Moby’s 18 continues from where the previous album, Play, left off. That’s not to say that 18 is simply a retread of Play; 18 takes Play’s sound and moves it up to the next level.
“We Are All Made of Stars,” the first song on the album, was also the lead-off single. It’s a bittersweet song that combines Moby’s electronic sound with guitar. The next song on the album is “In This World,” which was released as the third single from 18. “In This World” has a gospel feel to it, and incorporates strings, keyboard, and percussion. This is followed by “In My Heart,” which features vocals by the Shining Light Gospel Choir; musically, it consists of piano and percussion.
“Great Escape” is the darkest song on the album, both musically and lyrically. The only music you hear on the song is strings. This is followed by “Signs of Love,” which consists primarily of strings and percussion; however, a guitar kicks into the mix around three minutes in. The next song, “One of These Mornings,” consists of piano and percussion.
“Another Woman” features a sample of “I’m a Good Woman” by Barbara Lynn; it is accompanied by bass, percussion, and keyboard. Musically and lyrically, “Another Woman” is rather redundant; the song probably would have been stronger if it had been shorter. “Fireworks” is a keyboard and percussion instrumental that is short, sweet and to the point. “Extreme Ways,” which was the second single from 18, has strings, keyboards, and funky-sounding percussion.
“Jam for the Ladies” features vocals by Angie Stone and MC Lyte, and is definitely the most upbeat track on the album. The song features a sample of “Wherever You Are” by Mic Geronime, in addition to percussion, bass, and “record scratches.” “Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday)” samples “Sunday” by Sylvia Robinson, and features piano, percussion, and strings. This is followed by “18,” which is a keyboard and string instrumental. Personally, I think this track would have been stronger if it was a little shorter.
“Sleep Alone” sounds like a 1970s soul song the way the percussion, piano, and bass are arranged. “At Least We Tried” also makes me think of 1970s soul with the arrangement of the percussion and keyboard. Lyrically and musically, this song is bit redundant, and I think the song probably would’ve been stronger if it was a little shorter. “Harbour” features Sinead O’Connor on vocals, and has a guitar and percussion sound that is reminiscent of the early 1970s. However, this song is also a little redundant musically.
“Look Back In” is a percussion and string instrumental that is short, sweet and to the point. This is followed by “Rafters,” which has an upbeat bassline with keyboards and percussion. For vocals, the song primarily features humming; however, the lack of “true vocals” does not distract the listener from the song. The album closes with “I’m Not Worried at All.” This is another song that features the Shining Light Gospel Choir, and is accompanied with percussion and a musical arrangement that is tinged with a 1960s soul sound.
Overall, 18 is a good album; however, I think the tracks could have been arranged a little differently. Most of the last half of the album has a “sameness” to it, which can make 18 a hard album to listen to after a while. For me, it’s definitely a “mood album,” which means that I have to be in a certain mood in order to listen to 18 in its entirety. Those listeners who enjoy Moby’s more upbeat, danceable songs probably won’t enjoy 18 very much. But this should be an album that a Moby collector has in their collection.