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Smack My Bitch Up - EP

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Album Review

Prodigy's third single off the double-platinum Fat of the Land album features their most controversial and confrontational track. Many feminist groups and conservatives have been rubbed the wrong way by the song title "Smack My Bitch Up," but the band has stated in the press that the title shouldn't be taken literally (Prodigy leader Liam Howlett described the title as a phrase that the band uses that means "to hit the concert stage"). The song, however, just happens to be one of Prodigy's finest, featuring swirling rhythms under the repeated title. The track is featured two times on the single, first as a radio edit (similar to the album version), and as a DJ Hype remix (reworked by the well-known U.K. DJ as a speedy jungle track). None other than Liam Howlett does the "Headrock" remix of "Mindfields," and replaces the original's slight Middle Eastern influence with straight-ahead dance beats. But the most interesting track on the "Smack My Bitch Up" single is a collaboration between Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Howlett, titled "No Man Army." This non-album dance-rocker features repetitive Morello guitar riffs and fills, often compressed or filtered through a wah-wah pedal. This infectious single is another winner from the most imaginative and original electronic dance group today.


Formed: 1990 in Braintree, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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....
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