Prodigy - The Fat Of The Land (Vinyl)

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The Fat of the Land is the third studio album by English electronic ravers The Prodigy. It was first released on 30 June 1997 by XL Recordings in the United Kingdom and on 1 July 1997 by Maverick Records in the United States. The album received critical acclaim and topped the UK & US Album Charts. It has sold over 10 million copies worldwide as of 2019.
While Liam Howlett is generally responsible for the compositions and Maxim Reality is featured on two tracks, this is the first record to include contributions by Keith Flint (RIP), who provides vocals on four of the songs and co-wrote three songs, including the two biggest hits, both of which reached No. 1 on the UK singles chart. He is also the vocalist on a cover of the L7 song "Fuel My Fire". The Fat of the Land album cover featured a new logo, dropping "The" and adding an ant silhouette. The album title comes from the old English phrase 'living off the fat of the land', which means living well or being wealthy.


Supposedly, this was the album that was to make techno/electronica mainstream in the US. That is because by the time the album was released, The Prodigy had already scored two number ones with Breathe and Firestarter. Of course, as well as that, The Prodigy had already caught the attention of audience and critics alike with their hard hitting Music for the Jilted Generation, so there was a lot of anticipation under that aspect as well.

Well, really, the album is loud, violent, sexy and hard hitting; it can't be ignored. It is the kind of album where the music demands you to pay attention whether you like it or not. In other words, this is not background music. Can you imagine a song like Breathe in the average bar while you and your friends sip a nice cold beer? No, the first thing that you think of when you hear the hard hip hop beats and the collected and frantic chaos is people absolutely shitfaced on the dance floor dancing or jumping around like their life depends on it.

Okay, a lot of the tracks are repetitive. As a matter of fact, the beats themselves especially make most songs seem like sequels or to use a much less flattering term, copies, of the smash hit Firestarter. But there is something about the sound that goes beyond the beats that makes Prodigy recognisable to anyone who ever dared to listen and discover their music. And in the end, it does help that the production on it is superb. Liam Howlett is the right man for the job, and arguably the greatest contributor to this album. Smack My Bitch Up would probably not have been as good as it is a cracking opener without his production, which shows inventiveness in a song that, again, admittedly, should have sounded a lot more like Firestarter than it ultimately does.

The sound is aggressive, decadent and sexy. Keith Flint's vocals on Breathe suggest something that is dangerously intriguing. Jibberish like the one found in songs like Serial Thrilla really should sound cheesy. But this is the nineties. Noel Gallagher was doing the same thing. Style was everything, or almost everything. So when Flint screams 'succumb to me', everything makes sense, and images start flying around your head. In Breathe, once again, we are almost forced to succumb to the beat. When we get a sort of intermission, with the psychedelic instrumental in the middle of the song, it is almost as if the strengthening of the master - slave relationship between band and listener is complete.

In the funky hip-hop tune diesel power, the rap is fantastic - Kool Keith here is at his best. Narayan gives the album its highest peak as far as neo-psychedelia is concerned. This song could represent the evolution of music, and it even features Crispian Mills from Kula Shaker on vocals. Fuel My Fire, on the other end, ends the album with the same aggression with which it started, but once again, the production values are quite evident, particularly towards the end of the song when the lead keyboard part becomes more prominent.

As I listened to this album, there were parts where I feared for the life of my speakers, and expected them to blow up at any minute. Sadistically, I must say a part of me would have enjoyed the explosion. The aggression hits everything in the room when the music from this album plays. It is a real psychedelic trip and the defining work of a band that played a key role in the style and mainstream music of the nineties, but still makes a lot of the same wave music from today look shy in comparison.

By: Silverscreen89

A1 Smack My Bitch Up
A2 Breathe
B1 Diesel Power
B2 Funky Shit
C1 Serial Thriller
C2 Minefields
C3 Narayan
D1 Firestarter
D2 Climbatize
D3 Fuel My Fire

Released on XL Recordings, 1997.

In 1999, The Fat of the Land entered the Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling UK album.