Moby
Albums

  • Everything Is Wrong
  • Animal Rights
  • I Like To Score
  • Play
  • 18
  • Last Night
  • Wait For Me










  • adriandenning.co.uk
    album reviews

    Moby

    Everything Is Wrong 8 ( 1995 )
    Hymn / Feeling So Real / All That I Need Is to Be Loved / Let's Go Free / Everytime You Touch Me / Bring Back My Happiness / What Love / First Cool Hive / Into the Blue / Anthem / Everything Is Wrong / God Moving Over the Face of the Waters / When It's Cold I'd Like to Die

    There was an episode of Top Of The Tops circa 1992, when the shows producers decided that all acts must perform live vocals, and damn the consequences. One act that suffered because of this ruling was Moby, singing the one word lyric that made up his breakthrough hit, 'Go'. Guess the word? Yeah, it was 'Go'. Poor hapless Moby was there half speaking, half singing this word over and over again as his head bobbed up and down over his keyboard. He looked nervous, as well he might have done. The nation decided that he looked like a prick, and despite genre acclaim for his electronica / ambient flavoured debut album in 1992, faded pretty quickly from everyone's memory. Or so we all thought at the time. Three years later he returned and delivered this set, and it was good. Wider critical acclaim attached itself to this Moby album, and it sold modestly well enough for Moby to no doubt be encouraged and believe that he had a career on his hands.

    We have a differing array of styles here varying from ambient through to techno and house and even incorporating semi-hardcore punk styled rockers. Well, 'All That I Need Is To Be Loved' is a semi-hardcore punk styled rocker. The vocals are bloody awful, but this is entertaining all the same, almost because of the ridiculously weak and comical vocals. It really is entertainment, and absolutely not to be taken seriously. But we must also take this song in context. 'Feeling So Real' which appears immediately before 'All That I Need To Be Is Loved' is a widescreen house/trance anthem, and very well done. The song that follows 'All That I Need Is To Be Loved' is 38 seconds of hip-hop groove and samples. Ah, let's see! 'Hymn' features beautiful electronically created Piano sounds, or sampled Piano sounds. A genuinely beautiful sequence of melody flowing into soothing and lovely ambient textures, and it works fantastically well. 'Everything You Touch Me' is very pop/house, very poppy. But given the fact that the likes of 'Hymn' counteract this, is welcome. A range of styles, all loosely dance/electronica based ( apart from the rock stuff ) but varied within that dance/electronica genre.

    'Bring Back My Happiness' is silly fast techno, moving onto very happy sounding house music - the kind you'd frown at being an industrial goth, only Moby does do this so well. There is melody all over the damn fucking thing, I can't resist. 'What Love' is a distorted hardcore rock thing, very silly again like the previous rock thing, but mixed into this album - a touch of something. I hesitate to use the word genius, because Moby is just some bald veggie guy. No genius, just someone that knows what they're doing, and understands music. That's all.

    Ambient highlights remain although 'Anthem' is generic house music yet overcome by the beauty of 'Everything Is Wrong'. The album drifts off towards its close in a sea of ambient mellow feels, and you get the feeling again that Moby knows what he's doing. He may not have known what he was doing back in 1992 singing live on Top Of The Pops, and certainly didn't know what the future held, but he created this album here. And it is good.

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    top of page Animal Rights 5 ( 1997 )
    Dead Sun / Someone to Love / Heavy Flow / You / Now I Let It Go / Come on Baby / Soft / Anima Say It's All Mine / That's When I Reach for My Revolver / Alone / Face It / Old / Living / Love Song for My Mom / A Season in Hell

    'Animal Rights' opens with soft guitar and beautiful violin. Is this a Moby classical album? No, because the next song is noisy industrial, and the song after that a very dubious vocally punk song. He does his best, Moby, and no doubt had fun, but this is one strange album. Industrial sounding songs are mixed in with semi-hardcore Punk sounding songs. Is he a Beastie Boys fan? Hats off to him for recording this, obviously little though went into the albums commercial value, or it wouldn't exist. The likes of 'You' are 'decent enough' punk styled songs, but really not very good in the wider grand scheme of things. One moment I like is the song called 'Soft', which of course isn't soft at all, rather a grinding guitar workout with distortion to the fore. It's not very good, but at least it brings a smile to my face.

