Q Magazine August 2004
Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned - Track by Track
Massive opener and statement of intent, featuring vocals from actress Juliette Lewis. I wanted to start with World War III, says Liam Howlett. A friend saw Juliette's band, The Licks, in Los Angeles and said she had a shouty Patti Smith voice, so I sent her tapes. People are going to slag off a Hollywood star doing music, but she's for real.
The first single. Dirty electro-punk reminiscent of Smack my Bitch Up, featuring vocals from all-girl electro-punk outfit Ping Pong Bitches. Howlett: There's nothing deep about this track or this album. It's what Prodigy does best: big, dumb, rocking tunes. You're not going to get any meaningful stuff out of it.
Bass-driven instrumental with a squiggly electronic motif. And lots of bells. I wanted something to signal my change of direction., says Howlett. This sounds like Timbaland on acid.
Get Up Get Off
Dark brutalist electro featuring breakneck rapper Twista, who recently scored a Top 10 hit with Slow Jamz. Howlett: I first heard Twista three years ago. He's got a really fast flow. I wanted a real London rap tune, and I think the street will respond to this.
Juliette Lewis reappears for this outing that borrows from Fifth Dimension's uber-Kitch Up, Up and Away. Up, up, and away in my beautiful balloon, sings Lewis, adding a louche give me a ride. Suggesting that views of the countryside from a wicker basket aren't her prime concerns. The Prodigy have been taking themselves too seriously, says Howlett, This is quirky.
Wake Up Call
The Prodigy get the funk, as Kool Keith delivers the message You better wake up! amid a flurry of mad flute samples. Howlett: A slap in the face to myself after [poorly received 2002 single] Baby's got a Temper. I needed to change, or we were fucked.
Kraftwerk meets Gary Numan, with a man screaming over the top. The latter is Paul Jackson from unsigned Essex punk band Dirt Candy. I heard em while I was in the bath, says Howlett. I was like, Turn that fucking shit down! Nat's daughter told me it was her friend's dad, so I rang him up and got him to sing on this.
Cinematic instrumental with a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour. Howlett: I'd love to play an Arab country, but we wouldn't really be welcome there. But still, I like the vibe.
Jagged stop-start dance-rock hybrid featuring a sample from Shocking Blue's 1969 track Love Buzz, later covered by Nirvana. Howlett:This is a complete jack of someone else's production and song. I'm not scared to do that even after 12 years in The Prodigy. You have to take risks.
You'll Be Under My Wheels
A one-dimensional slab of fuzzy techno. Even Howlett isn't keen. Not a lot to say on this, he shrugs. It's just an album filler.
The Way It Is
Built on a recreated sample of Michael Jackson's Thriller, this trades th usual sledgehammer approach for some welcome light and shade. Howlett: I was drinking Red Bull and Vodka, and I wanted to chew Michael Jackson's arse off and spit it back out again.
Aggro-charged finale, featuring Liam Gallagher on vocals and brother Noel on bass. Liam and I first agreed to do a track six years ago. Says Howlett. A year ago, we ended up getting pissed in the studio, and this happened. It's quite punk rock. Easily more punk than Oasis.
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