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Fat of the Land was the third album by The Prodigy. Released in 1997 this was probably their biggest commercial album breaking America and the rest of the world and confirming them to be more than a rave DJ, and MC and a couple of ropey dancers.
This is probably my third favourite but has been widely acknowledged as their most creative, it went to number 1 in a number of countries including the UK, US and Australia. It went double platinum in the US selling over 2 million copies and was nominated for a Grammy and the Mercury Music prize.
It is an experimental album in many ways melding the beats and samples obtained and mixed by Liam Howlett with guest vocals from famous MC's and singers, this has subsequently been a format used by bands such as the Gorrilaz and UNKLE. Because of this, at times it sounds like a selection of guest tracks rather than an album bound together by any one strand, but most of the elements are very good, some are exceptional, so you can't really complain.
Track 1 - Smack my Bitch Up - This is a cracking start to the album with the sample taken from the Ultramagnetic MC's (who appear on the album), this is obviously quite controversial and was designed to shock (It did so receiving multiple complaints from Women's care groups, quite rightly), the video which accompanies it is a classic piece of music cinema and well worth watching, with a wicked twist at the end, but obviously only if you are over 18, as it is a bit rude!!! The song is excellent with the excellent sample, the guitar undertone and a punky electronic vibe, this is a really good song which sets the tone for the album referencing both punk and electronica and trying to move further away from the rave movement with which the band were originally associated. The mix of the sample with the pounding guitars and bass really should set the tone for an exceptional album.
Track 2 - Breathe - Another of the classics on this album, introducing Keith Flint as a vocalist, using the bands MC, Maxim for the refrains and Keith for the chorus this is a revved up and fun song which works well in clubs, gyms or in your living room, high octane, adrenaline fuelled, this song is possibly my favourite on the album, there is a Wu Tang sample on the track but its easily covered up by the breathless vocals mixing ragga tinged MC'ing with Keith's punky essex shouting vocal, its fun, fast, furious and possibly one of the best songs the band ever made. After this song the album is flying and if it continued like this, it could be one of the all time greats.
Track 3 - Diesel Power - Funky bass with Kool Keith MC'ing over the top this has got a catchy chorus and a superb beat but is one of the weaker songs on the album, the rapping is quality as is the music but for some reason it doesn't grab like the more controversial songs mixing more punk and dance cultures, this slows the album down and in many ways, this is where the album loses some of its cohesion as it doesn't really sound much like a Prodigy track, it sounds more like an Ultramagnetic MC track with Liam Howlett providing the beats.
Track 4 - Funky Shit (Explicit) - Sampling the Beastie Boys for the chorus this is more of an instrumental with the songs title being shouted as a sample over the chorus, again its decent music and builds nicely to a funky climax but is not one of the better songs on the album and by this point the momentum has been all but lost, classic instrumental with a sampled refrain, but it has all been done before.
Track 5 - Serial Thrilla - 'Damage destructor, crowd disruptor. Youth-corruptor, everytimer.
Damage destructor, crowd disruptor'. That is the song summed up in every lyric, 7 words repeated make up this song, as much as the music is industrial, heavy and funky, the lyrics are nonsensical and fairly pointless and this is simply a filler on the album, it is listenable but after some of the excellent songs on the album it feels like an afterthought and a chance for Keith to get more studio time rather than a valuable addition to the album.
Track 6 - Mindfields - This song starts with Maxim screaming the refrain 'This is dangerous, open up your head feel the shellshock', it is bass heavy with a fun chorus which reminds me of 'No Good' from the previous album 'Music for the jilted generation'. It's a decent enough song but sounds very similar to that track and doesn't continue half as dangerously as it would like you to think it does.
Track 7 - Narayan - One of those songs which floats around and takes about 7 minutes to get where it wants to be, I do remember this being a massive hit at the festivals the year it was released, with Crispian Mills of Kula Shaker on vocals it mixes some industrial beats with some Beatnik faux-indian hippie vocals to create quite an interesting song journey, the chorus is hypnotic the rest of the vocals are decent if slightly nonsensical while the music moves between really good and a little bit worthy, a decent song nonetheless. I do have to say however, that this does sound a little similar to some of the more adventurous Chemical Brother songs of the era.
Track 8 - Firestarter - Probably the song the band will always be best known for and definitely their best selling single, this was the first song to be released off the album and mixes the high energy of the previous album with the shouty punk musings of Prodigy dancer Keith Flint, the video was edgy, the song is edgy too, it is fast, furious and definitely an album highlight, I have to admit the chorus does grate with me somewhat nowadays but nonetheless the structure of the song, its energy and commitment are excellent and it's a really enjoyable experience which raises the tempo of the whole experience again.
Track 9 - Climbatize - This sounds very much like the weather experience from the bands debut album, it is a 7 minute instrumental which is quite funky after about 2 minutes but is only really good for driving or playing Xbox, it is a very good instrumental with decent samples, but again slows the album down slightly and listening back you wonder what the point of it is.
Track 10 - Fuel my Fire - Possibly the punkiest song on the album in its attempt at attitude, fast drums and samples with Keith angrily shouting through a muffler, its fine but more suited to a reasonable pop punk band as this really is a pop take on punk rather than the real thing, shouty, angry but unconvincing.