    To be honest, I can't think of very much at all to say about this album. Moby writing guitar punk songs? He's not really very good at it. The best song here is 'That's When I Reach For My Revolver' and that's only because Moby didn't write it. This song gets covered quite a bit actually. Boston's post-punk Mission Of Burma should be proud of their creation. Apparently, Bob Mould of Husker Du and 'Bob Mould' (!?) fame - plays guest guitar on this Moby rendition, and really rather fine it is too. The album isn't. Fine, that is. The closing song is called 'Love Song For My Mom', a pretty guitar pattern, very soft. Violin enters the fucking fray once more, but this time it just irritates you. A bit like Moby as whole, actually. Sometimes you like him, sometimes he's a bald twat that you can't stand. And we've all got to live with that, because he's not going anyplace.

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    top of page I Like To Score 7 ( 1997 )
    Novio / James Bond Theme / Go / Ah-Ah / I Like To Score / Oil I / New Dawn Fades / God Moving Over The Faces Of The Waters / First Cool Hive / Nash / Love Theme / Grace

    Material going as far back as 1991s 'Go' is mixed in with Moby material throughout the decade that was aimed and used for the movie market. And you know, it's a far better listen than the previous hardcore punk thing, but not as good a listen as 'Everything Is Wrong'. Still, ambient Moby is to the fore with the opening track which also features some kind of female holy sounding chanting going on. And, it's actually very nice and mellow, great chill-out music. 'James Bond Theme' is the regular James Bond Theme given a pumping techno makeover by mouldy old Moby. It's not too good at all, I prefer the classic old theme tune, and the classic old Bond films come to that. Give me Connery over Brosnan any day. Roger Moore was cheesy but funny, and the other two? Well, they were the other two. But none of this is important to the matter at hand. Which continues with the early nineties hit and Twin Peaks sampling 'Go' and moves through a semi Prodigy moment with 'Ah-Ah' and onto the spooky atmospherics and funk sampling title song.

    'Oil I' is your regular techno only with some deep moaning vocal sampled or used from somewhere. A high pitched and far away 'ahhhh!' voice comes in as well, the techno booms and speedily goes along its merry path. Take it or leave it. It's well done, but i'd rather leave it. Bar the sexual moaning, there really isn't much here. But oh! Did you know that Moby had done a cover version of the Joy Division song 'New Dawn Fades'? Well, that he had, and here it is! It's a very strange thing, and doesn't possess an ounce of the power of the original, but it's still good as rendered here by Moby. Sweeping synths and actual guitars and Moby singing the Ian Curtis part, but not very much of it, quite wisely. 'God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters' is a highlight, smooth and mellow with loads of interesting Piano textures through the middle of it all.

    Of the remaining tracks, only 'First Cool Hive' stands out for me, blissful where it should be blissful, sunny and fairly understated. A few good tracks then, a few average but acceptable tracks and some other forgettable tracks - this is by no means an essential document, but it's not terrible or anything. One word i'd use to describe it, and that word is 'Sweet'. Said in a slightly condescending manner, but not really meaning to. You get the idea.

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    top of page Play 7 ( 2000 )
    Honey / Find Me Baby / Porcelain / Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad / South Side / Rushing / Bodyrock / Natural Blues / machete / 7 / Run On / Down Slow / If Things Were Perfect / Everloving / Inside / Guitar Flute & String / The Sky Is Broken / My Weakness

    'Play' is a great idea on Moby's part. He creates some laidback grooves and in other places some nice ambient tunes, etc, etc. He creates these melodies and pieces of music around the voices of classic dead blues singers. Voices that speak across the ages, that when combined with this very modern dance/techno styled music, becomes all the more striking. Seperate the sampled vocals from the music however, and what do we have. The musical pieces are professional sound-track styled dance pieces. You can imagine any number of the instrumental tracks being used in filmwork, which makes sense. Moby has worked in that area, and can do that job. When you add the blues voices to the music something else happens. These fantastic voices mean these Moby songs sound fantastic. Surrounding this forumula, Moby does a couple of regular Moby type things, and that's all. 'Porcelain' follows a couple of the "new dance music + old dead blues vocalist = new moby song" pieces, and is really quite beautiful. Moby sings this, deadpan and tunelessly, but the music swirls gently around the vocals and it works brilliantly, a highlight of the set. 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad' has gentle techno beats to accompany the blues vocals - very haunting vocals, perfect ambient techno backing, very clever stuff. Why hadn't anybody else thought of this? Moby the opportunist? He certainly took good advantage of the advertising world, licensing out virtually every song from this album - but good luck to him.

