The Land( 1997 )
    Smack My Bitch Up / Breathe / Diesel Power / Funky Shit / Serial Thrilla / Mindfields / Narayan / Firestarter / Climbatize / Fuel My Fire

    Where do I even begin, when faced with 'Smack My Bitch Up'. Oh, but it's a joke!! It's funny you see! It's all too easily misunderstood, or should that be all too easily understood. Sounds good turned up loud, even though the song has as much substance as someone claiming to be Elvis Presley reincarnated. And yes, the song is as offensive as hell. That's a relevant comparison you see, because The Prodigy are the Elvis Presley of our generation! They are clever, and bright and do all these loud, twisty, pounding dance/rock things, inspirational! Something new! Let's write a major in-depth article about them in The Sunday Times, hotcha! Because something is new doesn't mean it's good, and besides, 'The Fat Of The Land' just adds in rock beats to an already existing Prodigy template first heard at the turn of the nineties. So, not really new then? Did it change music? No, we're all still listening to the same things we always did. In fact, there are real signs that dance/techno music has definitely passed it's commercial peak. In 2002, The Prodigy came back with a new single, their first new material since this album. Absolutely nobody gave a flying fuck about it. Oh look, it sounded just like anything from this album! But, oh look. You liked this album, and on the face of it, the new material is just as good. Nothing new, even for The Prodigy, admittedly, but it's the same general musical 'quality'. So, why don't people give a damn? The Prodigy were thrown up by fashion, by the zeitgeist, and the more and more they added vocalists and band members, the more they moved away from their original one man in a bedroom line-up, the less believable and genuine they became. But, oh! 'Firestarter' had a 'funny' video! 'Diesel Power' is actually a genuinely good dance/techno tune! Oh, where do I even begin?

    Back in late 1990, to my friends, I predicted the death of dance music as a commercial force. I was very believable, and all my friends were relieved, as they really didn't like dance music. Fast forward five years, the UK charts were full of the stuff like never before, and artists such as Orbital and Aphex Twin happily made their way into my own record collection, to become favourites of mine. But, there is a huge gulf developing between the likes of Boards Of Canada, The Aphex Twin and the likes of Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, even The Chemical Brothers. These latter acts, "superstar dj's" aim right for the charts on every single occasion. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. For the record, 'Fat Of The Land' is neither better nor worse musically than a host of other similarly produced music from that era. Lyrically and vocally, it's pure novelty. 'Climbatize' is one of the few instrumentals here. It's my favourite song on the entire album, but even then, it's not all that great, it just is. This albums 'status' dwindles with every passing year, and that simply isn't the case with genuinely good albums, whether they were innovative or not. And yes, I was being sarcastic at the start of this review with The Sunday Times crap. It happened, though.

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    Readers Comments

    Jonathan Roseveare jrr1@ukc.ac.uk
    I'm not a great fan of Prodigy but they are decent and this is their best album-I totally disagree with your rating. Though still a techno act there's more variation now with hip hop (Diesel Power), rock (Fuel My Fire) and house (Narayan). The latter is absolutely awesome, I put it on repeat and must have listened to it 10 times in a row on a car journey once. It just blows me away everytime I hear it. My score? An impressive 8-it's a hits album really and suffers as a result but after OK Computer, Urban Hymns and Blur, the album of 1997.

    I Janssen fox_ts@hotmail.com
    Being a prodigy-fan i must admit to be a little biased, but in my attempt to be as objective as possible i must say a 5.5 is way too meager for this timeless album. First of all, this album doesn't contain any techno at all. I don't like to categorize music - especially not for artists/bands like The Prodigy, who i believe have always had their own distinct style - but since categorizing is nessecary in the oceans of music, i believe this album would classify more as industrial/rock/breakbeats. "Prodigy were thrown up by fashion, by the zeitgeist, and the more and more they added vocalists and band members, the more they moved away from their original one man in a bedroom line-up..."??? Actually, The Prodigy have been losing members since they started out with 4, losing Leeroy on the way, Maxim going solo for a while, Keith going solo right now... The main man has always been Liam Howlett, and he still is. Also, i believe the prodigy style has evolved a great lot over the ye! ars and this isn't adding "rock beats to an already existing Prodigy template first heard at the turn of the nineties." I would therefore recommend a listen to their previous albums - Music for the Jilted Generation, where yes, i would categorize this album under dance/techno, and their debut album, Experience, which could even appear in the jungle/drum'n'bass categories. All three albums are composed of very different styles, while retaining the distinct prodigy feel. The energy, the excellent beats (the fill used in Breathe... wow!), the aggression of the vocals (firestarter and SMBU - yes, the lyrics are offensive, but hey, it's the music that counts, and i think it adds a nice touch to the song), the deep basslines and the tight sampling & mixing make this album so great in my opinion - disliking only the screamy 'Fuel my fire'. I play the prodigy so much i've made 2 back-up copies of the Fat of The Land, just so i wouldn't scratch up my original cd even more - a cd well! worth 3 and a half points more than your rating. Mark a 9 for me - prodigy rocks on!