Overall I'd always viewed this as one of my favourite albums, but listening back to it, it hasn't aged as well as other old favourites like Ok Computer or even Sergeant Peppers. There are some great songs, Breathe, Firestarter and Smack my bitch up being amongst them, Narayan is a great experiment which mostly works, and having seen it live it is exceptional live. Diesel Power and Climbatize are good while Fuel my Fire and Mindfields are a bit average and sound like a pop band as much as a hardcore dance explosion.
The music is similar to their previous and subsequent albums which is disappointing, the use of Keith is good but guest appearances from Kool Keith and Crispian Mills do add something as his vocal range is incredibly limited and the lyrics for what they are on a number of the tracks are childlike at best.
This has been voted one of the great albums of the nineties and I think this was justified but, and this is a big but, this was voted in the nineties and I do think this album hasn't aged quite as well as some of its peers, when you listen to the album you can hear remnants of their previous work as well as a raft of samples, the lyrics are basic at most, the music whilst still pretty heavy and exciting does feel a bit slower to me nowadays and I still don't think this is as good as 'Music for the Jilted Generation' or 'The Prodigy Experience', I would temper these comments by the fact that the first two albums were new, exciting and breaking through the mainstream as rave kicked off whereas this album is much more commercial and whilst referencing old skool rap and hip hop, much more often contemporises punk pop with electronica.
The album has some definite highlights and 'Breathe' especially is still vibrant and exciting today, 'Narayan' is a really interesting journey of a song and 'Firestarter' is still worth hearing for the frivolity of it. A really good album, and one which I still listen to some songs from, but some of the songs haven't aged brilliantly and this could have been better, however, this was their bestselling album, and having bought their most recent effort, it probably will remain so, it wants to be edgy, but can't match its predecessor for raw energy and excitement.
I will rate this album 4 out of 5, as most of the songs are really good with a couple of exceptional ones, I won't rate it 5, simply as I don't think it is the bands best album, but this is a purely personal view, based on what the previous two albums meant to me growing up.
The album is available pretty much anywhere that sells good music, my copy cost £9.99 from Virgin Megastore when it came out, now you can download it or buy it on Amazon Marketplace for £1.13, which I would definitely recommend doing.
"Fat of the Land" is the third studio album released by dance act the Prodigy in 1997. It has been awarded many accolades, as well as reaching number one in charts around the world and uses many samples by artists such as : Beastie Boys, Ultramagnetic MCs, Skunk Anasie amongst others.
1. Smack My Bitch Up (Single) *****
Smack my Bitch Up was a very controversial song when it came out, given the title and the video, which was featured a person drinking and driving, snorting cocaine, vandalizing as well as heroin use and a hit and run incident. After the person brings a stripper home they look in the mirror and it is revealed they are a woman. Despite the ending various feminist groups gave out which of course propelled the song to the charts. It's easy to see why, with a funky beat complimenting Keith Flint lyrics:
"Change my pitch up / Smack my bitch up"
which repeat through the song until some gorgeous female vocals by Shahin Badar give it real star quality. I liked it because it's quite different to the normal dance song, so five out of five stars.
2. Breathe (Single) ****
Breathe was the second single from Fat of the Land. At the start it sounds quite like the previous track "Smack My Bitch Up" with repeated lyrics again but an acoustic guitar that starts strumming after about a minute makes this song again quite unique and adds to the dark feel of the song.
The drum beat is quite fast compliments the heavy guitar riff that comes in and out throughout the song. A four out of five, good but not as good as Smack My Bitch Up.
3. Diesel Power ****
The first non-single on the album, I was interested to hear what this would be like. It has a different twist to the previous songs, with a excellent rap by Kool Keith (of Ultramagnetic MCs) going on throughout over another array of samples and instruments. There's a lot going on but
it sounds excellent and Kool Keith is on top form, but this song seems like more of a rap song than a dance song, but a good rap song with an interesting beat nonetheless. Another four out of five.
4. Funky Shit. **
Features a Beastie Boys sample and unlike the previous song the only lyrics are the title repeated a few times throughout the song. Another fast drum beat but th effects aren't as spectacular as the last few songs and it is a bit boring. First bit of filler on the album, so a two out of five for me.
5. Serial Thrilla ***
Now this is more like it. A electrifying guitar riff which is actually taken from
the band Skunk Anansie, with a siren going up and down and Keith Flint's vocals make a great dance tune, but the last minute where the DJ scratching come in is a disappointing ending along with the blank noise. A three out of five.
6. Mindfields **
I was surprised when I heard this, as I had one of those "Now where did I hear that" moments. A quick google and turns out it featured on the matrix soundtrack, so there you go. It starts off well, with interesting Indian - sounding guitar picking (a sitar perhaps?) before Maxim reality comes in with the odd sentence, but the once the guitar ends about a minute and a half in its starts getting a bit mixed up and you get the impression it's going nowhere. A good idea that stumbles and loses momentum as it goes on. A two out of five.
7. Narayan *****
What a song! Despite being over nine minutes long, it keeps the listener captivated by first vocals from Chris Mills of Kula Shaker which make a nice change from the harsh sound of Keith and Maxim Reality and then later on in the song this weird chanting that although odd, fits in perfectly with the chopping synthesizers. A demonstration of the Prodigy's full song-creating ability with swirling sounds and an altogether infectious tune. Five out a five.
