Musician Review: Moby

I was first exposed to Moby in 1995, back when my husband and I were first dating. He shared the Everything Is Wrong album with me, and I thought Moby did a fantastic job of melding various different styles into one album. Even though there were different styles, the album still flowed together well sonically. My husband had the limited edition version, which includes the bonus CD of “Underwater.” “Underwater” is an ambient piece split into five sections. While “Underwater” is a disc I don’t listen to often, it’s good to listen to if you’re in the mood for something more ambient and laid back. But Everything is Wrong still ranks as one of my favorite Moby albums of all-time.

Next, Moby released the Animal Rights album. A lot of Moby’s fans at the time weren’t very happy with this album, because Moby had recorded a punk rock album and publicly denounced his previous work. The most memorable song of this era for me is “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver,” especially when I heard about some of the alternate words Moby was asked to use, or actually used and recorded, because some people in the music industry were concerned about the gun reference. “Come On Baby” and “My Love Will Never Die” are two other songs I liked from Animal Rights. But the most memorable track from this era for me is a “death metal” cover of Devo’s “Whip It,” which appeared as a B-side on the “Come on Baby” single. We purchased the version of Animal Rights that came with the limited edition ambient CD, Little Idiot.

Next, my husband picked up a copy of the Rare: The Collected B-Sides CD, which also included a bonus CD that featured remixes of Moby’s early rave hit, “Go.” This set was my first exposure to Moby’s early rave material. My husband would later pick up the early Moby albums and singles, so I finally had the chance to hear songs like “Go,” “Next is the E,” and other songs from Moby’s early career. These songs aren’t bad for what they are, but I definitely have a preference for Moby’s later material.

In 1997, I heard Moby’s version of the James Bond Theme theme, and I enjoyed that immensely. It was also in 1997 when I heard an ambient album recorded by Voodoo Child, one of Moby’s various aliases he’s used over the years. The Voodoo Child release was OK, but when it comes to ambient music, I just can’t listen a whole album’s worth of it.

Next, I remember hearing Moby’s 1999 album, Play. This was Moby’s most successful album in the mainstream, and it’s a good album; however, I don’t think it’s quite as good as Everything is Wrong. My favorite songs from Play include “Honey,” “Find My Baby,” “Porcelain,” “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?,” “South Side,” “Bodyrock,” “Natural Blues,” and “Machete.”

In 2002, Moby released 18, the long-awaited follow-up album to Play. This album has some good songs on it, but I was a little let down by it. Moby focused a lot more on mid-tempo and slow songs on this album, especially on the second half of it; 18 is an album that I have a hard listening to all the way through. My favorite songs on 18 include: “We Are All Made of Stars,” “In This World,” “Extreme Ways,” “Jam for the Ladies,” “Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday),” and “The Rafters.”

In 2005, Moby released the Hotel album, and my husband purchased the version that came with a limited edition ambient CD. This was an improvement from 18, but I still thought it fell short of either Play or Everything is Wrong. My favorite songs on Hotel include: “Raining Again,” “Beautiful,” “Lift Me Up,” “Spiders,” “Dream About Me,” and “Slipping Away.” The following year, a greatest hits album was released for Moby, which included the new song “New York, New York,” which was a duet with Debbie Harry. This wasn’t a bad song, but it really wouldn’t have fit on any of the albums that Moby released; it was perfect to use as a new song for a greatest hits album.

In 2008, Moby released the album Last Night. When I listened to this album, I have to say that I was a disappointed in it. With Moby’s previous albums, even if I didn’t like some of the songs on them, I could at least acknowledge that Moby was evolving musically and taking his music in different directions. With Last Night, however, I heard Moby re-treading sonic sounds from several eras. I was hearing elements from Everything is Wrong, Play, and 18. In the long run, it felt as if Moby didn’t bring much new musically to Last Night.

Moby released the Wait For Me album in 2009, which is an album with music that is more in the ambient vein. Admittedly, the only songs that really stood out to me were “Pale Horses” and “Shot In The Back Of The Head.” For me, what made “Pale Horses” stand out was the music video; it’s a simple animated video that really captures the mood of the song. The Destroyed album was released in 2011; unfortunately, I haven’t really had the chance to hear anything from this album.

While my interest in Moby has started waning in recent years, I’m holding out hope that the next album Moby releases will be the one to really reignite my interest in his music.

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