    andy shannahan andrew_shannahan@hotmail.com
    Id also have to disagree with this review. Id rate this album as possibly the best album Ive ever bought purely for the reason I can listen to every song and enjoy it without having to skip the usual crap tracks. However, its so much more than that. Yes smbu is offensive in a way, but not really as its making a statement really about how easily people go up in arms about these things when its not exactly the worst thing in the world, and that it is easily misunderstood(watch the video). Besides this, its an excellent track with a great beat. And the offensiveness worked-how much publicity did they get for the track in papers etc? The album demonstrates the groups ability to produce different styles of music to their old stuff. I disagree strongly that this album brings nothing new from the old albums music for the jilted generation and experience. As mentioned by janssen, experience was more drum n bass than anything, whilst mftjg progressed into dance. This album brings hip! hop, modern dance, punk and techno elements to the prodigy music and is highly creative and original. But, trivialities aside, I still listen to this album over and over 7 years on from its release and it sounds as good as the first time i listened to it. Id rate it at least a 9.

    Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned 7 ( 2004 )
    Spitfire/ Girls / Mephis Bells / Get Up Get Off / Hot Ride / Wake Up Call / Action Radar / Medusa's Path / Pheoenix / You'll Be Under My Wheels / The Way It Is / Shoot Down

    The Prodigy used to be interesting, once upon a time. Before the cartoon characters joined them that were keith flint, etc. For this new album, the main prodigy guy reasserts his importance. As a result, this album is selling a lot less copies, mainly because its far better. The music suddenly has a sense of purpose rather than pandering to caricatures that exist within working class society. This is an album without gimicks, possibly the first ever Prodigy album you can say that about, actually. True, the likes of' Medusa' contains some kind of indian/egyptian sound running through it, but then it would, wouldn't it? True, Kool Keith contributes vocals to 'Wake Up Call', which sounds superb, yet other songs here are similarly hard hitting, akin to being beaten over the head with a sheet of metal. The prodigy released a single called 'Babys Got A Temper' which sounded like a carbon copy of'Fat Of The Land' just a mere year or two after 'Fat Of The Land'. 'Firestarter' reached number one, 'Baby's Got A Temper' didn't even chart. The Prodigy had become fashionable, then, suddenly, unfashionable. They don't have fans, they have people who like a couple of their singles/albums. If they had fans, 'Babys Got A Temper' would have been a hit, no matter how bad it was. The is the truth. Artists that have a fanbase that actually care about them, have repeated hit singles. Surely they do, if they get as popular as The Prodigy? Yet, The Prodigy had become a cartoon, a novely. A fatboy slim, another chancer without any musical know-how. He used to play bass in the housemartins. Boy George is now a top DJ in the UK, even though he, as he admits himself, knows nothing about music and has never written music. Dance music is easy. Anybody without ears can create average dance music. The Prodigy captured the zeigtgeist with 'Fat Of The Land'. After that, nobody cared any more. Few people care now, which is a shame, as 'Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned' is probably the finest, purest prodigy album to date.

    It's fiery, it's loud, it means buisness. Because it's pure and without pandering to lowest common demoninator, if you liked this band in the past, you probably don't even care about THIS album at all.

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    Readers Comments

    badger badger@gregory1972.fsnet.co.uk
    Sorry Adrian but I've never disagreed with you more than with this review. I am a big fan of The Prodigy's earlier work and to say that this album is better is crazy. This album is poor beyond belief-the sounds are terrible, most tracks sound like a demo from a music software programme, and the tunes instantly forhgettable. I wouldn't rate this above 2 out of 10.

    dave davnav306@hotmail.com
    With a couple of listens, I've come to understand this album... and it just isn't good at all. Spitfire is a pretty decent and strong song, so is Girls except for the really REALLY pathetic middle part (the drum solo or something lol). Memphis Bells doesn't go anywhere at all, and Get Up Get Off features some more annoying distorted female voices. The "Gimme Gimme Gimmes" of Hot Ride suck. Wake Up Call and Action Radar are alright. Medusa's Path is the coolest song (and probably the only one) in the album. Phoenix and You'll Be Under My Wheels are annoyingly boring and pointless. The Way It Is is hilarious - the title is repeated while Jackson's Thriller is playing in the background... come on. Shootdown sounds more rock oriented, but it fails like the rest. It's an alright listen, and actually an effective album (when you're exercising perhaps), but there's no denying that it's a really weak effort from Prodigy. I don't recommend it, and I totally d! isagree with the 9 rating. I give it a 5, max 6. It's definitely the weakest of all Prodigy Albums, and will probably (and hopefully) always be. The whole album just sounds like some sort of high-budget futuristic porn movie soundtrack.

    this page last updated 14/10/08

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