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The Prodigy: The Fat Of The Land

Enviable as it may sound, it probably isn't a whole lot of fun to be the media-anointed "next big thing" and subject of a multimillion-dollar major-label bidding war. Because frankly, for all the hype and media attention and MTV saturation, no one knows whether The Prodigy can sell lots of records—let alone singlehandedly revitalize a drastically slumping record industry. Fortunately, like the industry's most recent would-be salvation, The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy does nothing but crank out overwhelming electronic music that strives only to be pumped out of giant speakers. There are no grand statements on The Fat Of The Land, only oft-repeated, adrenaline-pumping catch-phrases: "I am the firestarter! The wicked firestarter!" "Smack my bitch up!" "Serial thrilla! Serious killa!" And fortunately, for every over-the-top single, there's a densely arranged, rave-'til-dawn instrumental ("Funky Shit") or whacked-out electro-rap song ("Diesel Power," featuring Dr. Octagon's Kool Keith). The Fat Of The Land is all over the place—with a surprising degree of personality, and a diverse stable of guest vocalists and collaborators—yet there are few outright failures. Even pumped-up, bile-purging, KMFDM-style assaults like "Breathe" and "Serial Thrilla" are refreshingly free of the tortured, one-note rage that too often mars that sub-genre. Of course, The Fat Of The Land is nowhere near the shot-heard-'round-the-world some people delusionally expect it to be; few actual shots-heard-'round-the-world are billed as such before they've even been released. But it's an entertaining record, and that's all it should need to be.


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