8. Firestarter (single) ****
Finally we get to it. The first single of Fat of the Land, which reached number 1 in countless countries and used in many movies and programmes, this is the song which truly launched The Prodigy into the mainstream. The looped guitar sample taken from the Breeders song SOS combined with Keith Flint singing as if he was in a Sex Pistols song makes this a dance classic for years to come. Loses a star only because it's still played nearly constantly on the radio.
9. Climbatize *
Starts off with a cool electronic riff and some interesting drums, but doesn't really offer much more through it's seven minutes apart from abit of bass guitar, which I didn't hear much off through the song.. Another filler track - two out of five.
10. Fuel My Fire **
A cover of an L7 (no, me neither) song, starts off with a cool drum fill and more vocals from Fuel My Fire. It's nothing special and not that interesting but fits in with the rest of an album and a solid way to end it. Three out of five.
All in all, Fat of the Land is a great album that I think a fan of any genre will find something they will enjoy here, among the many samples used by the Prodigy to create their songs.
Ah nostalgia has suddenly swept over me, the days of annoying the hell out of my parents with the walls reverberating from the bass lines of Prodigy's Smack My B*tch Up seems like it was just yesterday.
This was Prodigy's third album and made an absolutely huge splash in the UK charts and charts worldwide which was greatly helped by the hugely controversial but great song which was the song mentioned.
Typically a group of women who think they speak for all women were up in arms about the misogynistic content of the song but this song has a thunderous rhythm, a fast drum beat and of course those famed words, ...well being controversial helps to.
This is one of the standouts from the album and is followed by the menacing ominous catchy sonic landscape of the Breathe. It has one of those anthemic hooks which you simply won't understand unless you happen to be a fan of this type of music.
The Prodigy weren't about to let this album be simply pigeon holed as fast tempo hardcore jungle, techno though and songs like Diesel Power sees a surprising collaboration between themselves and the rapper Keith Sweat and his imposing voice fits very comfortably with the thumping beat.
There are other standout hardcore songs on here to like the infamous Fire Starter in which the vocals you either love or loathe in equal measure. However the Prodigy or more specifically Liam Howlett were not content to keep things at a certain rhythm and so the album also sees them delving into heavy metal songs to.
What I enjoy about the album is the fast and furious which are multi layered and whose beat is sometimes rested to introduce other sounds before seamlessly returning again. There are some real standout tracks on this album and all 3 of the singles in particular fall within this category.
The downside to this album is that back in 1997 it sounded very innovative but as time has elapsed is now seeming a little dated. In addition to this it was disappointing to only see 10 songs on the album. I would have preferred the addition of at least another 3 songs. Finally from the ten songs, Narayan seems far too long and a little off the momentum of the previous songs and Climbatise is more than a little overwhelming.
The very good make up for the slightly indifferent though
The Prodigy's third album in 1997 brought them to worldwide attention with the stand out tracks Breathe, Smack my Bitch up and the world renowned Firestarter they infused their early rave credentials with a harder industrial dance sound and some pop tendancies.
This album has some great songs, but in many ways I prefer the Prodigy Experience because it represented music I grew up to, and Jilted Generation which is more musically inventive and filled with some absolutely destructive dance tunes which still make me bang my head today.
The album is a good one, but it has about 5 great tracks and a fair few average ones.
Smack my Bitch Up - This is a controversial song with an equally controversial video, while the lyrics and the attitude aren't to be commended, the tune itself is absolutely banging. It matches a chaotic, awe inspiring bassline with frantic beats, a real electronica edge and Keith's chants of 'Smack my Bitch Up'. Once again the title is not to be commended but the tune is an absolute banger.
Breathe - A fantastic tune, Maxim takes on the vocals here with Keith providing some wild, frantic support and this song is pure adrenaline, I listen to it in the gym regularly it has a huge bassline, a really strange strings arrangement and a rollercoaster ride of a song with an angry shouted chorus, for me this song sums up the band, its wild, aggressive, filled with great samples and as catchy as Petr Cech.
Diesel Power -The veteran hip hop superstar Kool Keith comes in for the vocals here, providing intelligent lyrics and a subtle, soft twist to an industrial strength Prodigy song. Filled with rawness this is a funky tune with some great samples and a really good chorus, its not as good as the first two tracks but it does keep the momentum going well.
Funky S**t -This is most definitely funky, whether it is s&*t, only the Prodigy can truly say, in my opinion it's a 6 out of 10 song, its paint by numbers for the band, some funky samples and a decent voice over but nothing new and perhaps the first two songs in particular leave you expecting a little bit more.
Serial Thrilla - Keith crows over this like a demented checkout attendant, sounding at points psychotic and at others slightly pantomime-ish. This Is a fairly good tune, probably a 7 out of 10 as the music is a fun filled journey and the vocal is always interesting.
Mindfields - Liam always puts a long tune on the album, this is it, an instrumental with some good bits and some not so good bits, its filler really and the momentum of the early tracks feels a bit lost.
