first of all, critics who argue that this album doesn't match the near-cerebral bedlam of Prodigy's Fat of The Land and/or Music from the Jilted Generation are full of shit. the claim is only supported through a silly disjunctive method of review where they take two elements (rock and techno) and question whether or not they form a coherent fusion. but the problem is that Saturday Teenage Kick isn't meant as a challenge to some preconceived idea that the guitar and the drum machine cannot peacefully coexist but simply a return to the basic but often explosive mood electronica was known for. Junkie XL is a unit that strides to return to the more Break Beat and Big Beat elements as opposed to the complicated, dense, and equally esoteric splinters of IDM and Ambient. in this respect they have succeeded.
the album is replete with thick, attractive drum loops and samples that really represent Break Beat in its finest hour. the one problem is that that hour occurred 6 years ago. but of course to knock this album simply because of its age seems woefully illogical. after all, Mezzanine, Becoming X, Dummy, Blue Wonder Power Milk, and Lamb are all guilty of the same offense but we manage to overlook their obvious maturation. i think the difference is that Junkie XL's work isn't really too forward-looking and, as previously mentioned, only represents the genre's apogee instead of trying to outdo it. the same fate has been handed to Lo Fidelity All Stars, The Dub Pistols, and even The Wiseguys. by no means did they make bad albums but enjoyment is too temporally embedded; it takes a memory of where the genre as a whole was when the album was released to gain an exhaustive appreciation. only when seen in its nascency can Junkie XL's work be marveled at. of course there are a few tracks which hint at a possible breakthrough such as the addictive 'Metrolike' and lumbering hip-hop number 'X-Panding Limits' along with the tribal 'Dealing With The Roster' (a song quite reminiscent of Juno Reactor's earlier work).
perhaps this album would have received an 8 or higher had these pieces been expanded to their end.