1997, Music

The Fat of the Land (1997) by Prodigy

Like everyone on the planet I have heard the three singles more times than I can count. The only reason those tracks don’t sound so dated is because I’ve heard them so much; they were so much a part of my late ’90s high school life even though I didn’t even understand what electronic music was.

There is a certain appeal to this style of electronic music that kind of combines what was emerging in electronic music with an attitude that is basically “punk” (or, at times, hip hop). I understand why these songs were popular; certainly us in Canada had never heard anything like this to the best of my knowledge.

But holy shit has this music dated poorly. The technology used to make this album sounds like it comes from another era (as it does) and, given that this album was made with technology – ’90s keyboards, samplers and sequencers – and only the odd vocal, it sounds like 1997.

And, frankly, the rest of the music on the record isn’t of the standard of the singles (putting aside their lyrics, which you can argue about).

This is a singles-heavy record that hasn’t dated well. But it was big in the ’90s.

6/10

  1. “Smack My Bitch Up” (Liam Howlett, Cedric Miller, Trevor Randolph, Maurice Smith, Keith Thornton) 5:42
  2. “Breathe” (Howlett, Keith Flint, Keith Palmer) 5:35
  3. “Diesel Power” (Howlett, Thornton) 4:17
  4. “Funky Shit” (Howlett, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, Adam Yauch) 5:16
  5. “Serial Thrilla” (Howlett, Flint, Leonard Arran, Deborah Dyer) 5:11
  6. “Mindfields” (Howlett, Palmer) 5:40
  7. “Narayan” (Howlett, Crispian Mills) 9:05
  8. “Firestarter” (Howlett, Flint, Kim Deal, Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, Gary Langan, Jonathan Jeczalik, Paul Morley) 4:40
  9. “Climbatize” (Howlett, Timothy Taylor) 6:38
  10. “Fuel My Fire” (Donita Sparks, Peter Jones, Ross Knight, Bill Walsh) 4:19
  • Keith Flint – vocals (“Breathe”, “Serial Thrilla”, “Firestarter”, “Fuel My Fire”)
  • Liam Howlett – keyboards, synthesizers, sampling, programming, production, engineering, mixing, art direction
  • Maxim Reality – vocals (“Breathe”, “Mindfields”)

Additional musicians:

  • Shahin Badar – vocals (“Smack My Bitch Up”)
  • Kool Keith – vocals (“Diesel Power”)
  • Crispian Mills – vocals (“Narayan”)
  • Saffron – vocals (“Fuel My Fire”)
  • Gizz Butt – guitar (“Fuel My Fire”)
  • Jim Davies – guitar (“Breathe”, “Firestarter”)
  • Matt Cameron – drums
  • Tom Morello – guitar (“No Man Army”)

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