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Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned

The Prodigy's fourth and also the last album released under XL-recordings.

Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned

UK chart position: 1

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned is the fourth studio album by The Prodigy. It was first released on 11 August 2004 in Japan, on 23 August 2004 in the United Kingdom by XL Recordings, and on 15 September 2004 in the United States by Mute Records and Maverick Records.

Recorded almost entirely using the Propellerhead Reason program, with the mastering being done on Pro Tools, the album contrasts with their previous releases, and features a larger use of vocals than the group's third album, The Fat of the Land (1997). It was produced entirely by Liam Howlett. Keith Flint and Maxim do not provide any contribution to the official record, which leaves Liam Howlett as the sole band member to do so for a first and last time in group's history. By this stage Leeroy Thornhill had left the group. In the boys place are a screamy natural born killers star Juliette Lewis as well as Siouxsie Sioux style vocals and clipped female samples.

The album is a mish mash of next level The Chemical Brothers, Beastie Boys electro voices, moody Gary Numan "Cars" style synths and Basement Jaxx esque Eastern noise clashes, plus stomping Zombie nation keyboards, Switch-style acid squelches and plenty of four bar guitar riffs a la Fatboy Slim and classic early 90's Prodigy.

The title is a play on the name of the Walter Mosley novel Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. Despite achieving commercial success upon release, the album is among the band's lowest sellers. As a result, XL and Maverick dropped the group after the release of the compilation album Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005.

The album was originally going to be released in winter 2002 or spring 2003 but as usually it got postponed several times. Liam is well known to release the albums or tracks only when he feels it's finished, and no one can tell when that will be.

Pre-production was done at Mews Recording Studios, while recording began in September 1998 and ended in April 2004. Unlike their predecessors, which featured contributions from the entire band, with Keith Flint only appearing on the group's third album at the time, Liam Howlett recorded the album mostly by himself in similar vein to Experience (1992), using the Propellerhead Reason program installed on his Macintosh laptop. Moet Mastered, Damian Taylor, and Emily Lazar mastered the album via Pro Tools on the same computer.

Although the production process started in 1998, Howlett disliked the sound of the new album. He initially took a break in 2000, to "go out with my mates and get drunk". He returned to Essex in 2001 to resume work on the record, but after six songs were written, he hired producer Neil McLellan, moving to a house after four months and then returning to the original studio:

My studio is crammed with equipment, but I ended up feeling I was being overcome by it all—it was just too much. I used to go to bed every night thinking 'Tomorrow, I'm going to write the tune. Tomorrow is going to be the day', but nothing ever happened. Eventually Neil McLellan pointed out that we'd been in the studio for four months without having anything to show for it. [...] Nat (his wife and All Saints member) was doing her own record so we weren't spending a lot of time together, but there were always dogs to stroke and videos to watch and gardens to walk 'round, so I didn't ever feel like I was at work—I was too laid-back. [...] Neil [McLellan] said we had to get out, get back to London. I knew I physically couldn't sit in my room any more, and for the first time in my life I listened to someone else and realised I actually needed help. It wasn't that I needed help with the writing, just that I needed help finding the right headspace to get into the right frame of mind. I wanted to write a good album—one I was happy with—but to do that I knew I'd have to jerk myself out of [the] situation I was in and start again.

Howlett purchased and brought a laptop, a copy of the Reason program and selected a "Thermionic Culture Phoenix valve compressor and Culture Vulture distortion unit, a Korg Micro Keyboard, a Manley Laboratories valve EQ and a 1970s Korg MS20 analogue keyboard". He would write the songs in "his bed", and then create them using the equipment. After the recording was finished, Taylor, Mastered and Lazar mixed the album with Pro Tools, completing development on the album.

Of the three members of the Prodigy, only Howlett is present on the album musically. Actress Juliette Lewis, Oasis frontmen Liam and Noel Gallagher, Kool Keith of the Ultramagnetic MCs, who was previously featured on "Diesel Power" from The Fat of the Land, American rapper Twista, Shahin Badar, American hip hop musician Princess Superstar and the Magnificent Ping Pong Bitches were guest musicians on the album. "This album is about reminding people what The Prodigy was always about—the beats and the music", Howlett wrote on a blog of a fansite after finishing the album. He also noted that his intention was to use vocals mostly as an extension of the sound rather than the main focal point, as was the case on The Fat of the Land.

