Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Number 377 - Prodigy


Number 377

Prodigy

"Firestarter"

(1996)
.
.
................Genre: Techno/Rave...............
art by Wolffboy
I'm The Firestarter! Screams Keith Flint during the chorus for the song "Firestarter" by The Prodigy. This song would have not been lost on a Matrix soundtrack audience. The song itself is a piercing thumping explosion of electronica, sampling and just good old plain hard rock. If Sid Vicious were alive today, I wonder what his thoughts would be on the the progression of Punk now. I suspect he would be quietly smiling how a Punk song [yes, i know the song is technically classed as electronica/rave, but the song's true roots are 100% punk] could still reach Number 1 in the charts, 20 years after the Sex Pistols did so brilliantly in 1977 and remember, Punk [like Rap] was just seemed to be a fad and nothing more. This is why "Firestarter" is in the Definitive 1000, it is one of those songs that has defined and changed music by combining many genres to give it, it's own sound ~ crowbarred
wha?
The Prodigy navigated the high-wire, balancing artistic merit and mainstream visibility with more flair than any electronica act of the 1990s. Ably defeating the image-unconscious attitude of most electronic artists in favor of a focus on nominal frontman Keith Flint, the group crossed over to the mainstream of pop music with an incendiary live experience that approximated the original atmosphere of the British rave scene even while leaning uncomfortably close to arena-rock showmanship and punk theatrics. True, Flint's spiky hairstyle and numerous piercings often made for better advertising, but it was producer Liam Howlett whose studio wizardry launched the Prodigy to the top of the charts, spinning a web of hard-hitting breakbeat techno with king-sized hooks and unmissable samples. Despite electronic music's diversity and quick progression during the 1990s -- from rave/hardcore to ambient/downtempo and back again, thanks to the breakbeat/drum'n'bass movement -- Howlett modified the Prodigy's sound only sparingly; swapping the rave-whistle effects and ragga samples for metal chords and chanted vocals proved the only major difference in the band's evolution from their debut to their worldwide breakthrough with their third album The Fat of the Land. Even before the band took its place as the premiere dance act for the alternative masses, the Prodigy had proved a consistent entry in the British charts, with over a dozen consecutive singles in the Top 20.
who's the star?
The Prodigy's incessant road schedule left little time to record, but Howlett managed to bring out the next new Prodigy single in March 1996. "Firestarter" entered the British charts at number one, though the video was almost banned due to complaints about arson fixation; many Top of the Pops viewers also complained that Keith Flint had scared their children. An unmissable guitar hook and Flint's catcall vocal antics -- his first on record -- made it a quick worldwide hit and though "Firestarter" wasn't a major success in the U.S., its high-profile spot in MTV's Buzz Bin introduced the Prodigy to many Americans and helped fuel the major-label push for electronica during the following year (though the Prodigy did reject collaborative offers from David Bowie, U2 and Madonna). In the middle of the electronica buzz, the Prodigy dropped their third album, The Fat of the Land. Despite rather obvious attempts to court mainstream rock fans (including several guest-vocalist spots and an L7 cover), the LP entered both British and American charts at number one, shifting several million units worldwide. The next Prodigy full-length was 1999's The Dirtchamber Sessions a mix album helmed by Howlett. ~ [John Bush, All Music Guide]
Firestarter [The Song]
aaarrrgghhh!
It was The Prodigy's first big national and international hit, also reaching number one in Finland and Norway. It featured Flint's punky vocals which showcased him as the group's frontman. The title and lyrics were subject of controversy in the UK because of their violent nature. The music video further boosted these controversies. The songwriting credits—among Liam Howlett and Keith Flint—include Kim Deal of alt-rock group The Breeders. The looped wah-wah guitar riff in "Firestarter" was sampled from The Breeders' track "S.O.S." from the album Last Splash. Because of the use of a sample from a 1984 single "Close (To the Edit)" songwriting credits also list Art of Noise's then-members: Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, J.J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan and Paul Morley. The "Emperion Mix," which does not include these samples, is credited solely to Howlett and Flint. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For Sex Pistols see Number 434, #500
For David Bowie see Number 390, #455, #465, #495, #513 [w Queen] & #634
For U2 see Number 661, MM Vol 1 #038, #129
For Madonna see Number 478, #571, MM Vol 1 #077
For the Breeders see MM Vol 1 #075
For Art Of Noise see Number 740
What does RS think of Prodigy?
The uneven journey of one U.K. band from club heroes to stadium-techno monsters following the lackluster sales and reviews for 2004's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, the Prodigy are aiming to milk their back catalog with this two-disc collection of hits and rarities. For its first ten tracks, Disc One provides arena-rave bliss via familiar anthems like "Firestarter," but lesser singles yield diminishing pleasures. Disc Two's outtakes, remixes, B sides and live tracks reaffirm that leader Liam Howlett and cronies veered dramatically between brilliance and mediocrity throughout their career: After hitting the U.K. pop charts in 1991 with their hardcore-rave breakthrough "Charly," the Prodigy embraced rock & roll-size ambitions. Early fans griped when the band morphed into a metal-techno monster, but four 1997 concert cuts and a new mix of "Voodoo People" rock triumphantly hard. ~ [Source: RS 2006]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '377th Song of all Time' was "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles. Ray Charles "Hit The Road Jack" has appeared in The Definitive 1000 of All Time @ #518
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (The Prodigy?) and the Album ranked at (Are they a 60's group?)
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 79.5 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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