Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 3/22/09
After the release of 1992's Experience, the Prodigy, led by its brainchild Liam Howlett along with vocalist Maxim Reality and dancers Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill, were riding a wave of success due to its singles and shows that were making an impact on the U.K. rave scene. Despite its success, anti-rave laws in Britain were proving troubling while the electronic scene was evolving with Liam Howlett paying full attention. Moving into the hardcore techno scene while experimenting with rock and industrial dance, Howlett began to take his experiments on a single that would eventually be called One Love as it became a success. The single's success would help Howlett take on a record that would prove to the Prodigy's greatest work to date entitled Music for the Jilted Generation.
Written, produced, and performed by Liam Howlett with additional work from Neil McLellan along with writing contributions from group vocalist Maxim Reality and the famed British alternative band Pop Will Eat Itself. Music for the Jilted Generation is an album filled with intense, sprawling tracks devoting to hardcore techno with industrial beats, rock numbers, and music suites as it delves into the subject matter of anti-rave laws and drugs. Confrontational yet energetic, it's an album that proves why Liam Howlett is considered to be one of the best artists of the burgeoning electronic music movement of the 1990s. The result isn't just one of the best electronic albums of the decade but an album that helped define a music movement.
The album begins with an intro of droning synthesizers, typewriters, soft chimes, and various noises with a man talking in noir-like rhythm. Then comes Break And Enter with its throbbing, pulsating tap beats and sounds of broken glass as it features backgrounds of pulsating, metallic beats and siren-like sounds. With its warbling, droning synthesizer flourish, it's a track that definitely sets the tone for its dark, rave sound with female vocals in the background courtesy of a sample of Baby D's Casanova. The electro-rocker Their Law featuring Pop Will Eat Itself with its grinding guitars, warbling synthesizers, thumping beats, and Clint Mansell's growling vocals. With lyrics about the anti-rave laws, it's droning synthesizer and aggressive tone makes this cut one of the album's key standout tracks.
Full Throttle is a fast, thumping track with swirling keyboards that becomes this vibrant track with pulsating tribal beats, distorted scratches, vocal samples, and wailing piano tracks. Along with a sample from the 1977 film Star Wars, it features frenetic synthesizers and piano tracks that plays up to the track's speedy beats. Voodoo People opens with grinding guitar by Lance Riddler with intense, pulsating beats that play through with squealing synthesizer notes that play through along with wailing melodies. Featuring a sample of Nirvana's Very Ape, it's one of the album's best cuts and one of the best singles from the Prodigy ever released. Speedway (Theme From Fastlane) is a fast track featuring noises of race cars passing by with fast, frenetic synthesizer blares and throbbing, pulsating beats with sirens in the background. With its layers of striking synthesizers along with another synthesizer playing wooing notes as it later becomes this swooning, hypnotic track.
The Heat (The Energy) is a pulsating track with its rhythmic, thumping beats and wavy synthesizer line that gets more intense with its speedy, heavy beats and scratchy keyboards. With sections of wailing synthesizer blares and swirling noises that play in the background, it's an intense track with speedy vocals as it's a full-on, hardcore rave track. Poison is a dark, heavy track with droning synthesizer warbles and layers of beats ranging from hi-hat accompaniments to pulsating, mid-tempo beats that serves as the driving force of the song. With Maxim Reality's growling vocals, it's a track that is heavy with its industrial-like aggression and blasting production that is truly amazing to hear. No Good (Start The Dance) is a hypnotic track with its speedy bass lines and frenetic, metallic beats with thumping rhythms and striking synthesizer blares. With speedy vocals sampled from Kelly Charles' No Good For Me, it's features swooning, swirling breaks from a synthesizer as it continues towards its frenetic presentation. An edited version of One Love with its blaring synthesizer flourishes and wailing vocals as it's accompanied by speedy, thumping beats. Along with speedy, organ-like synthesizers, it's a track that is intense while living up to its sound away from the music of Experience.