Narayan - With Krispian Mills from one of the cool bands of that time this song has a real hippyish, Hari Krishna vibe to it, it was massive on the Festival scene that year and is a great tune with uplifting choruses. This is a wicked tune and it works, its not as angry as many of the other tunes but it is a wild frantic tune and an absolute return to form for this album.
Firestarter - A massive club track, I find the vocal actually a little bit annoying but as a song it is massive and absolutely huge. This song is known around the world and took the prodigy from Essex ravers to world dance act. Great song, great fun full of raw power and energy and a stand out track.
Climbatize - Fair to middling tune, not a great one, but fairly decent nonetheless.
Fuel My Fire - Not the best end to the album, fairly average.
Available in Amazon for £2.80 it is well worth a buy, the album has some awesome tracks and you may take more from Mindfields and Fuel my Fire than I have so it could be a 5 out of 5 album rather than a very good 4 out of 5.
With the forthcoming release of Prodigy's fourth album, it might be worthwhile to cast our minds back to their most successful album to date: The 1997 best-seller "The Fat Of The Land."
The success of this CD lies with the two singles which preceded its release - "Firestarter" and "Breathe." Both similarly-crafted fusions of hard dance beats with punk/rock anrachic lyrics and general Keith Flint-fueled mayhem ripped up the singles chart on release. Prodigy took measured steps to keep themselves in the limelight by enticing the tabloids to whip up a storm over the video of the third single - the repetitive and unimpressive "Smack My Bitch Up."
All of this did much to help "The Fat Of The Land" fly off the shelves, but for many it would prove to be an unfulfilling experience. The subtelty and flair of "Music For The Jilted Generation" is absent from "The Fat Of The Land," and in it's place we find pointless shouting and a notably dubious semi-rap track "Diesel Power."
In spite of the attempts at using anger to propel some kind of furious energy, the whole album instead comes off as feeling limp and stale. It doesn't raise an eyebrow let alone assault the eardrum as you might hope it would. The only track worthy of repeat listening "Narayan," with a more up-tempo riff and dancefloor beat.
But that's it. It simply doesn't stand up to the hype. It's about as exciting as brushing your teeth. Let's hope album four might bring them back towards the delight that was "Music For The Jilted Generation" - a more satisfying sound, more recognisably Prodigy than this processed turkey.
In 1997 The Prodigy made an unexpected turn in their musical career when they released The Fat of the Land. Where the last two albums were clear cut electronica, The Fat of the Land proved to be a rather different beast. It is a fierce amalgamation of punk, rock and heavy dance beats. In some instances this works in the albums favour and in other areas not so much.
We have all heard Smack My B*tch Up and we all love it (except our mums). The track is built around a simple loop played over and over which eventually snowballs into an angry drunken ball of fury. Yes it's childish, yes it's simple, and yes, I do love it. Whether you like it or not it's one of the defining tracks of the 1990's. Breathe works in much the same way although Breathe comes across as an actual song and not a piece of music. It's built around a schizophrenic turn from MC's Maxim and Keith as they try to compete with each other's inner psychopath.
Diesel Power and Mindfields both feature Maxim on vocals, suffice to say they are both distinctly average and run the middle ground all the way to their closing time. Nothing is particularly offensive about these songs but for an act that has built their whole career around memorable tunes these are unforgivably shallow and unnecessary pieces of filler.
I absolutely love Funky Sh*t, even if it is basically a funkier re-run of Smack My B*tch Up with added distortion. I also have a soft spot for Serial Thrilla, the one moment on the album where the punk rock influence actually works. The other moments, Firestarter and Fuel My Fire, are detestable pieces of garbage that make me want to hunt Keith down and set him alight!!
The two unquestionably brilliant pieces of music on the album are Narayan and Climbatize, both slow burners that take a good while to reach the end of their running time. For me they evoke a great deal of reminiscing about The Narcotic Suite from Music for the Jilted Generation which is no bad thing. Just a shame Fuel My Fire comes on after Climbatize to ruin things.
All in all, despite the rubbish punk influenced moment, The Fat of the Land remains one of the definitive albums of the 1990's. Liam Howlett again proves he is the genius behind the band, and this is all the more apparent because when Maxim and Keith start blowing their own trumpet the album turns sour.
