At some point in the mid-late 1990s, I developed this misguided idea that if I was going to be a rock / metal fan, that was all I could be.
I had chosen my side and would now have to stick to it, loyally defending metal to the death like something out of a Manowar song whilst calling for the violent demise of rock’s sworn enemy; electronic dance music.
Then, The Prodigy came along, and all that changed.
Poison was released in 1994. It would probably be about two or three years later before I finally heard the song and saw the video, but when I did, I instantly noticed something different about it:
This was dance music, Jim, but not as I knew it.
The Anti-Socially Acceptable Face of Dance Music
There was a darkness to this song, a gritty, snarling edge that other dance music videos just didn’t have.
There was a guy in the video with long hair who looked like some kind of crazed demon, exactly the kind of guy you might find in a metal video.
This, ladies and gentlemen, was the anti-socially acceptable face of dance music, the kind of electronica that even a sworn metal head like yours truly could get on board with.
And get on board I did..
I swallowed up The Prodigy’s furious, unrelenting electronic offerings like there was no tomorrow.
I loved tracks like Breathe, and Firestarter, but of course, those were both released at a time when the band was at its most wonderfully obnoxious and punk rock.
What surprised me the most was that I also found myself falling in love with straight-up dance gems like No Good (Start the Dance) and Out of Space.
This was as about as far removed from the crunching guitars of heavy metal as you could hope to find, and yet it was, in a word, awesome.
This wasn’t the kind of generic, overly-polished crap that they passed off on the radio. This was grungy and gritty and raw.
This had an attitude that was perfectly in keeping with the snarling rebellion of the rock music I so loved.
And I loved this too, and the more I loved it, the more I realised that it didn’t matter that it wasn’t rock music. I began to learn that it was perfectly acceptable to like both metal and dance music, and that by opening myself up to new genres of music, I would find more and more songs to fall hopelessly in love with.
Today, I consider The Prodigy an absolute favourite, and though I’ve never seen them live -yet- you better believe that doing so is on my bucket list.
Because of this band, and because of this song, I was able to let go of my staunch, narrow minded approach to music and open up.
Because of this song, I now love not on The Prodigy, but also acts like Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers.
Because of this band and this song, I now take a wholly open minded approach to music, listening to everything from straight up pop to country, classical, scathing death metal and yes, lots and lots of dance music.
Poison by The Prodigy is the thirteenth song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below:
- Michael Jackson – Bad
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Queen – The Hitman
- R.E.M – Drive
- Pink Floyd – The Wall
- The Eagles – Take it Easy
- Beautiful South – Old Red Eyes is Back
- Coal Chamber – Loco
- Type O Negative – Everything Dies
- Monster Magnet – Space Lord
- Live – The Dolphin’s Cry
- Metallica – The Memory Remains