The Prodigy Are No Longer Performing the Original "Smack My Bitch Up" Lyrics

The 1997 track was once voted the most controversial song of all time for seemingly promoting domestic violence

Photo: Batiste Safont

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 27, 2023

The Prodigy may have reissued their breakthrough 1997 studio album The Fat of the Land to celebrate its 25th anniversary last year, but they aren't celebrating every element of their third full-length: the electronic innovators are no longer performing the original lyrics to the hit "Smack My Bitch Up" at their live shows.

Currently on a European tour, the Prodigy played two nights at the Alexandra Palace in London over the weekend. Fan-shared footage from the shows reveals that, instead of the titular refrain, Maxim — who replaced Keith Flint as frontperson following his death in 2019 — appears to sing, "Switch up."
In 2010, "Smack My Bitch Up" was voted the most controversial song of all time [via Sky News] for seemingly glamourizing violence against women, prompting backlash that resulted in bans from a number of radio stations and TV channels. 

Fans on Reddit are debating the change, which one user cites as having made its debut at the Melo Kalorama festival in Portugal. To some, it's not the worst softening of the group's music they've heard over the years; others have classified it as "not very punk." 

Thus far, no members of the Prodigy have spoken out against the lyric change, which they have defended in the past. As bandleader Liam Howlett told Addicted to Noise [via MTV] upon the song's release, "To be honest, people, if they think that song is about smacking girlfriends up, then they're pretty brainless."

The band have been teasing new material for the past couple of years, with Howlett telling NME earlier this year, "Whatever we do, we will always make sure we fully represent what we have always been about: integrity, respect and to bring maximum ruckus… That's what this band exists for."

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