Find more of my reviews at www.danielkemp.webs.com
For anyone who isn?t familiar with the Prodigy, whose popularity reached its peak in 1997 with the release of this album and has waned somewhat since, they are a very British four piece who brought dark, underground techno music to the attention of the general public and were often seen as the modern equivalent of the rebellious punk rock of the seventies with their grimy image, vocals and non-conformist musical style. Fat of the Land reached number one in the UK album charts, and spawned equally successful singles that received generous radio play, but they were never a band I was particularly interested in (apart from the occasional funny song title). In an effort to review something a little different I got hold of this CD and was pleasantly surprised by the skill of the programming, but disappointed with some of the decisions made that prevent this from becoming a truly classic album. THE TRACKS 1. SMACK MY BITCH UP The infamous song that proved the motto ?no publicity is bad publicity,? this featured an equally controversial music video following a lesbian woman?s night of alcohol, drugs, violence and prostitution. A quiet riff introduces the song before the electronic beat and the bass thumps kick in (I should point out at this juncture that it would be unwise to play this very loud when the ceiling below your speakers is a little weak, something my friend discovered a number of years ago). This is a reasonably straightforward underground techno track in terms of its style, layering sample tunes over the ever-present driving drum beat. The second half of the song is dominated by Eastern-influenced singing from a female guest vocalist, but there is little change in this introductory track. The lyrics are incredibly limited and potentiall
y offensive, but in the end it?s just some British bad boys misbehaving themselves; at least they don?t go into detail. ?Change my pitch up, smack my bitch up.? 2. BREATHE My favourite Prodigy song, and the reason I invested in this album. While Firestarter bridged the gap seamlessly and almost subliminally between popular music and underground electronica, Breathe incorporates hard rock elements and is incredibly dark. Weird samples aplenty, the song also features sinister vocals and anyone who has seen the music video will find that its dilapidated, grimy house suits the song perfectly. An excellent track, reasonably complex and not repetitive, unlike some of the more dance-based tracks. ?Breathe the pressure, Come play my game I?ll test ya. Psychosomatic addict, insane.? 3. DIESEL POWER This song takes a rap-based approach and as such is one of the few to feature a large amount of lyrics, for once amounting to some sort of sense. As I?m not a fan of rap this is one of my least favourite tracks, although it does sound more akin to the angry, meaningful rap artists of the 80s and early 90s rather than the pop-inspired rubbish that these young people listen to nowadays. The chorus is still quite catchy, and if anything it?s a departure from the style of the majority of the album that keeps the CD feelings fresh and original. ?We spin back, rewind. Diesel Power. Blows your mind drastically, fantastically.? 4. FUNKY SHIT The lyrics in this one make me laugh, and the repetition of these seven words makes it very easy to remember. The electronic riffs sound good and are more inventive than ?Smack My Bitch Up,? but not up to the level of ?B
reathe.? Amidst the feedback and ?boop? noises there?s the occasional memorable signature tune which I like, although it?s very hard to determine whether or not this is a good song as I?m not too experienced with this format. I like it though, and my first impression that the track concerns a literal piece of excrement that is somehow very funky (dancing, etc. and impressing the vocalist) was formed when I first heard this at age twelve, and has stuck. ?Oh my God that?s the funky shit.? 5. SERIAL THRILLA Another track that is more rock influenced and the first in a while to feature the distinctive and impressionable vocals of Keith Flint. A little more traditionally structured than some of the others, this makes it easier to digest and probably therefore more widely appealing, and once again I really enjoy their choice of samples. The clear drum beat and latent anger of the vocals make this one of the better tracks on this album for me, and it sounds similar to the less popular British punk-electronic band Pitchshifter. ?Damage destructor, crowd disruptor. Youth-corruptor, everytimer.? 6. MINDFIELDS Vocals are handled by the MC Maxim here, and although this is a much more techno-based outing than some of the others I still applaud the guys? choice of samples forming the melodies and rhythms, and the bass is once again up to ?club volume,? something proven by the inclusion of this track in the club scene from ?The Matrix.? It drags on a little towards the end for my liking, especially as in many ways it?s not too different from what?s come before, but it?s still a very good track and changes to a softer beat at the end. ?This is dangerous. Open up your head, feel the shell shock. This is
dangerous, I walk through mindfields so watch your head rock.? 7. NARAYAN Beginning with a slightly horror theme-seque high melody, this is another very different track that takes a while to be appreciated, if at all. The simple drum rhythm is still present but discernible and easy to follow once again, and although there is a lot of change in this song it still doesn?t feel like a satisfactory use of just over nine minutes. The second half proves again that the Prodigy enjoy a bit of experimentation, featuring strange ambient chanting for a while before returning to the electronics. The last few minutes are essentially filled with dominant drum loops and beats, but the sheer length of this makes it tedious and isn?t able to save the track. [Insert ?Saving Private Naryan? joke here if you must]. ?If you believe the western sun, is falling down on everyone, you're being burned, don't try to run, you're being burned, you're time has come? 8. FIRESTARTER The most well-known track on the album, the ?Firestarter? single was released quite a while before the album causing huge anticipation. One of the instantly likeable offerings, this has the most memorable drum rhythm, vocals and samples (fading in and out) of the whole album, and I can?t help but consider it one of the very finest tracks. I really like the way Keith pronounces words, very working class English, and they have a very interesting echo effect as they fade in. A great track, and surely the band?s main claim to fame. ?I'm the self inflicted, mind detonator. Yeah. I'm the one infected, twisted animator. I'm a firestarter, twisted firestarter.? 9. CLIMBATIZE Following the excellen
t ?Firestarter? comes this less than blinding instrumental. An instrumental doesn?t mean too much on a Prodigy album, considering many of the songs feature a short vocal sample repeated again and again, but this isn?t very interesting; the samples also seem a little bit too token and ?video-gamey,? based largely on zaps. Technically sophisticated, but nothing inspirational, unless you?re a programming musician. 10. FUEL MY FIRE This cover of the group ?L7? proves to be one of the catchiest on the album, and xxxx sounds almost Johnny Rotten-like with his vocals here. The samples are mostly excellent, aside from what sounds like a fairground organ, and it makes for an enjoyable end to this album that doesn?t drag on in the way that other tracks did. ?Yeah, my layers are thick, And I got a bad attitude. Yeah, that knife in my back, has fingerprints that belong to you? VERDICT As this is a departure from the music I normally listen to, it?s a little difficult to pin down and write about, as the bulk of the songs would be considered something of ?filler? material on some of the albums I listen to, especially due to the lack of lyrics. The band?s appeal is understandable however, and having heard tracks from their two earlier albums and their more recent release, I think this is their most enjoyable and solid album. I have been left with the impression, however, that Liam Howlett is the man behind the band, composing and performing all the music while the others either sing, rap, dance or linger around in music videos when not in use. Maxim does occasionally wear strange contact lenses though, so I suppose this permits him to hardly do anything. My lack of real experience with the genre is probably embarrassingly obvious when a
ll I can think of saying is ?I like the way the samples sound? and ?those vocals are nice and raw,? but that?s what I think when I listen to the Prodigy?s music; it?s unlikely that they?re completely unique in what they do, but I have no real basis for comparison other than my own impression of the way they sound to my addled brain. The general impression of this music is that it is very dedicated, with something anarchist and non-conformist about the vocals and the general way the band present themselves. Much more of a threat to society and the system than modern punk bands, the Prodigy were the Sex Pistols of the 90s; doing their bit to balance out the view of the British from overseas in the decade that saw the Spice Girls achieving such recognition.
