The Brains of Braintree brining the rave sound to the Jilted Generation, they’ve been around for thirty years and even with the untimely death of front man Keith Flint, they’re still raving it up!
The rules are simple no remix’s just original tracks from either albums or single releases.
So it’s time to rank our top ten Prodigy records
I know what you’re thinking Firestarter at ten really?
Well hold on let me explain, because Firestarter is a great track and undoubtedly the Prodigy’s biggest hit but like so many other this was for many of us our entry point into the Prodigy’s world and if you stuck around and dug a little deeper you’ll find tracks even better than Firestarter.
The track in question came about because Keith Flint wanted to do vocals on a track and just so happened that Producer extraordinary Liam Howlett just so happened to have Firestarter ready to go.
Mixing “Close to the end” by Art of Noise giving us the “Hey Hey Hey” sound and the Breaders track “S.O.S.” to get that iconic riff heard throughout the song (Kim Deal of Breaders gets a song writing credit) the track became an icon not to mention the iconic video filmed at the abandoned Aldwych underground station the track became the first to brake America for the Prodigy.
From the “Invaders Must Die” album, this track market the return of the Prodigy to their rightful places as the kings of Drum & Base and whilst Pendulum’s “in Silico” did bridge the Gap between “Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned” and “Invader” it’s just not the same!
Omen is a tour de force and yes it was the second single from the “Invader” album it achieved the most success becoming the band’s first top 5 hit since “Breathe” in 1996 reaching number 4 in the singles chart and number 1 in the UK dance chart.
The only thing I don’t know about this track is why there’s Wednesday Adams playing a glockenspiel in the video.
Do you hate partying? Do you think Ibiza dj’s are wank? Then this is the track for you!
Teaming up with the brilliant Sleafod Mods on this banger, it’s a profanity filled satire of the Ibiza club scene with lyrics such as “Private jet, personal flyer. All Danny, all fucking Dyer” which might just be my favourite lyrics in any record ever.
This track has two appeals because as stated it’s a banger however it’s also great comedy because it never fails to make me laugh with its satire.
The video is also brilliantly done with the Mods and Prodigy having ago at a travel agent.
7. Charly (Original Mix)
This is the first ever released by the band in 1991, the song which has perhaps the greatest use of a public information film ever although ‘Frankie Goes To Hollywood’ might have something to say about that (see “Two Tribes”), using the Charly says clip from the “Say No To Strangers” film the track sounds industrial.
What do I mean by industrial, I just hear the sound of hammers of steel and it just puts me in an abandoned factory in the middle of a rave. The fact that the video should probably have a strobe lighting affects warning before it speaks volumes for what the band were unleashing on Britain at the time.
6. Warriors Dance
We return to the “Invaders” album for a track that reached number 9 in the UK singles charts and Number 1 in the UK dance chart. This record is the twentieth single from The Prodigy and their third from “Invaders”.
The track's chorus is a sample of "Take Me Away" by Final Cut with True Faith. It also contains beat samples from "Let The Warriors Dance" by Addis Posse. It’s apocalyptic in nature and would suit any end of the world party, that’s if you wanted to get plastered at a rave for the end of the world, who wouldn’t?
The video for the track is one of the most creative from The Prodigy featuring raving cigarette packets in a show which subsequently burns in the video. Interesting side note is that the video was lined up for a first exclusive play on Channel 4 in the UK but was pulled by the broadcaster.
5. Diesel Power
Now days Diesel is controversial, thanks VW, But back in the 90s this merger of Drum & Base with Hip Hop (which has been done before by the Prodigy) is an underrated anthem on “The Fat of The Land” featuring American rapper and producer Kool Keith is similar for me to “Funky Shit”.
I challenge any of you to learn the lyrics to this song and rap along, it’s freaking difficult to keep up without taking a long pause for breath. This song made me want to check out old school hip hop and rap and so I did, without this track I wouldn’t be a fan of Public Enemy or N.W.A.
Another side note on this one there’s a great cover of this track by Dragon Style which I recommend you check out!
4. Voodoo People
From The Prodigy’s sophomore album “Music for the Jilted Generation” samples The Shalimar’s brilliant The Last Poets for the hook “Magic People, Voodoo People” line and so many other samples it’s absolutely amazing. In fact someone has even gone through the track found the samples which you can watch here.
The video to this song was actually changed it features former Band member Leory Thornhill as a Voodoo Priest, however there are more graphic versions of the video featuring Witch doctors that can be seen online but were never aired due to censorship.
This track was made even better with the Pendulum remix which also has an excellent music video, but check out the remix if you haven’t done so because it’s epic!
3. Out of Space
The fourth single from the album “Experience”, the song is arguably the most well-known of the Prodigy’s early work. This record is up there with Firestarter when it’s played everyone does their rave dance (whatever that is).
This track samples the greatest reggae tracks not made by Bob Marley in Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil” and if you’re wondering where ‘I’ll take your brain to another dimension’ comes from? That would be Ultramagnetic MC’s track “Critical Breakdown”.
This is a fantastic track plus who doesn’t love the sound of a classic Hannah-Barbera Boing!
2. Smack My Bitch Up!
One of the most controversial records in British music history and still an absolute banger! This is one of those cases where the more controversy it cause the more people wanted to listen and listen they did gaining a cult following. The controversial nature of the track stems from its suggestive title and explicit music video, which depicted scenes of drunken and drug-fuelled sexual excess and violence.
In this track we see Cool Keith return for a third time on this list with Ultramagnetic MC’s “Give the Drummer Some” with the lyrics being ‘switch up change my pitch up/smack my bitch up, like a pimp’. By the way good luck finding the video on Youtube! But we found it so aren't you lucky people.
The video depicts a night out from a first person perspective, drinking, heavy drug use, violence, vomiting, sex and so much more. By the end of the video after the protagonist has sex with a stripper, they look in a mirror where we find out the protagonist is a woman.
According to Liam Howlett "There's a realness to that video. Most people have had nights out like that, off their head on coke and drink… It's not to everyone's taste, but not everything we do is. No radio station was gonna play the song, so we thought we'd make a video that no one would play either."
There are plenty of tracks I haven’t mentioned, “Breathe” and “No good” being the biggest anthems omitted from this list. But I argue to you that this is the Prodigy’s greatest ever record.
If you wanted a flavour of how apocalyptic the rave seen and culture were in the early 90’s then this is the track you have to listen to!
Jericho which was released alongside Fire, uses an interpolation of the distinct melody in "Kunta Kinte" by the Revolutionaries. This is the sound that evolved from the Acid House, artists like Adonis, Quando Quango, T Coy and A Guy Called Gerald (yes that was a real Acid House artist) less we mention the role the Hacienda played in Rave developing.
This track is 90’s rave summed up into one track and it’s amazing.
So that’s our list, any we didn’t include that you thought we should then let us know in the comments below.