RELEASE
June 01, 1999
LABEL
V2
GENRES
Electronica, Techno, House, Trance, Alternative Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Ambient Techno, Alternative/Indie Rock, Electronica

Album Review

Following a notorious flirtation with alternative rock, Moby returned to the electronic dance mainstream on the 1997 album I Like to Score. With 1999's Play, he made yet another leap back toward the electronica base that had passed him by during the mid-'90s. The first two tracks, "Honey" and "Find My Baby," weave short blues or gospel vocal samples around rather disinterested breakbeat techno. This version of blues-meets-electronica is undoubtedly intriguing to the all-important NPR crowd, but it is more than just a bit gimmicky to any techno fans who know their Carl Craig from Carl Cox. Fortunately, Moby redeems himself in a big way over the rest of the album with a spate of tracks that return him to the evocative, melancholy techno that's been a specialty since his early days. The tinkly piano line and warped string samples on "Porcelain" frame a meaningful, devastatingly understated vocal from the man himself, while "South Side" is just another pop song by someone who shouldn't be singing -- that is, until the transcendent chorus redeems everything. Surprisingly, many of Moby's vocal tracks are highlights; he has an unerring sense of how to frame his fragile vocals with sympathetic productions. Occasionally, the similarities to contemporary dance superstars like Fatboy Slim and Chemical Brothers are just a bit too close for comfort, as on the stale big-beat anthem "Bodyrock." Still, Moby shows himself back in the groove after a long hiatus, balancing his sublime early sound with the breakbeat techno evolution of the '90s.
John Bush, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Honey
  2. Find My Baby
  3. Porcelain
  4. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
  5. South Side
  6. Rushing
  7. Bodyrock
  8. Natural Blues
  9. Machete
  10. 7
  11. Run On
  12. Down Slow
  13. If Things Were Perfect
  14. Everloving
  15. Inside
  16. Guitar Flute & String
  17. The Sky Is Broken
  18. My Weakness