Brilliant, 10 adrenalin pumping tracks to knock your headphones off. Fast paced, attitude, tons of bass! What more could you want? If you want fast druming, with loads of bass thrown in you want this CD. This is the first prodigy album i've bought and i'm impressed. You know when you hear a really good track on the TV or on a film and you absolutely love it but don't know what it's called or who it by and you simply must get it but can't because you don't know where to look? Start by listening this CD. Never have I ever heard some of my favourite-unknown songs on one CD!!! Smack my b*tch up, breathe, diesel power, funky sh*t, serial thrilla, mindfields, narayan, firestarter, climbatize, fuel my fire, their all there! and all amazing tracks. I really cannot find anything wrong with this album, it's just that good. Surely, you must buy it. AND BUY IT SOON IT'S EXCELLENT!!
Weather you liked the prodigies previous efforts or not, don't think you won't like this. There's something for everyone in here, ranging from rap, to drum and bass and rock. Although many tracks sound like they are being performed by a heavy-metal band, the album was made entirly by one guy - prodigy DJ liam howelett, coupled with some vocalists and samples he has created a truley great album. Yet even the technophobic couldn't ignore, The Fat of the Land made Prodigy one of the first UK rave acts to infiltrate pop culture. Hard-core hip-hop-derived breakbeats, layers of unabashed (but creative) sampling, and meaningless shouted lyrics struck a chord beyond the electronic-music community. The inclusion of "Firestarter" and "Breathe" (both previously released hit singles) certainly aided the disc's widespread success, but it was the ferocity (and controversy) of "Smack My Bitch Up" that caught the world's attention. Guest Shahin Bada's Indian vocalizations convey the sense that dance music has come a long way from "Pump Up the Volume"! "Diesel Power," featuring Kool Keith, and "Funky Shit" set a wicked groove; the cover of L7's "Fuel My Fire" recalls the energy of the Sex Pistols. In fact, the dark aggression of The Fat of the Land bears closer resemblance to both rap and punk than the hedonism of techno. Leader Liam Howett simply gives up 10 solid songs with bombastic production values, transforming dance music into the art of noise. You may wish to try before you buy if your not made of money, but if you like like teckno and rock, this is the happiest medium you'd ever find. tom.
Released in July 1997, I have to say this is a very good album. Three years on from the populist techno of Music For The Jilted Generation, they are back with another winner. More rock and hip-hop influenced than its predecessors, Fat of the Land sets the pulse racing, fusing big beats with a raving loony attitude. A punk metal song, Fuel my Fire, is very good alongside almost straightforward hip-hop of Diesel Power, while Funky S**t is the nearest in spirit to Music For The Jilted Generation. This is an essential album for people curious about dance music in the late Nineties. This really is a superb album, and every track is good to listen and dance to, even if they do get a bit loud in some places. Smack my Bitch Up – A very controversial track because of the video which contained scenes of intercourse, vomiting and drug taking. This track is a good opener and set the tone for the rest of the album. It starts of fairly slow and soft and then the bass suddenly kicks in, magnificent. Breathe – This song went to Number One, and I can see why. The introduction is menacing and awesome, then suddenly the bass kicks in. The vocals are poor, but that’s not what Prodigy is about. A brilliant track, one of the best on the album. Diesel Power – This is an odd track for The Prodigy. It is more hip-hop orientated that dance music, but it still works. Its not embarrassing, it has a good beat, and the vocals are suprisingly good for the Prodigy. The same beat continues throughout, and I think this makes it even better. Funky S**t – I think has to be my favourite track on the album. It jumps straight into the track with “Oh my God, that the Funky S**t”. It’s a fast dance track with an excellent beat. The drums are brilliant throughout. There are very little vocals on the track, and I think this is could, otherwise it could have been spoilt. Serial Thrilla –
I dislike this track and think it is the worst on the track. It starts of with loud high-pitched noise, which puts you off straight away. Then a small guitar solo starts, and it sounds like rock music. I don’t like rock music, and that is what this track is. The vocal and lyrics are very poor and it’s too loud. A poor track which finished with the high pitched noise again. Mindfields – This is a brilliant track and one of my favourites on the album. IT has a menacing beat at the start, then a soft guitar solo comes on which sets the tone. These two beats continue throughout as other instruments gradually come in. The bass comes in and the song is magnificent. The vocals are OK, but this is cancelled out by the brilliant beat and sounds within the song. Narayan – This is another odd song. It starts of well with a nice sound, which continues for some time, and you can feel something gradually building up. The beat and bass comes in, and the song is still pretty good. The vocals come in and they are soft and so don’t spoil the track, this tempo continues throughout and the lyrics are also very good. A good track. Firestarter – Well, what can I say about this? This is another track of the album, which reached number one, and again I can see why. The start is very menacing with the electrical noises, and the beat and bass kicks in and the track just gets better and better. Keith’s vocals are brilliant throughout, as is the beat. One of Prodigy’s best ever tracks, and one of the best on the album. Climbatize – I like this track. Its starts of very soft as you can hear the music gradually coming in, getting louder and louder, but not too loud. You wonder what is going to happen, and then, this excellent electrical beat comes in and it makes you feel really good. Then a soft bass beat comes in, still not too loud and not to spoil the track. Another instrument
