We’ve noticed that we don’t have many articles or reviews of The Prodigy on The Rockhaq Community, so we’re going to put that right! This week marks a huge 20 years since the release of The Fat Of The Land – an album that changed the face of British music in the 1990’s. We’re going to mark this with a list of our Top 5 The Prodigy tracks of all time.
We haven’t selected any tracks The Prodigy have released in the last decade for our Top 5 list. That’s because we think everything they did after 1997-ish has been pants. Some of you might find this article educational, others might laugh nostalgically. Whatever your thoughts are, feel free to share them with us in our comments section 😉
Number 1: Out Of Space
1.Out Of Space: Experience, 1992
For those who think ‘shuffling’ was born with LMFAO’s Party Rock; think again. The Prodigy’s dancers were just as crucial to them – and the early 90’s ‘rave’ scene – as their insane hundred-mile-an-hour dance beats were. Out Of Space features reggae and hip-hop samples set against frenetic beats. Rapper Kool Keith is sampled for the track’s title. Out Of Space is from their debut album Experience, a landmark release in the history of British rave music. The Out Of Space video also features ostriches and satellites. Weird.
Number 2: Voodoo People
2.Voodoo People: Music For The Jilted Generation, 1994
Perhaps the best track from any dance band in the world ever, Voodoo People is still an absolute monster. Sitting on The Prodigy’s Music For The Jilted Generation album, it samples Nirvana’s guitar riff from Very Ape to a staggering effect, placing thundering breakbeat and techno behind it. The single is also littered with chilling ‘voodoo’ spoken word poetry from Gylan Kain. It all sounds like it just shouldn’t work, but Voodoo People is a flipping amazing assault on your eardrums. Go listen to it now!
Number 3: Firestarter
3. Firestarter: The Fat Of The Land, 1996
Number 3 in our Top 5 The Prodigy tracks list is this. This track and its video caused a cultural and social furore when it hit UK airwaves and TV screens in 1996. It established a frontman for The Prodigy for the first time, in the shape of a snarling Keith Flint, and showed that the old rave act had evolved into a techno-punk-metal behemoth. Firestarter skilfully unites samples from the rock (The Breeders), pop (Art of Noise), R’n’B worlds (Ten City) and features a real guitarist as part of The Prodigy’s lineup. Although Flint boasts about being a “twisted firestarter”, it’s fairly clear to anyone with a sense of irony that he’s just arson around 😉
Number 4: Breathe
4. Breathe: The Fat Of The Land, 1996
Hot on the heels of Firestarter’s release in 1996 came the monumental Breathe. This was again a new move, establishing dual frontman/MC roles for Keith Flint and Maxim Reality. Although it’s a definite breakbeat track, Breathe again uses a real guitarist to achieve a more organic rock sound, as opposed to just sampling these effects. Samples are still here – this time from Thin Lizzy and hip-hop maestros Wu Tang Clan – but Breathe is a very slick dance-rock track overall. 10/10.
Number 5: Smack My B**** Up
5. Smack My B**** Up: The Fat Of The Land, 1996
Although we don’t think much of the song or its video, we can’t justify leaving this out of our Top 5 The Prodigy tracks list. This is the most controversial single The Prodigy ever released. Many critics believe that it’s misogynistic and encourages violence towards women. The original lyrics are sampled from rapper Kool Keith (again!) though so perhaps it’s him that we need to be levelling accusations of domestic violence at. Liam Howlett seems to have made a boo-boo in his choice of sample on this occasion. Nevertheless, the song caused a massive stir at the time.
What do you think of our Top 5 The Prodigy Tracks to mark the 20th anniversary of The Fat Of The Land? Do you think we’re nuts to have stopped at 1996? Let us know.