    Regular Moby pieces that aren't as good as 'Porcelain' arrive before 'Bodyrock' goes the bigbeat Fatboy slim route and sounds bloody awful. 'Natural Blues' is still the most recognizable song from an album containing at least half a dozen VERY recognizable songs, thanks to the constant radio and TV exposure Moby enjoyed. The vocals make 'Natural Blues', nothing to do with Moby - he just had the imagination to use them in the first place, then create a decent enough dance backing around them. 'Machete' sounds like its come from a different album, a far more regular Moby techno album, and it isn't at all good. Little rock hardcore sounds are buried beneath very simple and heard it all before techno sounds. The major flaw that 'Play' has is that at eighteen tracks, it's overlong to listen to in one sitting. I don't want seventy minutes of this stuff, let's have forty and be done. A lovely ambient piece, 'My Weakness', awaits at the end of the set, by the way. You might want to sit through some deeply average dance material to reach this minor gem. 'Play' is a terribly inconsistent and bloated work, but still contains much to appreciate along the way, a few pieces of genuine beauty to unearth amongst all the rubble.

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    top of page 18 4 ( 2002 )
    We Are All Made Of Stars / In This World / In My Heart / The Great Escape / Signs Of Love / One Of These Mornings / Another Woman / Fireworks / Extreme Ways / Jam For The Ladies / Sunday / 18 / Sleep Alone / At Least We Tried / Harbour / Look Back In / The Rafters / I'm Not Worried At All

    Well, of course the album is WAY too long. Eighteen songs? God only knows how many minutes - it feels like days! After the success of 'Play' Moby has obviously decided to go for quantity over quality - quite a few groups and artists do these days, sadly. Still, Moby turns in a competent indie rock sounding electronica hybrid with the opening song and lead single. He turns in more of the 'Play' mix of blues vocals added to new Moby soundscapes. Hey, 'In This World' is good! Er, this album isn't terribly interesting. 'The Great Escape' is minimalist, a violin and soft female vocals - seemingly desolate sounding but for a complete lack of sadness, desolation and anything remotely approaching GENUINE. Don't play with madness, said Iron Maiden. Or something similar, at least. I say don't play with sadness, it's got to be real. BE REAL, MOBY - DAMN YOU TO HADES! A sequence of songs matching the description 'mellow electronica' pass by - don't even work as ambient, ambient is good, you see. 'Another Woman' has nice tinkling Piano, but it could literally be anybody. There is talent out there, beyond that which major label record companies pour obscene amounts of money into, leaving the rest destitute or rather more accurately, forever hopeful. They wonder about a drop in sales? I realise i'm going off the point, but EMI records - in response to the recent drops in CD sales, sack a lot of staff, drop a lot of new talent from their roster - AND THEN? Sign Robbie Williams for....

    80 Million Pounds!

    And, that says it all really, doesn't it? Back to '18' by Moby. If it wasn't by Moby, it'd have never gained a release in the first place. That's not to say it's terribly bad or anything, it's just terminally dull - in admist Moby's undoubted talents at producing ambient/electronica and matching the odd dead blues singer to new electronica that barely raises the temperature, but occasionally sounds oddly beautiful. Check out 'The Rafters', 'We Are All Made Of Stars' and 'In This World' and you'll have yourself a killer single. Forget the rest, it's competent, but deeply anonymous. The closing 'I'm Not Worried At All' matches some old vocalist to spooky and beautiful music. There is some stuff here worth keeping, after all - but you have to fight to find it. And it shouldn't be that way, should it?

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    Readers Comments

    Paul kalekefir@yahoo.com
    Everyone slams '18'. It's nothing compared to 'Play', I'll gladly conceit that, but it further plays off of the ambient emotion from 'Play', found in songs like 'Porcelain', 'Everloving', and 'My Weakness'. Songs like 'In This World' has some strong, passionate vocals, and a powerful progression on the strings. 'Signs Of Love' sounds like a laid back version of 'Porcelain'. The title track is a beautiful piano solo, and like "The Great Escape", it's simple, yet very effective. Even "At Least We Tried" is rather by-the-numbers but still a nice listen. This album won't have the great fun of tracks like 'Southside', but there are 10 or so good tracks to be found in here, the same with Play, which has about 10 of 18 good tracks.



    top of page Last Night 8 ( 2008 )
    Ooh Yeah / I Love To Move In Here / 257.zero / Everyday It's 1989 / Live For Tomorrow / Alice / Hyenas / I'm In Love / Disco Lies / The Stars / Degenerates / Sweet Apocalypse / Mothers Of The Night / Last Night

