Rocks In The Attic #243: Moby – ‘Play’ (1999)

RITA#243I once read an interview with Moby where he described a game he plays whenever he’s in a stiff, crowded, cocktail party-type situation. With a friend, he’ll take turns walking through the crowded room, take his junk out of his trousers, and attempt to touch as many unsuspecting party-goers with the end of his disco stick. The one who touches the most people, without being noticed, wins.

Is that a funny thing to do, or is it just something you might expect from a socially awkward, introspective nerd who got very famous off the back of this, his fifth album? I’m not sure, but at least he doesn’t seem to be taking himself too seriously.

I bought this upon its release, mainly because of the amount of singles on it – which for a DJ is always handy. There are a staggering eight singles on Play, and the majority of them are of a pretty decent quality (so it wasn’t as though the record company was throwing a load of shit at a wall to see if some of it stuck). Since I stopped DJing, I don’t seem to listen to it half as much as I used to.

Much has been said that this is the first album ever to have all of its songs licensed for use in commercials, television shows and films. It’d be a cliché to say that makes him a sell-out, but I guess when you’re a musician whose biggest success was selling 250,000 records (of his third album, Everything Is Wrong), why not promote your next album as much as you can?

The key hook (or is it a gimmick?) is how Play melds beats and electronica with Alan Lomax’s field recordings of country folk and blues from the 1930s and 1940s. On paper it sounds like it shouldn’t fit, but it sounds very natural – almost too natural.

Hit: Porcelain

Hidden Gem: Run On

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