comes in, and this is an awesome track. Again probably one of the best on the album. It deserves more credit. Fuel My Fire – A weird track. There is a strange noise at the start, then a fast bass beat comes in, and then some sorts of vocals come in. It’s another rock track, and its very poor. I think they could have chosen a better track to finish their best album ever with.
This is the albums that had it’s release date famously pushed back due to the main creator of the band, Liam Howlett preferring to play tomb raider rather than finishing the album by its deadline. Even with the distraction of Lara Croft this album it is still a brilliant album to listen to and even better seeing the tracks on this album performed live. Some of the tracks featured on this album are Breathe, Firestarter, Smack my bitch up, Climbatize and MindFields. I found that this album to be slightly more commercial than the other albums with Skin from Skunk Anansie and Crispian Mills from Kula Shaker both collaborating on the album. The differences between this album and the previous two is that it has a lot more vocals on it than they have ever done before with both Keith and Maxim singing on several tracks. The band definitely knows how to create original music, as their three albums sounds a lot different from each other, progressing and inventing new sounds which is what makes them sound so good. Personally I prefer the second album which was a lot darker and more of a dance genre, but this album has gone to new levels and has elements of punk, dance and rock all in one. This has been their most successful album by far, maybe because the first single, Firestarter went straight in at number 1 in the charts and brought them right into the mainstream music scene. This could have been due to the fact that video was very raw and aggressive with Keith Flint as centre stage with his spiky hair and body piercing and caused many parents to complain as they though it was too scary for their children to be watching on Top Of The Pops, but as usual these types of complaints always seem to make them more popular.
Okay yeah, you’ll probably suprised I’m doing a review that’s not hiphop (although there is a track featuring the legendary Kool Keith here!). Yeah, primarily I’m a hiphop-head but I like to keep myself open to different genres of music. I can sum my non-hiphop musical tastes up into about 7 bands/artists-The Chemical Brothers, Thingy, Linkin Park, The Bloodhound Gang, Frigid Vinegar and last of all, the most original and inventive of the lot, The Prodigy. As pioneers of urban dance music in general as well as the little-known genre of “evil disco”, of which there are only about two bands anyone has ever heard of even on the underground and The Prodigy clearly dominate. Think dance music, you normally think poncey disco bitches and scallies with light-sticks. Put The Prodigy on and “dance” comes last on the list of things you will want to do to the music, the forefront of such a list behind “beat the crap out of someone” and “sacrifice a virgin”. With a mixture of sounds on “The Fat Of The Land” ranging from punk to rhythm & beat to progressive hiphop and a dark and violent feel captured throughout, The Prodigy take you deep into the depths of the underground.... A common misconception people make is that “underground” merely means a music is little-known. Not so! Few artists have any understanding of what it is to be truly “underground”. Being underground involves a certain darkness or bleakness and a dangerous, experimental feel. Although not wanting to apply hiphop ideals and values to something outside of the culture, The Prodigy manage to capture an air of representativeness for the UK here that many UK hiphop groups fail to achieve. They do this by, instead of merely talking about the UK within their lyrics, bringing in concepts of British culture, e.g. old skool punk, urban London. One thing that dance albums
normally lack is concept tracks. They normally use the same formula throughout the production or vary slightly, sticking to formulas of deviance predetermined by earlier DJs/producers. However, if you take songs like Climbatize, where the listener is taken on a musical odyssey giving the impression of climbing to an immense height through the instrumentals, or Breathe, reputed to tell the story of an experiment to breed fish that can breathe out of water, it becomes obvious that The Prodigy are once again an exception to the norm. Although being conditioned through aeons of hiphop not to fully appreciate other types of music to perhaps the extent I should do, if you like this type of thing The Prodigy will blow your mind. 9.5/10