    'Last Night' signals a return to basics for Moby. The samples are less obvious than before, in terms of what he's actually sampling. He sounds less distinctive because of it, but that may not be a bad thing. Quality counts sometimes. Well, 'Everyday It's 1989' does wind an old blues vocal around a new dance track and does it well. Too many dance acts lack class, Moby has class, whether you like him as a person or his music - you can't argue too much with the fact he's been there and done that. At least he's not Fatboy Slim, let's put it that way. So, back to basics, then? Well, 'I Love To Move In Here' is my first pick of the pops from 'Last Night'. It sounds eerily early nineties, almost like a St Etienne tune, quite pleasingly. Moby gets in his trademark samples to spice things up and even though this is a melodic, mid-tempo electro tune, will still have much potential on the dancefloors. Well, there's a couple of sections of rap mixed in that work remarkably well before the song switches back to female vocals repeating out 'I Love To Move In Here'.

    'Moby Degenerates' it says on Winamp. Well, if only, hey kids? Ah, that's cruel, isn't it? I like this album because whilst it isn't deftly exciting or new, it reminds us that dance music doesn't have to be crap and that also, a dance music album can mix in slower tunes with the faster ones. The dancefloor and the floor, coming down afterwards, leaning back against the wall, room swimming in front of you. 'Degenerates' floats beautifully into your brain and suddenly you're transported. That's all whilst being sat at home, in your armchair. Music to quietly and unobtrusively transport you. Oh, you have to pay attention though and not talk loudly all over 'Degenerates', that will defeat the object. Kind of like having Metallica play at Brian Eno's wedding reception. Moby then gives us a song like 'Ooh Yeah', a novelty sample saying 'Ooh Yeah' over decent and interesting mid-tempo dance music. 'Last Night'? Well, it looks like Moby has pretty much all bases covered here and to me it seems that 'Last Night' is his best album in quite a well. Well done, that man!

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    top of page Wait For Me 6 ( 2009 )
    Division / Pale Horses / Shot In The Back Of The Head / Study War / Walk With Me / Stock Radio / Mistake / Scream Pilots / Jltf 1 / Jltf / A Seated Night / Wait For Me / Hope Is Gone / Ghost Return / Slow Light / Isolate

    A change of heart inspired by listening to David Lynch talk about making art for oneself, rather than concerns for the marketplace saw Moby record 'Wait For Me' in his home studio. There are touches of darkness, echoes of Joy Division too most strangely, more of which later. Inevitably we get some guest vocals, inevitably we get an album that sounds like how everyone imagines a Moby album should sound like. He's got a few tricks up his sleeve, we've seen that in the past, yet 'Wait For Me', whether aimed commercially or not sounds reassuringly Moby, particularly I suspect to fans of 'Play', his commercial highpoint. Well, this isn't a mere re-write, there's subtle touches, melancholic edges among the smoothness, there's 'Study War' which actually sounds like it's come straight from 'Play' There's also 'Division', a brief instrumental beam of sadness and 'Mistake', sung by Moby himself and perhaps too obviously a nod towards Joy Division. Well, it introduces a needed difference texture from all the ambient smoothness and soft female vocals. Sure, Moby's vocals on 'Mistake' aren't exactly great and trying to channel Joy Division whilst sounding more like LCD Soundsystem might not be what he intended, but I do enjoy this track.

    'Scream Pilots' helps the album continue to come alive after a flat first half other than the different textures of 'Mistakes'. It again has echoes of Joy Division, particularly the drum pattern. We all like Joy Division though, don't we? 'JLTF' is much prettiness musically wrapped up with an utterly lovely female vocal yet I still get the impression that 'Wait For Me' is a collection of unrelated moments. Well, related only by the largely slow moving pace. It's accomplished and at times impressive. On the otherhand, it lacks anything remotely approaching a standout. Sure, 'Shot In The Back Of The Head' was the nominal single, although seeing at it failed to chart or do anything other than announce the album was coming, why bother, really? Well, it had a David Lynch directed video. A David Lynch directed video that attracted so many potential buyers, the album failed to chart in the UK.

    In many, many ways I admire Moby for going for a more low-key (indeed, self-released) promotional effort (besides getting David Lynch involved) but the music should lead these things. The music should speak louder than PR departments.

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    top of page this page last updated 26/04/10


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