Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Moby’s “Last Night” May Be Moby’s Last Call

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: .

The first time I ever heard of Moby was when I saw him on the cover of a magazine’s year end release circa the turn of the new year 1997 (Magnet?). The picture caught my eye, and though I can’t find it online to save my life (Moby seemed to be growling with a clump of thick wires protruding from his mouth, best I can remember), it and the DJ Shadow reference on the cover sold my impressionable young mind on the magazine. But low and behold the references in the zine’s pages were too deep and too far from my knowledge base and I quickly grew tired of attempting to figure them amongst my pre-Napster adolescence. But those names, DJ Shadow and Moby, stood with me; shortly after I purchased the phenomenal Entroducing as well as Moby’s Everything is Wrong and Animal Rights. What struck me initially with that last record in particular was the almost comical contrast between it and his previous…hell, between each song and the next on Animal Rights.

In AR Moby jumped between every influence that had seemingly affected him up to that point in time, focusing largely on industrial confrontationism and prolonged ambiance. Comparing it then to its predecessor Animal Rights left me with a strong impression that I was going to have a hard time shifting along with Moby as he moved away from his trance-friendly club stage. One track however eased the shift between EIW and his commercial breakthrough Play, that being “That’s When I Reach For My Revolver.”

It wasn’t until recently that I learned that the song was a Mission of Burma cover, but all the same it moved me…it still does as a matter of fact. And despite the criticism towards Moby for changing the lyrics and title of the song in sake of finding commercial viability for it, which was subsequently unbeknownst to me for roughly a decade, that is really the song that solidified my position of his as a fan of his.

“Alice” comes at a time which would have been of great importance to Moby’s career if not for the continuing residuals he receives from Play’s success. Regardless of Last Night’s future financial success however, I feel like it’s the last straw in terms of where fans will decide to either stick it out with Moby or begin to give up on the idea of reclaiming their admiration for his music considering his ongoing mediocrity. That being said I think “Alice” is better than anything I remember being on 18, his follow-up to Play. I’m still going to have to hear the entire album before making the decision to continue pulling for the man or start remembering him by his classics however. If anything can be said though, the sampler available via Moby’s web site reminds me a lot of Everything Is Wrong, so much so that I believe that I’m thinking this could be the most enjoyable Moby album (from start to finish mind you, not that half of the album is boring nonsense that people forget about when glorifying Play) since his 1995 release.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]