The latest in a run of influential 90s British albums to get a reissue, including most recently Massive Attack's Blue Lines, is Prodigy's 1997 chart-topping dance album. Although The Fat of the Land was not so much influential - because the Essex trio had already accomplished that with their 1992 debut, Experience, and follow up Music For the Jilted Generation - but more like a full-blown breakthrough. It remains one of the biggest selling dance music albums of all times, with more than 10 million copies sold, and was No. 1 in 24 countries (including here in New Zealand).
And 15 years on, big songs like Smack My Bitch Up, Breathe and Firestarter still have the power to turn you into a demented dancing freak. The dynamic and tension of Breathe, with its taut and creepy beats and the dual lyrical venom of Keith Flint and Maxim, is especially fiery, as is the techno punk of Fuel My Fire and the propulsive big beat of Funky Shit. For all the uppity and banging dance songs, the album also has the swaggering lope of tracks like Diesel Power, the more expansive and challenging electronica of Mindfields, and the smooth, stealthy nine-minute epic Narayan transports you back to the hedonistic days of 90s dance music.
This reissue also comes with six bonus remixes, the best of which is Zed's Dead's steely elastic take on Breathe.
The only letdown is the dance rock of Serial Thrilla, which sounds like it could lapse into nu metal at any minute, but otherwise The Fat of the Land really is the funky shit.
Click here to buy Fat of the Land by Prodigy.
- TimeOutBy Scott Kara @scottkara Email Scott