“Music enriches your mind” Music whether it is the new age music by Yanni, or something hard mental and meditative music like Enigma or some nice soft pop by these boy bands or some nice techno numbers by the Vengaboyz all are music to ears for some one or the other. Metallica and Niravana are kind of heavy metal rock band who know, how to scream from their lungs but its my idea others may find their music to be out of the world and would give them a heavy kick without having booze. Prodigy’s only album I have ever like is the fat of the land. The first time when I heard the song Firestarter must have thought this group must be crazy and nerdy kind. I was not surprised when I saw the video. Though, there are some of the good dance numbers but you can hardly dance because as soon as the song starts your head starts rolling and you are in a different galaxy. The enjoyment, which you get when you had a nice 4 pegs of strong vodka or whisky. The music is such that you don’t need alcohol to get high, the fast and hard banging itself makes it roll you out. No doubt when ever I play this, my mom used to show me the door out. The complete album is fantastic with good mix of instruments but its really hard banging techno and electronic hard rock. Tracks 1. Smack my b**** up You must have listened to the track in the movie Charlie’s Angel. The song starts slowly…moving up and then becomes really hard, your leg will really start rolling but after watching charlie’s angel with this track my hands and legs starts rolling together to beat some one. Kidding. But it is the surprise package of this album. The voice of the lady is really synchronised with the song, which reminds you of enigma. A stunningly beautiful Indian vocal weaves in and out of Smack My B**** Up. 2. Breathe This is more of the conventional rock type. This song became very
popular with Firestarter when this album released. Though this song takes you to the second level of getting high. The able to sound menacing even as it lurches into acoustic guitar breaks, and back into bass and drum explosions 3. Diesel Power My fav. By the time you finish listening to Breathe, you are already in a mould that your body starts shaking hard and your legs moving to the fast rhythm. Though the track is a bit slow but that’s what makes you feel to listen to more and more. 4. Funky ’’Sh**’’ Most vulgar song of this album and FTV’s all time favourite track. 5. Mindfields The most downloaded Prodigy song, but I don’t like this song that much because it is just banging the drums like some one is banging the clothes and trying to wash it. 6. Narayan This is a kulashaker vocal mixed with prodigy and one of the good songs in this album. I really like the way English and Western guys pronounce Narayaana!!! 7. Firestarter This is the all time-hit song by prodigy played in all the parties, discs and pubs. Nice hard-hitting number. Firestarter’’ is simply a true classic. It sounds like it was recorded in some frightening otherworld. People who like hard-hitting, crashing, banging techno-electric rock may find this album and excellent bet. They are in similar lines with Chemical Brothers, this is one my all time favourite album. GO ahead and enjoy this FAT of Hard Hitting Song!!!
I really like the Prodigy and was looking forward to this album when it came out... what could follow the quality sounds of Firestarter and Breathe? Sadly I was disappointed. This album does contain those two tunes, along with the over-hyped Smack My Bitch Up and a great bit of rapping from Keith out of the Ultramagnetics on Diesel Power. The rest of the album doesn't live up to these. Serial Thrilla is just annoying, it isn't a patch on any of the tracks on Music For The Jilted Generation. Funky Sh*t is Sh*t, but not funky. Fuel my fire doesn't really, and is as good as the rest of the rubbish that Republica spout. Narayan is alright, especially considering it has Crispian Mills out of Kula Shaker on it, however it is over long. but the rest of the album is nowhere near as good as the singles. I much prefer "Music For The Jilted Generation", which is a far better album. The Fat Of The Land represents a change of direction for the Prodigy, but I don't know if it is for better or for worse. The whole album has the same continuous style to it, which none of the others do. The album is also shorter than all of the others. The best songs on the album are the singles, Firestarter, Breathe and Smack My Bitch Up. Mindfields is good, but the remix on the Smack My Bitch Up single is much better. Climbatize is a great tune, but again, it starts to drag a bit at the end, although not as badly as Narayan.
Prodigy's third long player is altogether a different journey from the previous two but still a fascinating electronic experience. Liam Howlett has gone back to the drawing board again and refined his music again - this time from the experimental breakbeat techno of "Jilted Generation" to a more rounded punkish, electronic sound. The album kicks off with "Smack My Bitch Up", a tongue in cheek, furious acidic breakbeat workout - a true Prodigy track. "Breathe" successfully combines electric guitars, London punk vocals from dancer Keith and slamming Prodigy breaks to tremendous effect, and before you can pause for thought, the third track "Diesel Power" has crashed in, a slower, hip hop influenced track with a funky yet still hard edged rap feel. Throughout the album, Howlett has demonstrated his ability to take you on a musical journey from the crazy (Firestarter) to the mellow (Narayan). This album is definitely more influenced by the pop/rock stable than the previous albums - with four minute electrifying tracks written with a verse/chorus mentality which only Mr. Howlett could pull off using dance techniques. This album has managed to echo the energy of their first album - somewhat missing on the experimental "Jilted Generation" - yet in a more rounded and complete way. There are some lower points ("Serial Thrilla" seems to be trying too hard at being a rock track) but overall it's definitely a great album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Smack My Bitch Up
3 Diesel Power
4 Funky Shit
5 Serial Thrilla
10 Fuel My Fire