Mastering Engineer Emily Lazar, Liam Howlett and Neil McLellan celebrating after the album was mastered at The Lodge

Q magazine run down of all the tracks with comments by Liam Howlett.

'Spitfire' (featuring Juliette Lewis)
Massive opener and a statement of intent. "I wanted to start with WWIII".

'Hot Ride'
Borrows from Fifth Dimension's 'Up, up and away' (in my beautiful balloon). "The Prodigy have been too serious. This is quirky".

'Wake Up Call'
"A slap in the face to myself after BGAT. I needed to change or we were fucked".

Shocking Blue's 1969 track 'Love Buzz' (later covered by Nirvana).

'You'll Be Under My Wheels'
"It's just an album filler". Shocked

'The Way It Is'
Built on a re-created sample of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'.

Shoot Down
"It's quite punk rock".

Break down of some of the tracks taken from Mix Mag article

"All get up if you wanna get off" warns the bloke shouting over the top of an Eastern sounding female vocal. Its very Basement Jaxx with a male rapper over the top. (doesnt mention who!)

If you still play Chems "Block rockin beats" on your pubs jukebox, this will please. A full on rocky bassline with pounding live kick drums throughout.

Garagey sounding beats but in the nicest possible way build up to a clangy melody, met with high pitched drum and bass style screeches. It makes a full throttle dub. RAW!

PHOENIX (ex Love Buzz / 1965)
A clangy guitar provides a four beat riff that runs throughout this bouncer before it gets played backwards. This sounds like Fatboy slim if he played lead guitar for the Kinks.

This is a stabby roller with the kind of heavy bass that would keep our unsightly neighbours at Kerrang happy. We'll put our money on this being the second single.

Liam statement to fansite

The new prodigy album is finished! We got 11 possibly 12 fist in the air traks. it sounds sinister, electronic, trashy, sexy and fresh to my ears. this album is about reminding people what the prodigy was always about---the beats and the music. the vocals on this record are mostly used as an extension of the sound rather than the main focal point.

Like Jilted, Keef and Maxim weren't involved musically and they are not on this album. ALL 3 of us will be together to do what we do and play this record live and rock it later in the year, we cant fukin wait! you will probably begin to hear stuff early summer and the new album will hit in august. yeah -- more news to follow soon.

Info about collaborations

Before album was actually released there were plenty of rumours going around about the possible collaborations:

Juliette Lewis
Juliette has collaborated with Liam Howlett of The Prodigy on three songs for the new Prodigy album. The songs, 'Twista', 'Hot Ride' and 'Spitfire' were recorded in England in January.
Source: her official website

Liam Gallagher's long-rumoured guest appearance on the next Prodigy album has been confirmed. Also, his brother Noel plays bass on the song, which is called ’Shoot Down’.
Source: NME

Kool Keith
Kool Keith aka Dr. Octagon will guest on track ’Wake Up’.

Perry Farrell

Howlett told Q magazine that Perry Farrell of Janes Addiction will feature on one track on the record, which is taking a more "electronic" direction than he anticipated. He commented: "I thought it was gonna be really rocky but it's turning out quite electronic. I don't know what it's going to be like yet but I know it's not going to be all fake blood and stupid hairdos. I'm doing one track with Perry Farrell and Keith (Flint)'s playing guitar on the album too."

Working titles and possible unreleased songs

Tracks from Nekos interview with Liam

"The Way It Is"
"Who You're Fooling"
"Slang Technology"
"No Souvenirs"
"Wake Up"
"The Gun"

Tracks mentioned by NME, XFM from the XL-Recordings Conference

A Long break after previous album

Later Maxim has explained in an interview why they felt the need to take such a long break after The Fat of The Land. ”On the whole, we just needed to take a break for a while and chill out. We’d been going for nine years without stopping and we needed to chill a bit. Instead of playing another Reading, another Glastonbury, with people getting fed up with us, we thought we should take a break and not exactly re-invent ourselves but find a different vibe we could use. If we were stupid and naive we could be playing now, but before we knew it we’d have damaged ourselves and become exhausted.”

