The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land

Album Selection: The Fat of the Land, by The Prodigy

April 2024 – Alain Dupuis

The Prodigy — The Fat of the Land

Hey Sonic Collectivists, this is Alain. It’s April 2024, it’s my turn to pick, and I’m taking us back to the late 90’s. A time when rollerblades were still cool, kids were trying to keep their Tamagotchis alive, and the popular music scene was diversifying in new and interesting ways — probably in an effort to shake off the heavy stench of grunge that had dominated the early half of the decade. Enter The Prodigy. The Essex electropunk outfit had formed in 1990, making a name for themselves in the UK’s electronic music and rave scenes. Founded by Liam Howlett, the band gained notoriety for their electrifying live performances and a sound that deftly merged various genres, including techno, breakbeat, hardcore, and industrial. Their aggressive style and punk attitude set them apart in the electronic music space. But it wasn’t until their third album, The Fat of the Land hit the scene in June of 1997 that The Prodigy really achieved commercial success and all the fame and mainstream recognition that goes along with it. This album played a pivotal role in bringing the electronic music scene into mainstream awareness. The Fat of the Land represented a dramatic departure from the rave sounds that characterized earlier Prodigy releases, this album showcased a gritty, industrial style that blended elements of electronica with breakbeat hardcore and rock influences. The album also  marked the first time Prodigy songs featured lead vocals, which are notably present in the singles Firestarter and Breathe. The video for Firestarter, really made the Essex ravers household names, and burnt the image of Keith Flint and his wild, inverted mohawk into my core memories.  Liam Howlett’s production featured impossibly heavy fusions of hardcore dance, punk rock and heavy metal, and the Kool Keith-sampling Smack My Bitch Up stoked  controversy, which resulted in yet more attention from the unwitting public. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching number 1 on the US chart. The Fat of the Land captured the intense, rebellious spirit of the late ’90s, appealing to a wide audience and earned The Prodigy critical acclaim worldwide. This is an important album because it managed to find a home with fans across the rock and electronic music spectrums. Its success not only cemented The Prodigy’s place in music history but also influenced a generation of electronic music producers and artists. The Prodigy have gone on to do  worldwide tours and sell millions of albums. Not too shabby for a bunch of ravers. Join us this month as we dive into The Fat of the Land and try to figure out what made this album so popular and relevant to so many people. Does it still hold up all these years later? Did we enjoy listening to it? Would we recommend it? Find out the answer to these questions and more when we regroup at the end of the month for our review episode. Until then, feel free to play along and listen to the album, then let us know what you think of The Fat of the Land. You can find us on all the usual social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, and of course you can always leave a comment on Links

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