Music Video Monday: The Prodigy
The Prodigy, “Smack My Bitch Up”
This video is guaranteed to come up on any list of “most controversial music videos”, as it was first banned from MTV when it was released in 1997. The video, brilliantly shot, is a first-person point of view of a (supposed) man as he has a drug-fueled, violent and sex-filled night throughout a city. The surprise twist is at the end of the video, the protagonist looks in a mirror, and we learn that it was a woman the whole time.
I suppose this could be seen as some feminist commentary, reminding the viewer to not assume that only men are capable of such depravity. I see it more as the final shocking element in a video meant to shock. The moral panic of the nineties intervened, and the reaction is to make it never seen by anyone. These days, in our post-Grand Theft Auto, Spring Breakers world, depravity is getting harder to separate from art. [I for one, think this is the pinnacle in the art medium of music videos.
Perhaps just as, if not more, interesting is this video showing how “Smack My Bitch Up” was created by using complicated layers of differing samples. It’s way more intricate than you could ever imagine, and it’s a testament to the musical talents of The Prodigy, who never quite received as much critical success as its commercial success. Critics may have been distracted from the actual talents when your signature look is such: