Help Us Keep Reporting. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

18

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2002 at 12:00 AM

When Moby’s Play was released in 1999, it was very much the work of a techno bluesman. After following his heart straight into the cutout bins with punk-rock covers and gorgeously out-of-place ambient tracks on 1996’s Animal Rights, Moby found himself without a deal or DJ gigs. So he put his melancholy into song as any DJ-cum-musician would: Sampled vocals, linear-party jams and borrowed bass bump, all arranged like one big gentle cheer-me-up after a good cry.

After selling 10 million copies of his little Sunday afternoon masterpiece, Moby, like Eminem, has a different set of issues this time out. Eminem talks about how empty MTV would be without him on his new single, while Moby just bemoans how empty his new celebrity-fueled world is on the deadpan, electro-poppy “We Are All Made Of Stars.”

On 18, Moby still prefers that wonderfully oblique feeling of sorrowful, heart-swelling cheer. He enlists Georgia goth girls Azure Ray to coo in natural fibers on “Great Escape,” he lets Freedom Bremmer get all achy-breaky on “At Least We Tried” and Sinead O’Connor gives “Harbour” its chilly emotional delivery.

It’s hard not to see Moby as some kind of poor little rich kid. He’s let the geek-turned-rock star side of himself have a fling with Natalie Portman, rubbed elbows with Hollywood and become techno’s first superstar. But now he’s gone back to his punk-rock roots to renounce the whole thing and stay grounded (and inspired) in good ol’ heartbroken dissatisfaction.

To Moby’s credit, 18 is bigger, its blues more wrenching, its melancholy that much more pronounced and its after-the-cry catharsis that much more satisfying. While he is not above repeating himself (“Jam for The Ladies” is Play’s “Bodyrock” with a higher-profile cameo courtesy of MC Lyte), he’s also not shy of outdoing himself, either.

E-mail Hobey Echlin at letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Hobey Echlin

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 27, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation