The Prodigy Have Changed ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ Lyrics Live – What Is It Now?
A classic track from The Prodigy is sounding a little different live these days. That's because "Smack My Bitch Up" has been performed with one noticeable lyrical change, with the song's titular lyrics getting an update by current leader Maxim.
As noted by NME and pointed out by fans on social media, Maxim has taken to repeating the phrase "Change my pitch up" in place of the original line. Could this be a sign of the more politically correct times?
Original "Smack My Bitch Up" Controversy
"Smack My Bitch Up" has remained one of The Prodigy's most popular songs despite receiving its fair share of backlash over the years. The song courted controversy, not only because some viewed the song title as suggesting violence against women, but also because of the explicit music video that accompanied it back in 1997.
At the time, the BBC banned the third single from The Prodigy's Fat of the Land album. And in a 2010 survey conducted by PRS Music, the audience voted it the most controversial song of all-time.
As for the video, the Jonas Akerlund-directed clip was mostly shown only late at night on video channels due to its content. Filmed through the lens of a first person perspective, you see a drug and alcohol fueled night with the subject engaging in assaults on both women and men, vomiting due to their excess and later taking a stripper home only to reveal to the surprise of the audience through a reflection in the mirror that the primary character was a woman.
At the time, Liam Howlett noted in a Q magazine interview, "There's a realness to that video. Most people have had nights out like that, off their head on coke and drink … It's not to everyone's taste, but not everything we do is. No radio station was gonna play the song, so we thought we'd make a video that no one would play either."
But, to their surprise, the song did find its audience, even cracking the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 89.
The Prodigy Perform "Smack My Bitch Up" With Different Lyrics
As Setlist.fm noted, this version of the track is the "clean version," and it's unclear if the band will continue to use the clean version moving forward.
The change has been noticed by fans, who have shared their opinions on the lyric switch through a Reddit thread.
"Of all the ways they’ve cut up, softened and hollowed out their songs over the years, this is the one I mind the least," noted one fan.
"Surprised they decided to do this after all those years resisting — not sure if it bothers me all that much, just think it strange. Would like to know how they came to that decision," added another.
A third commented, "I know, it’s lame. Not very rebellious, or punk which is what they’re about. When Beastie Boys asked them not to play it at Reading ‘98 they played it anyway to rebel against them and their hypocrisy. If Liam has edited it because he now feels ashamed then he shouldn’t have sampled it in the first place, and besides, he’s 26 years too late."
And yet another noted, "Things change.... it's hardly the end of the world and probably the right decision."
The Prodigy are currently in the midst of a European tour that wraps Dec. 10 in Paris. See the remaining dates here.
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Gallery Credit: Jordan Blum