The Prodigy "MUSIC FOR THE JILTED GENERATION" (XL-Recordings, 1994)

The first Prodigy album"Experience" from 1992 was a succesful rave record with furious breakbeats and high-pitched voices. The third one, "The Fat of the Land", was a collection of slow, rockin' big beat tracks. "Music..." is somewhere inbetween, still using the fast, unconventional beats and samples to create tracks that work in the clubs, but already feeling its way to the rock music approach. It is also the album which gained the band's popularity on a wider international scale (but not quite comparable to where they firestarted afterwards).

INTRO Some noices and someone talking. Unrated

BREAK & ENTER Dragging beat, creeping bass, shattered glass as snare drum and a pungent wheeep sample. A few major breaks with strings, a fantastic hookline and some female vocals are followed by a tremendous reentering into the creepy theme. Some jingling sounds are like a reminiscence of the raving times. 7.5

THEIR LAW The guitars arrived! With more vocals and shorter, this one could have been on "The Fat of the Land". A hot, steamy and dirty theme with a guitar riff and a vocal-like acid sample on the 1's. No real hooklines here but very recognizable. 8.0

FULL THROTTLE This track is from their "One Love" EP that was released between the first and second album. Fast, but not over the top breakbeat manic and with a piano in the main theme that a year earlier would have been accompanied by high-pitched vocal samples. I like the frog-like bass in the third theme. 6.5

VOODOO PEOPLE Back to the guitars, this time going with the bass. Great beat with nice and loud snares swirling all over, carried by a pumping 303-like sample and flute play, are all that this track needs to set the jungle on fire. 9.0

SPEEDWAY (THEME FROM FASTLANE) Race car samples slightly recalling "Autobahn", just with double the speed. Comes with an emphatic bass playing only one note that prevents everything from breaking out. The whole track is very straightforward and techno with just a little bass drum breaks here and there. 7.0

THE HEAT (THE ENERGY) Starts with a non-beat first part which does not seem to be perfectly mixed to sound really atmospherical. The second part provides with pretty straightforward, thin bass drums and one of these typical crazy basses. The third part gets loud and low, though it stays rather minimal for Prodigy standards. Breakbeats come later. And a theme with very loud strings. Very complex track with some experimentation. 7.5

POISON This was the album's last single and a foreshadowing of things to come on the next album. It rocks, very slowly, very steamy, and features the vocals that would dominate the next singles. For the first time the percussions sound natural and the only real synthetic track that sticks out is the swirling bass. One of the pioneer tracks of the big beat genre. 9.5

NO GOOD (START THE DANCE) This definitely sounds like an "Experience" track slowed down. The biggest "hit" on the album, providing a catchy vocal sample, a stimulating hook line and a rolling rhythm with a dominant metallic snare. Dance floor filler. 9.0

ONE LOVE Like "Full Throttle" a fast paced, light track. Nice 303 line and a strange vocal sample are the highlights, but really nothing special here all in all. The song gets faded out early so you can imagine what the band thought of it... 6.0

3 KILOS The last three tracks are separated from the rest of the album as "The Narcotic Suite". But I will try to review them as sober as possible. This one here has a less distinctive beat and bass programming than the tracks we heard before. What makes "3 Kilos" special is the flute play (according to the credits actual live play) and heavy breathing samples, which gives it a somewhat organic feeling. 6.5

SKYLINED There are a lot of breaks with strings to be found on this record, but here is where they come out the most effective. You are introduced to a hasty fan-like sample with little to no beat and then suddenly the sky opens and you fly into the sun. Not really a chill out track though, since some pumping beats are following, but more of a trance approach to give some variety. 8.0

CLAUSTROPHOBIC STING Which brings us to something of an acid track with huge hammer beats punching right into your brain cells. The Prodigy come up exhaustingly with a hypnotic finish. 8.0

[Artwork] There is an interesting sculpture on the front cover and a police vs. hippies painting in the inside. Unfortunately my CD booklet has four pages with merchandise offerings, which is a big minus. 6.0

Conclusion In the middle of Prodigy's transition from happy rave to dirty big beat, "Music For The Jilted Generation" is their most varied record, as it is swinging between both extremes. Nevertheless the tracks appear as a cohesive unit with a unique texture. The mix of slow and fast, mass appealing and experimental tracks is perfect. Most tracks appear to have been produced more for the clubs, so they are longer (the album itself lasts over 74 minutes). But there is always something happening and boredom should not be a big issue if you just listen to it. Overall Rating: 7.58

April 2007