When it comes to pivotal, epoch-defining, generation-influencing influencing albums, The Prodigy – The Fat Of The Land is royalty.
The zenith of their 90s dominance – which began in the early 90s with rave-shaping singles before Experience and Music For The Jilted Generation blew minds in 92 and 94 respectively – The Prodigy guided us through dance music’s many twists and turns with bulletproof beats and bass throughout the decade.
Simultaneously referencing and informing everything that was happening at the time (nascent forms of drum & bass, big beat, breaks, house, hip-hop, the list goes on) in their own unique way, electronic music (especially bass music from the UK) wouldn’t sound anything like it does without Liam’s punk-approach to dynamics, drum work and energy.
Those old enough to remember The Fat Of The Land when it was first released on June 30 1997 (just days after they headlined Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage for the second time in as many years) will know how out of this world Breathe, Firestarter and Smack My Bitch Up truly were when they dropped. Genuinely, nothing sounded like them at the time. Nothing.
The big hitters aside, the rest of the album stands tall with age, too… The sludgy toxic breaks of Funky Shit and its segue into the swampy rock of Serial Thrilla, the diced drum magic of Mindfield and the sci-fi cinematic odyssey of Climbatize are all pure Prodigy with every signature we know and love them for in place… You can hear Keith Flint finding the voice he’d developed live in the studio. You can hear the rock elements they teased at with Their Law on the previous album all falling into place.
Little did we know this would be the band’s best work for almost 12 years… We had to wait until February 2009 when Invaderz Must Die came along and reminded us just how heavy, forthright and uncompromised the Prodigy could be.
Here’s Fat Of The Land in all its 19 year old glory. Roll on Monday July 4 when Music For The Jilted Generation celebrates 22 years. Sorry if this makes you feel old…