On September 30th, the musician known as Moby will release his 11th full-length album Innocents. While the official release is still a week away, NPR Music has the new record available for First Listen.
If I cannot be honest with the readership of this blog, who can I be honest with…right? No music review is unbiased. We all have our biases and tastes. However, some people will claim a lack of bias. In this case, I am claiming no such thing. I adore Moby’s music. I celebrate his entire catalog, and have been anxiously awaiting this release since he shared the video for “The Lonely Night”. I don’t believe that Moby is free from error or misjudgment, and I will say that some people may not enjoy his music (we all have faults…). My relationship with Moby’s music is long and storied (well, on a personal level). From the moment I first heard “Next is the E” as a 13 year old new to the world of techno to walking down the aisle with my new wife to “Feeling So Real” on our wedding day…he is the only musician I ever had a desire to meet and thank for his music. He was the first performer I saw live more than once, and both Everything is Wrong and Play CD’s have had to have been replaced due to listening to them too much. Okay…enough with the gushing…on to the music…
I’ve found the last two of Moby’s releases, 2011’s Destroyed. and 2009’s Wait for Me, to be very atmospheric and themed and without some of the trademark “disco” that Moby is known to inject into his music. These records were also composed almost solely by Moby in his home studio in NYC. I enjoy both of these releases, but have been hoping for a more robust release from him (I was and still am pretty enthralled with his 2008 release Last Night which took his disco love to a whole new level). Innocents does not seem to have an overarching theme like his last 3 releases. The album does not need to be listened to as a whole and often the music feels a bit disjointed from one track to the next. As “Everything that Rises” starts you can sense that this record is different. You know it is Moby, but this song already sets the tone for more energy than his previous release. “A Case For Shame” could have been on Destroyed. as the components are very similar to much that record. Moby revisits the style so prominent on Play and 18 with sampling soulful spirituals on “A Long Time”. He also incorporates a little disco funk on “Don’t Love Me (ft. Inyang Bassey)”. Moby also uses more guest singers than previous albums. Almost every track has a featured singer. This definitely adds to the flavor of the record. If I were to compare this record with one from Moby’s past, it would be Hotel which happens to be one of my favorites. Like that album, this one contains a few dance-able anthems like ” Saints” and “The Perfect Life (ft. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips)” (see below). I am pretty sure that @Begt would want to join that rooftop party watching the sun set over Los Angeles. I know I would.
This track in particular speaks to me. Overall the record is not outstanding, but it is a return to and evolution of some of Moby’s previously used styles. I like that he has put a West Coast spin on some of these tracks now that he is a permanent resident of L.A. Moby is not touring to support this record, instead he is performing 3 shows over 3 nights at the Fonda Theater near (walking distance) from his home in L.A.
I look forward to hearing more from Moby in the future, and will, in the meantime, lose myself in these songs.