The next three tracks are all part of a suite known as The Narcotic Suite with its exploration into drugs. The first is 3 Kilos that opens with bubbling sounds as it plays up as a swinging, mid-tempo track with funky guitar riffs, smooth beats with metallic snares, and melodic piano touches. With a frenetic keyboards solo accompanied by a swooning synthesizer and a flute by Phil Bent. Skylined opens with a shimmering, synthesizer track that warbles through along with tapping, thumping beats playing in the background. With a thumping synthesizer track and beats intensifying with layers of pulsating, tribal beats in the background. With a frenetic synthesizer background appearing, it's a track with various layers and sounds that play up to its intensity. The album closer Claustrophobic Sting opens with samples of laughter as its dominated by frenetic, intense synthesizers and pulsating, thumping beats that plays up to its speedy presentation. With wailing vocals in the background, it's intensity and performance filled with quiet vocals makes this track as a fitting closer for the entire album.
From the 2008 expanded edition of the album are nine tracks featuring live songs, B-sides, and remixes. The first two tracks come from the BBC Radio 1 Maida Vale Sessions. First is Voodoo People that features live guitars and louder beats performed live through Liam Howlett's array of samplers, synthesizers, and sequencers as it's more intense than its original recording. Notably its extended guitar breaks along with Maxim Reality's growling vocals in the middle of the song. The second track from that session is Poison which also features a metal-laden guitar track and extended instrumental breaks featuring DJ scratches and flute tracks. Next is an edited live version of Break And Enter that features more intense beats and blaring synthesizer sirens as it's a fantastic live performance. Another live cut from the Pukkelpop music festival is a live version of Their Law. The live version is just as intense and powerful with its grinding guitars and Maxim Reality singing the song's lyrics along with Keith Flint.
From the No Good (Start The Dance) single is the (Bad For You Mix) by Liam Howlett, is a frenetic, fast-paced track with pulsating beats with metallic taps along with thumping bass beats. With intense, blaring synthesizers and speedy bass lines, it's a rave track to the fullest with hardcore big beats and speedy vocals. From the Poison single is a B-side called Scienide with its grinding, warbling electronic presentation including swirling, fuzzy synthesizers and slow, clapping beats. With fast, thumping beats coming around, it's a wonderful instrumental piece with blaring synthesizers and pulsating beats that is intense and frenetic in its hardcore techno sound. From the Voodoo People CD single is Goa (The Heat The Energy) Pt. 2 which is a remix of The Heat (The Energy) with thumping big beats, flying noises, scratchy electronic textures, and spurting vocals. With its warbling synthesizers that are sped up in its performance, it's a remix that is intense.
Two tracks from the Voodoo People remix EP are two remixes with the first being Rat Poison, a remix of Poison which its remix also appeared in its single. The remix features more warbling, thumping bass lines and frenetic beats with cymbal crashes along with Maxim Reality's grunting vocals that are mixed in sputtering rhythms. Along with grinding guitars and Maxim's vocals, it's a remix that intensifies the original song in its energy and presentation. The last track of the expanded version of the album is a remix of Voodoo People by the Chemical Brothers. With Maxim's vocals playing through repeatedly, the remix is filled with swirling loops, throbbing bass lines, and smooth, thumping beats. With its bass leading the track along with vocals of the original track, it's truly one of the best remixes ever made from the Prodigy's great electronic-music rivals in reshaping one of their defining tracks.
Released in July 1994 in Britain, the album was a surprise hit reaching #1 in the U.K. while being released in the U.S. in late February of 1995. The album gave the Prodigy great exposure as it drew rave reviews along with hit singles that helped boost the electronic music scene in Britain. Around the same time, British music was going through serious changes as it indie scene became Brit-pop with a horde of electronic acts getting the same kind of exposure as bands like Oasis and Blur were at the time. The Prodigy was also gaining attention as a live act while in 1996, they played some dates at the Lollapalooza festival in the U.S. It was clear that the momentum for the band was gaining as they were set to take on their most successful project to date.
Music for the Jilted Generation is an intense, sprawling, and heavy masterpiece from the Prodigy. The album is truly one of the best electronic albums ever made with its ode to dance, techno, industrial, electro-rock, and various forms of electronic dance. Thanks in part to Liam Howlett's vision, it's an album that doesn't stray from its intensity as keeps the listener dancing and going crazy. Though the expanded version of the album doesn't offer much rarities that hardcore fans already have. It's a record that is still vital to this day as Music for the Jilted Generation is the Prodigy's greatest achievement to date.
The Prodigy Albums: Experience/Experience Expanded - The Fat of the Land - The Dirtchamber Sessions Vol. 1 - Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned - Invaders Must Die
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