"I've got 80 per cent of the album somewhere in my studio. I've just got to assemble it. The other 20 per cent is going to be collaborations and stuff. " - Liam

Related articles

| State Magazine
The Prodigy..”a bit of competition is always good”

| Sabotage Times
The Prodigy Interviewed: “No more snorting cheap speed and banging pills up my arse”

Fired up: Keith Flint

The Prodigy: Fire Starters

I See A Darkness

| Keyboard Magazine
Trim the Fat

| Korg magazine
Never Outgunned: Liam Howlett

| Sound On Sound
Liam Howlett: Recording Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| Floor Net
Vol. 67

| The Guardian
Prodigal son

The Prodigy - Die US-Postals des Punk

| Remix
Behind the Curtain

| Snoozer
Issue 045

| Bounce

| Rockin' On
Japanise AONO article

| Sonic State
Prodigy Dig The Mackie Sound

Prodigy set to make sexy return!

Interview with Liam Howlett of the Prodigy

| Propellerhead Software
The Prodigal Reasoner

| The Rolling Stone
Prodigy Reload - Electronica innovators return with first album in five years

| Sun's Bizarre
Liam's a rock Prodigy

| The Age
Prodigious personalities

Prodigy star confirms addiction rumours

The Prodigy, possible summer release

Prodigy Dancer Takes Flight

Reviews in the press

| Loud

| Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Prodigy - Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| The Onion
The Prodigy - Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| The Detroit News
The Prodigy, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| Knight Ridder Newspapers
Prodigy returns to start another fire after 8 years

| Gaffa
Tilbake på gadeplanet

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned - Prodigy

| Toronto Star
The Prodigy, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| The Guardian
The Prodigy, Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| Soundi
PRODIGY: Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

| Screen Weekly
From bad boys to goodfellas

See also

What Evil Lurks EP

What Evil Lurks


Charly Single



Everybody In The Place Single

Everybody In The Place


Fire Single



Experience Album



Out of Space Single

Out of Space


WInd It Up Single

WInd It Up


One Love Single

One Love


No Good (Start The Dance) Single

No Good (Start The Dance)


Music For The Jilted Generation Album

Music For The Jilted Generation


Voodoo People Single

Voodoo People


Poison Single



Firestarter Single



Breathe Single



The Fat Of The Land Album

The Fat Of The Land


Smack My Bitch Up Single

Smack My Bitch Up


Prodigy Present: The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One Compilation

Prodigy Present: The Dirtchamber Sessions Volume One


The Prodigy Experience - Expanded: Remixes & B-sides Compilation

The Prodigy Experience - Expanded: Remixes & B-sides


Baby's Got A Temper EP

Baby's Got A Temper


Girls Single



Hotride Single



Spitfire Single



Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005 Compilation

Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005


Voodoo People / Out Of Space Single

Voodoo People / Out Of Space


Back To Mine Compilation

Back To Mine


More Music For The Jilted Generation Compilation

More Music For The Jilted Generation


Invaders Must Die Album

Invaders Must Die


Omen Single



Warrior's Dance Single

Warrior's Dance


Take Me To The Hospital Single

Take Me To The Hospital


Invaders Must Die EP EP

Invaders Must Die EP


The Added Fat EP EP

The Added Fat EP


Nasty Single



Wild Frontier Single

Wild Frontier


The Day Is My Enemy Album

The Day Is My Enemy


Ibiza Single



The Night Is My Friend EP EP

The Night Is My Friend EP


Need Some1 Single

Need Some1


No Tourists Album

No Tourists


Light Up The Sky Single

Light Up The Sky


The Fat Of The Land 25th Anniversary - Remixes EP

The Fat Of The Land 25th Anniversary - Remixes


World's on Fire Compilation

World's on Fire


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The Prodigy 31 pcs sticker set

Big set of The Prodigy stickers. 15 different designs and total of 31 stickers. Sticker sizes vary from 9 cm to 3,5 cm. Order here >