Moby is seen as a pioneer of electronic music. His ability to craft songs and play many different instruments made him a fit for the music world. This is his fifth album, and was a commercial success for him. Prior to this, Moby was considering giving up music making for good after an unsuccessful run at recording music. This should be an interesting listen, so let’s hear it.
First off is Honey. Oddly enough, this isn’t EDM really. There is blues singing from some women, a chugging piano and some basic beats. This is more like music that is very experimental at heart, it sounds pretty weird. There is slide guitar here as well. The midsection with its wah-wah guitar parts, repeated vocal loop and basic sounds are quite interesting to hear. The track builds up with layers of instrumentation and brilliant sounds, although one would hardly consider this EDM music, although it has been pigeonholed as such. Pretty weird, and honestly, not that flattering. Gets rather repetitive towards the end.
Next is Find My Baby which has more old school blues singing (why?!) and more very basic beats. Acoustic guitar enters, and we are underway. It eventually lurches into a straightforward EDM mix of weird genres. Rather too weird and experimental to be honest, The Velvet Underground were the best at experimenting in music. Moby obviously didn’t pay attention to that fact. The midsection with some cool electric slide guitar is nice here, and shows that Moby had a few points on interest up his sleeve. Still, it is a really awkward and poor mix of musical genres here, and doesn’t sound really that good. Once again, it is too long as well.
Porcelain is next, which is Moby’s most popular, and likely best, song he ever made. It sounds very minor key, beautiful and depressing at the same time. This song was used extensively in the film The Beach which Leonardo DiCaprio was the main character in. A really lovely and inspired piece of music, it sounds very sad indeed. Good and nicely structured piece having said that, and goes to show that Moby was an original artist after all, maybe? The vocal samples and piano are really nicely deployed here, a real gentle piece of music.
Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? begins with some basic piano. Some gospel singing gets underway, and this is a weird combination of piano, singing and beats. It is another improvement over the first couple of tracks, but really this mixture of Blues and EDM music is not a nice sounding one. It is like asking one to be in two different places at the same time, it just doesn’t work. Without the Blues stuff, this album would be a lot better. Unfortunately, Moby does not seem to think straight here. The breakdowns here in the second half are good, and somewhat better than the first half. Could have been edited, as you probably have guessed by now. Moby directing sampling Blues legends is also a seriously questionable thing to do, both money and creativity wise.
Following is South Side begins with some decent electric guitar and a funky, salsa style groove. Finally, the album sounds actually quite good here. It is extremely catchy, shorter and a better effort from Moby. It’s about going for a great road trip with friends, and just sounds really fresh and decent. The lyrics here are wonderful, and this is a refreshing listen. Good hybrid of some basic EDM and Rock guitars, this is nice. The guitar solo (yes, you heard that right) is really awesome here. A very good piece of artistic beauty. The outro is nice, too.
Next is Rushing which is soft and tranquil sounding at the start, with some nicely deployed female vocals. It goes into an Ambient music style piece here, just sounding really gentle, Very much the sort of thing you could meditate to. Good job Moby on this one, this is really awesome and fine listening here. The piano part in this is amazing. The only issue is that these tracks on this album all sound rather the same, no matter how you listen to music. Little differences are here between each track. As a result, it can be a bit boring to hear this album at times.
Bodyrock is an awesome track from the start to finish, and has some very nice and catchy guitar guitars, a repeated guitar part and a great melody and rhythm to it. The wah-wah guitar here is really awesome, and would make Jimi Hendrix jealous if he were still alive today. This is a real classic from Moby, and is an impressive and energetic listen. This isn’t EDM by the way, not at all. One can appreciate it though, it sounds incredible. It has a false ending, before going straight back into the mayhem. Great job here Moby, this sounds great. Excellent, great track, the outro is rad.
Natural Blues is another rather awkward mixture of Blues sampling, piano and basic EDM beats. It doesn’t sound energetic or inspired. This album is a precursor for style over substance, which is much more prevalent today. There aren’t many good songs on this album as a result. Seriously, Moby could have bettered this album, and he likely knows it. Nice try, but it is neither decent nor catchy here. Which is a real shame. Let’s hope that the next generation of musicians can break free from this mold of style over substance, and reverse it. We shall see. Skip this one if you can, or your ear will go down the drain. Depressing, much like banging one’s head against a brick wall. The outro is too long as well.
