Strange thing happened to me just now. Usually, sitting down to write a blog for the day I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’m going to be saying, what I’m going to be saying it about and a vague understanding of why all of that might be important. And yet, whether it’s the solid seven and a half hours spent cooped up like a battery hen in my 2x2x2 corporate cell or the fact that many of those hours were spent actively seeking out the next big thing (notably not Beyonce’s new video, possibly The Weeknd, probably Wiley’s videographer) or the harsh reality that contemporary music doesn’t always throw up the gems you’re after, I faced the beautiful Blogger back-end, fingers aimlessly splayed over my keyboard, thinking ‘What do I write about?’ For a writer, I imagine that’s not a good sign. But importantly, this blog is not always about looking forward. Today, retrospection wins.
Overwhelmed by attempting to work out whether Foster The People‘s newest release lives up to the hype and if it does, does it deserve a place alongside Bon Iver’s most recent?, I followed J’s advice and went scrounging around in the desolate wasteland that is my first ever KaZaa folder. It was thus that I found Moby. Written off by one slightly pretentious Detroit local almost nine years ago now, Moby might have peaked with 1999’s ambient ‘Play’ (and within it, possibly the best chill-out track ever crafted in ‘Porcelain‘) but he wasn’t exactly finished when Eminem rapped techno’s eulogy on ‘Without Me’. While I can’t say that I really got into 2005’s ‘Hotel’ or his most recent ‘Last Night’ or ‘Wait For Me’ LPs, Eminem’s report of Moby’s commercial death was greatly exaggerated and intriguingly premature, especially when coming to consider 2002’s ’18’. Released the day after ‘The Eminem Show’ in the States, it never knocked Mathers from his #1 spot but it did deliver a slew of remarkable songs.
That ‘Extreme Ways’ made the Bourne trilogy is undeniable. Those shrill strings were so essential to piquing interest in the next installment that the production of a fourth episode hanging in the balance is a ludicrous suggestion. Aside from making astronaut suits cool again ‘We Are All Made Of Stars‘ helped set the epic, transcendental tone of the album. But it’s ‘In This World’, speaking to universal themes of loneliness and belonging with an appropriately gospel voice, that stood out today, reflecting on the predilections of my electronic-loving 13-year-old self. It impresse(s)(d) primarily in its magnificent ambition. Moby made sweeping orchestral arrangements, epochal lyrical statements and slowly building song dynamics cool in a way that not many then or since have. It might be awkwardly naff and a bit dorky to admit your membership but with the enduring rewards so obvious, I’m proud to be a part of the Moby fan club.
Moby – In This World