Ultimate Cyberpunk Soundtrack -Fat of the Jilted Generation 

Mess with the best, die like the rest

Author: Stephen Hupfer
This was originally going to be an article dedicated specifically to The Prodigy’s – The Fat of the Land, but after having a chat with Sophie about how good Music for the Jilted Generation is as well, I thought I’d encompass both albums. Seeing as it’s Cyberpunk Week at Corehammer, we will tilt our hats to the ultimate Cyberpunk soundscape artist and take a trip down memory lane.

The year is 1995. Johnny Mnemonic, Waterworld, Tank Girl, and Judge Dredd have all hit the theatres. On top of these high-tier films sits the ultimate film of all time, Hackers. Now, I know this is not a Hackers spotlight, but it is my favourite film and it happens to include the tracks “One Love” and “Voodoo People” from the album Jilted Generation, which was released a year prior, so I had to give it a spot. Whenever “Voodoo People” comes on when I’m not watching the film, all I can picture is rollerblading on the run from cops in New York City. This album doesn’t sit as high for me as Fat Of The Land, but it definitely still has some major hits.

Note: that heavy-ass riff in “Their Law” makes you want to crack someone’s head with a beer bottle and get involved in a 200 mph car chase.

Let’s fast forward to 1997. Satisfaction is the Death of Desire is bestowed upon us. Fifth Element, Event Horizon, and Starship Trooper are released. It was a good year for films, but it was an even better year for sick film soundtracks because Fat of the Land was released by the lunatics in The Prodigy. From that point on, in my eyes, it wasn’t a successful sci-fi flick if I didn’t hear the anthems, and nothing got your heart racing faster in a film than “Breathe” or “Smack My Bitch Up,” aside from maybe some peak Angelina Jolie side-boob.

The group also had a few music videos, specifically “Breathe” and “Smack My Bitch Up,” both songs being from Fat of the Land. I remember watching the video for “Breath” when I was younger and it scaring the shit out of me with all the bugs and trashed rooms in a dilapidated apartment building. Even now, going back and watching it has me feeling like I’m having a bad trip on whatever drugs people do at The Prodigy’s shows.

As for “Smack My Bitch Up,” the song stirred controversy all over the place, especially from the National Organization for Women (NOW), saying it provoked violence against women. I think that statement is a bit of a stretch considering the music video is shot in first person point-of-view, showing someone’s night of doing drugs, drinking, fighting guys, and getting down with a stripper, only to pan to a mirror revealing—spoiler alert—it was a woman the whole time. I can see from a lyrical standpoint where NOW’s opinion could be taken, but Liam Howlett, the “leader” of the group, stated in an interview with Addicted to Noise that the “song is probably the most pointless song [he has] ever written.”

Note: At a festival in 1998, prior to The Prodigy going on, the Beastie Boys asked that they didn’t perform “Smack My Bitch Up;” however, during their set, Howlett went on the mic to say, “They asked us not to play this song, but we do whatever the fuck we want,” and I personally think that’s as cool as it gets.

Now, I may have only been 4 and 6 years old when these albums were released, but that’s not to say I didn’t feel the ripple of their existence. I still own Fat of the Land on CD and I listen to it on occasion when I feel like going 90 miles an hour down a stretch of highway. These records contain some true gems that have gone on to film soundtracks that will forever be connected in my mind. Hackers, Spawn, Event Horizon, and The Matrix all included songs from both Jilted Generation and Fat of the Land. Most of those films, I think, are fully-involved in the cyberpunk genre. I can picture both of these albums blaring from rusted-out, ancient speakers in a seedy back ally deep in the hive cities of Necromunda, all the while gangs go fist for fist in the streets.

 

One thought on “Ultimate Cyberpunk Soundtrack -Fat of the Jilted Generation 

  1. Honourable mentions should go to pop will eat it self (still laugh when i see the drummer fixing cars on tv now, any one else spot the suit of power armor in the workshop on car sos?), and ultra violent, clawfinger and cubinate, as well as the ubiquitous fear factory…
    ’95-’97 was a great time to like guitars and samplers….

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