Up next is Machete which begins with Underworld styled beats and textures. It honestly sounds a lot better here than the Blues inspired songs here, but all the same, lacks originality and consistency. Fortunately, it is only three minutes long but still sounds lazy and uninspired. Seriously Moby should look to have a job elsewhere. If this is the best he can do, it is pretty sad. There is a false ending in the second half, before launching into another ordinary section. Good but not great.
Following is 7 which is a super short instrumental that isn’t that inspired. It sounds like an intermission sort of piece really, suited perfectly halfway through the album. It has some random guitar parts and a processed drum loop which gets a little annoying. Good, but not great.
Run On begins with chugging piano, before some additional piano parts enter. Some old Soul singing is sampled here. This is one of the better sampled songs here, but still it sounds like the old song is being butchered here. Enjoyable listening, but it sounds rather out of place here with the extra instrumentation. Good but too odd and unoriginal to be hugely impressive. The sad thing is that this need not have been like this, sometimes an old tune needs to be left as it is, and Moby should be noticed for ripping off old songs, worse than Noel Gallagher ever has done. Depressing to hear with this in one’s mind.
Down Slow comes next, being another slow and repetitive track that lasts for around a minute. Nothing special here, just neither really excellent nor awful. It does come across as a musical exercise rather anything else worthwhile. Not really a good listen here.
Following is If Things Were Perfect which this album isn’t by far. The bass guitar playing on this song is awesome, and this is definitely an improvement on previous track on this album. Slow to begin with, some amazing beats then emerge. Some sampled spoken word speech is here to add to the dark theme of the track. A better listen and very listenable here, but a bit slow and too minimal to be hugely enjoyable. Could have been edited a bit, the whole thing sounds really enough to send you to sleep, whether or not this is good is up to you.
Next is Everloving which begins with some Beatlesque acoustic guitar picking. By this point, we will feel cheated by Moby’s pigeonholing into Electronic Music and EDM as a genre. It’s really not at all what he does, and although this song is quite good, this is definitely more Rock than EDM. The song here is good though, a decent instrumental but once again, it is seemingly lacking of a truly enjoyable listening experience, like the rest of the album. Points for effort, but Moby sounds like he could have done better on this record.
Inside is an ambient sounding basic Electronic music piece. This album seemingly is a drag. This track is no different, sounding like a poor imitation of Underworld’s Pearls Girl. There is no point enjoying this as Moby is treading pretty familiar territory here. This album is not groundbreaking, there are many other genres and artists who have done this sort of music better. Sadly, this record is mostly a waste of time. Barely listenable, and even then, it is barely average. Ignore this track, more could be written and said about it, but what is the point of flogging a dead horse? Ordinary listen.
Guitar Flute & String is pretty much that. It begins with some fingerpicked acoustic guitars, a gentle flute and a great set of melodies here. This is a definite improvement over what has come before. The string section here is beautiful, melodic and a little haunting. A nice listen for a change, this is very good. A nice and surprisingly original piece that is different.
After that is The Sky Is Broken which begins with some loose drum beats and a whirring tape machine in the background. A spoken word part emerges here, but although this is a good listen, it is back into the slow motion style listening experience here. Fortunately, we are almost at the end of this album and it sounds okay enough to listen to, even with the spoken word poetry. Good artistic effort, even from this album. A string section the enters in the second half, giving some dramatic effect here, but this album is a lost opportunity to make an album of substance, not style.
The last song (about time!) here is My Weakness. This has some more samples from elsewhere, and it sounds like Moby has a hard time creating truly original music. It combines the repeated vocal sample with some rather Coldplay style textures and ambience. This is a rather depressing listen, and not a good way to finish off a fairly average album. Even Dr. Dre rapping on the 2001 album is a better effort of melodramatic and depressing circumstances than this. When the album ends, you’ll thank yourself later for consigning it to the dustbin of history.
This is not a good album, it is difficult to believe it was hugely popular at the time. A really ordinary effort from an uninspiring one hit album wonder, even the postmodern RnB scene is way better than this, which says a lot really. Unless you like some of the styles written about here, avoid and don’t regret avoiding as such. Goes on past an hour’s length as well, which is very indulgent musically.