Music For The Jilted Generation, the masterpiece by The Prodigy

The Prodigy in Iceland 1994 (

The Prodigy in Iceland 1994 (fltr: Maxim Reality, Keith Flint, Liam Howlett, Leeroy Thornhill)

So I’ve decided to take my work back underground, to stop it falling into the wrong hands



After the success of The Prodigy’s debut album, leader and musical mastermind Liam Howlett wanted something else. The music changed, in part due to social developments.

Criminal Justice and Public order Act 1994 (

The Prodigy

On September 28, 1992, The Prodigy released their debut album Experience. The success was overwhelming, Experience was even awarded with a platinum award (in the UK). Not bad for a debut. But quickly, the band wanted to move on and not be associated with the Experience “kiddie rave” anymore. Howlett started making other, louder and heavier music, leading to the single One Love in 1993, a prelude to what 1994 had in store.

But social changes were all around as well, most certainly in the rave scene, a scene The Prodigy were a major part of. A rave is another word for a dance party, where electronic music is played by DJs at very high volume, which attracted huge audiences.

The British press made raves synonymous with excessive drug abuse, violence, destruction, illegal use of public and/or private terrain, racket and sexual debauchery. The 1992 Castlemorton Common Festival was used as the final nail in the coffin for the rave culture as it signaled the introduction of law and order measures surrounding raves. The legislation was put in place in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which legally restricted/banned the rave culture, officially criminalizing it.

See the sub article Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 for more background info on the rave phenomenon and subsequent laws and regulations.

The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation (

The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation

Music For The Jilted Generation

On July 4, 1994, the second album, Music For The Jilted Generation, was released. An event of epic proportions. The album’s importance cannot be overstated. The impact on the music was huge, the success was huge and it gave a voice to the first ever attempt to ban and annihilate a specific youth culture.

The sound, and the fusion of dance and rock in particular, originated on Howlett hearing Rage Against The Machine’s debut album. Howlett:

When we were doing all of these shows in America I started listening to a lot more guitar based stuff. Up until then I’d always ignored anything that was in any way rock because it just meant leather jackets and greasy hair to me. Then I heard the first Rage album and it just blew me away.

The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation - Gatefold (

The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation – Gatefold


The iconic cover is made up of the works of three different men. Stewart Hygarth designed the front cover. The image if often compared to the well-known painting ‘The scream’ by Edvard Munch. Other compare it to Star Wars Han Solo’s body captured in carbonite.

The back cover was made by Jamie Fry.

The inside of the gatefold cover contained the image of a painting made by Les Edwards. It depicts a rave on the right side, which is to be harassed by police and other authorities on the left side. In a 2014 interview with Dazed the painter states the painting wasn’t made with the rave culture as the primary example, but instead was meant as a timeless portrayal of youthful rebellion.

I’m something of an old hippy, but it seems to me to be the same message you’d heard in the 1960s, people criticising governments for being tyrannical. I don’t remember the 1990s as being a particularly repressive time, but if you were Liam and Keith’s age, perhaps you felt differently. Rave culture was going on, and people just disapproved. There was a bit of concern about the drug culture, but in a lot of instances, the police were so heavy handed. Things haven’t changed there.

Music For The Jilted Generation’s connection to the rave culture in general and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in particular, is nothing more than coincidence, at least that’s what The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett claimed in 2014.

There was that whole ‘fight the party’ thing at the time, you know, that bill. And we got roped into that. But it’s funny, because the inside cover art, that’s just a coincidence. Nobody knows that. But people read into it, that it was connected to that protest. But it’s not at all – it’s just what we wanted on the cover.

© 2014 Clash

The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation - Back cover (

The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation – Back cover


As mentioned in the article on The Fat Of The Land, dance music initially passed me by, until I visited my friend Bram late 1994 and he made me listen to Music For The Jilted Generation. I was mesmerized: what a record this was! A defining moment for me and dance in my life, which I started to buy and appreciate from that moment on.

Music For The Jilted Generation is still my benchmark. Everything is right about this album, the combination of dance and rock (and guitar) is unique and was highly innovative. The Prodigy became trendsetters overnight, who were viewed as the future, not only for dance, but for (pop)music in general.

Production, compositions and combination of styles were utterly unique and powerful. Songs like Break & Enter, Their Law and Poison overwhelmed the listener. It was almost violent and (because of that?) exciting. Lyrically as well, the album breathed revolution and rebellion: “Fuck ’em and their law”.

As the band themselves state in the closing song Claustrophobic Sting: “My mind is glowing”. That’s how I felt after listening to the album in 1994. I still do. I can only highly recommend this album. Absolutely essential listening.

The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation - Singles (

The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation – Singles


Music For The Jilted Generation spawned 4 singles.

  • One Love
    (released on October 4, 1993)
  • No Good (Start The Dance)
    (released on May 16, 1994)
  • Voodoo People
    (released on September 12, 1994)
  • Poison
    (released on March 6, 1995)
The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation - CD (

The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation – CD


All songs written by Liam Howlett, unless stated otherwise.

  • Intro
  • Break & Enter
  • Their Law (Liam Howlett, Pop Will Eat Itself)
  • Full Throttle
  • Voodoo People
  • Speedway (Theme From Fastlane)
  • The Heat (The Energy)
  • Poison (Liam Howlett, Maxim Reality)
  • No Good (Start The Dance) (Liam Howlett, Kelly Charles, James Bratton)
  • One Love (Edit)
  • The Narcotic Suite
  • 3 Kilos
  • Skylined
  • Claustrophobic Sting


  • Liam Howlett – performer, synthesizers, keyboards, sampling, drum machines
  • Maxim Reality – vocals on Poison
  • Pop Will Eat Itself – performer on Their Law
  • Phil Bent – flute
  • Lance Riddler – guitar on Voodoo People
The Prodigy - Live London - 04-11-1994 (

The Prodigy – Live London – 04-11-1994

After Music For The Jilted Generation

The Prodigy was more than just another dance act. As the following tour convincingly demonstrated The Prodigy was a live sensation as well, with dancers Keith Flint, Leeroy Thornhill and Maxim Reality. The adrenaline radiating from the stage was infectious and exciting. The added guitarist only enhanced the goings on.

In the meantime the music world couldn’t wait for the band’s next step. The wait was over on June 30, 1997, the day that The Fat Of The Land was released. Read the full story in the article Prodigy conquered the world in 1997: The Fat Of The Land.

The Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation - Logo (

In closing

What’s your take on Music For The Jilted Generation? Let me know!

This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Music For The Jilted Generation, the masterpiece by The Prodigy. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!