Weekender #3 : The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land

Released 30th June 1997.

It’s easy to consider The Fat of the Land in just numbers: straight to number one in the US where it eventually sold 2.5m copies, fastest selling UK album at the time, more than 10m sold worldwide and the most complaints ever received by the BBC after the Firestarter video premiered on it’s pre-watershed music staple Top Of The Pops.

By any measure this kind of success is phenomenal, especially given that prior to it’s release The Prodigy had largely been perceived as something of anomaly, a hangover from the rave era slowly heading off to oblivion.

The Fat of the Land changed all that, and although it’s creators have inevitably never come anywhere near it’s raucous, anarchic feel again they set in motion a chain of events which vitalised strains of rock and hip-hop, paving the way for nu-metal, the UK grime scene and – decades later – influencing American acts like Death Grips.

Part of it’s appeal was a shapeshifting quality which brought air guitarists and losing-their-shit headfreaks onto the same plane; the rest was done by soundtracking the baddest best night you’d ever had, from the warm up tones of Funky Shit to Firestarter’s wasted,  4 a.m. paranoia and regret.

Sometimes change comes from those you least expect. The Fat of the Land devoured everything it touched – and nothing exposed to it was ever quite the same again. Read the full review here. And listen to it here.

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