Firestarter (The Prodigy song)

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"Firestarter"
song
Single by the Prodigy
from the album The Fat of the Land
B-side"Molotov Bitch"
Released18 March 1996 (1996-03-18)[1]
RecordedEssex, England
Genre
Length
  • 3:45 (edit)
  • 4:42 (album version)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Liam Howlett
The Prodigy singles chronology
"Poison"
(1995)
"Firestarter"
(1996)
"Breathe"
(1996)
Music video
"Firestarter" on YouTube

"Firestarter" is a song by British band the Prodigy, released on 18 March 1996 as the first single from their third album, The Fat of the Land (1997). It was their tenth single overall and is the group's first number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, staying on top for three weeks, and their first big international hit, topping the charts in the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, and Norway. In 2020, British newspaper The Guardian ranked the song number eight on their list of "The 100 Greatest UK No 1 Singles".[4]

Composition[edit]

The songwriting credits include Kim Deal of alternative rock group the Breeders, as the looped wah-wah guitar riff in "Firestarter" was sampled from the Breeders' track "S.O.S." from the album Last Splash. The drums are sampled from a remix of the song "Devotion" of the group Ten City. The "hey" sample is from the 1984 song "Close (to the Edit)" by Art of Noise. Then-members Anne Dudley, Trevor Horn, J. J. Jeczalik, Gary Langan and Paul Morley also receive songwriting credits. The "Empirion Mix", which does not include these samples, is credited solely to Liam Howlett and Keith Flint.

Critical reception[edit]

British magazine Music Week rated "Firestarter" five out of five, picking it as Single of the Week. The reviewer added, "Powerful return for the kings of live techno."[5] Brad Beatnik from the magazine's RM Dance Update described it as "a typically searing chunk of heavy techno featuring some manie vocale and an awesome synth line". He concluded, "Straight in the Top 10, no question, and destined to be pounded in the clubs."[6] Gerald Martinez from New Sunday Times noted its "heavy metal meets techno-dance stylisations".[7] Writing for pitchfork.com in 2005, Jess Harvell said, "'Firestarter' sounds like Trent Reznor in one of his all-too-rare moments of self-aware humor, like the Bomb Squad at +5 with a pink-haired British bulldog bellowing about how tuff he is."[8] David Sinclair from The Times noted, "A racing, twitchy, all-hands-on-deck rhythmic pulse, with a first beat in the bar that lands like a bodyblow, it is spiced up by a siren-wail synth sound and various shrieks that resemble an Art of Noise vocal sample."[9]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying black-and-white music video for "Firestarter" was directed by English director Walter Stern and was filmed in an abandoned London Underground tunnel at Aldwych.[10]

Impact and legacy[edit]

In October 2011, NME placed it at number 52 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[11] Following Flint's death on 4 March 2019, fans used the hashtag 'Firestarter4Number1' on various social media platforms to replicate the song's success by getting it to the number 1 spot again. This was done out of respect for Keith Flint and to raise awareness of suicide among men.[12] During this time the single also returned to the Billboard charts, entering number 13 on its Dance/Electronic Digital Songs Sales chart in its 16 March 2019 issue, marking the first time that this song has appeared on a Billboard dance chart.[13] In 2020, British newspaper The Guardian ranked "Firestarter" number eight on their list of "The 100 Greatest UK No 1 Singles".[14]

Track listings[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Notable cover versions[edit]

"Weird Al" Yankovic created a loose parody of "Firestarter", titled "Lousy Haircut", for an episode of The Weird Al Show; he could not do a full parody of the song as the network CBS did not want to pay royalties to the Prodigy.[68] The song has also been covered by Jimmy Eat World, Gene Simmons of KISS, Torre Florim of De Staat, Sepultura, Papa Roach, and Kristina Esfandiari under her project NGHTCRWLR.[69][70][71] [72]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 16 March 1996. p. 35. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Q&A: The Prodigy Look Back on the Most Aggressive Career in Electronic History". 27 April 2015. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  3. ^ Pattison, Louis (2008). "The Prodigy Fat Of The Land Review". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  4. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben; Petridis, Alexis; Snapes, Laura (5 June 2020). "The 100 Greatest UK No 1s: 100–1". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  5. ^ "Reviews" (PDF). Music Week. 9 March 1996. p. 12. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  6. ^ Beatnik, Brad (9 March 1996). "Hot Vinyl — Tune of the Week" (PDF). Music Week, in Record Mirror (Dance Update Supplemental Insert). p. 9. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  7. ^ Martinez, Gerald (8 November 1998). "Dance fever for one and all". New Sunday Times. p. 13. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  8. ^ "The Prodigy: Their Law: The Singles Album Review - Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  9. ^ Sinclair, David (23 March 1996). "Pop Single; Weekend". The Times.
  10. ^ "Video - Firestarter | Video". Musicpilgrimages.com. Archived from the original on 21 April 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  11. ^ "150 Best Tracks Of The Past 15 Years". NME. 26 March 2014. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  12. ^ Colothan, Scott (6 March 2019). "Prodigy fans launch 'Firestarter for Number 1' campaign in memory of Keith Flint". Planet Radio. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  13. ^ "The Prodigy Return to Billboard's Charts After Keith Flint's Death" Archived 15 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine from Billboard (13 March 2019)
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  15. ^ Firestarter (UK CD single liner notes). The Prodigy. XL Recordings. 1996. XLS 70 CD.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  16. ^ Firestarter (Australian CD single liner notes). The Prodigy. XL Recordings, Dance Pool, Columbia Records. 1996. 663078 2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  17. ^ Firestarter (US maxi-CD single liner notes). The Prodigy. Maverick Records, Mute Records. 1997. 9 43843-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
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  69. ^ "Design The GENE SIMMONS Alter-Ego: FIRESTARTER!". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. 14 January 2004. Archived from the original on 26 December 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  70. ^ Torre Florim (DE STAAT) - Firestarter (Official Music Video) on YouTube
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  72. ^ Firestarter, 21 February 2020, retrieved 18 August 2022

External links[edit]