As a huge fan of The Prodigy, it's hard to find the right way to review this phenomenal collection. Do I review it as a fan or as a casual music lover? Because this album spans their entire career I think it's necessary that this review also span what brought us to this point at least.
Most Americans only have a passing knowledge or memory of the Prodigy when they seemingly invaded MTV and the radio airwaves in the late nineties with their monster hits "Firestarter", "Breathe", and the hugely controversial "Smack My Bitch Up". If you haven't heard of them since, it's not your fault. Following the milestone release of "Fat of the Land", which went number one in forty countries, The Prodigy went into a long hibernation. Prior to "The Fat of The Land", however, The Prodigy made a name for themselves in the underground rave scene of the late eighties and early nineties with the 1992 release of "Experience", followed by the hugely successful "Music for the Jilted Generation" which featured, what many consider the Prodigy's calling card, the single 'Voodoo People', made popular by the cult film "Hackers".
In 2002, seemingly out of nowhere, The Prodigy released the single "Baby's Got A Temper" and it seemed that after a five-year absence, the Prodigy were back in form. That single, however, was to be the last gasp of a dying era. Leading man Liam Howlett (not the guy with the horns) decided that particular single to be his 'wake up call' that a change was due. Not content with trying to rehash the success of "Fat of the Land" with a sequel, Liam scrapped the work he had done on a follow up album and started anew, sans vocalists Keith Flint (the one with the horns) and Maxim.
After a seven-year hiatus, "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned" was released in late 2004 with hardly any American publicity. The album was poorly received by most, being a spiritually solo effort on the part of Liam Howlett with only a handful of outside collaborators, it was perhaps a departure from what many expected from the mad mind who unleashed "Fat of the Land" upon the world. That sentiment, however, is a testament to the essence of The Prodigy. Unlike other bands who are content with treading on the same waters of success, The Prodigy have always forced themselves to evolve and push the envelope and that is precisely what keeps their fans coming back for more after sixteen years.
"Their Law: The Singles" is a mix of many styles and genres that are almost impossible to define or categorize. You shouldn't try either. The music is daring and wild and truly inspired. From the rave era classics "Out of Space" and "Charly", to the sinister, hip hop inspired favorite "Poison", all the way to the recent World War 3 inspired epic "Spitfire", you really cannot find a single boring track. The one glaring omission from the album, "Baby's got a Temper", is missed, but in the grand scheme of things, The Prodigy present to us their proudest efforts. Disc two features two new tracks, various b-sides, a few unreleased remixes, and a taste of what the Prodigy can do as a live act with four live recorded tracks. These extras compliment the first disc well and while a casual fan may not realize the significance of the tracks, the second disc is just as hard hitting and furious as the first.
In terms of historical importance, I dare say that The Prodigy are on a level with The Clash as one the most influential bands of our time. If you've never bought a Prodigy record before, buy this album. If you only own "Fat of the Land", buy this album. No matter what kind of music you enjoy, buy this album, put it your home or car stereo, and turn the volume up, all the way up. Let your whole neighborhood hear it. And, if your system is up to par, let them feel it as well. They'll never know what hit them.