Moby
18
V2
2002
F

critical dead ends for an album full of musical dead ends:


Perhaps what Moby does best is construct songs. And when I say construct, I mean construct. There is a definite sense of each part being absolutely separate from one another. On “We Are All Made Of Stars”, I can‘t help but hear each individual sound as if it has this obvious space that is equidistant from every other sound in the song. Each sound maintains its space, but somehow, sometimes it coalesces into something greater- this is when Moby actually succeed. However, it seems like this only happens once or twice per record, although listening to the song again right now here comes that ubiquitios uplifting Moby synth line which clashes completely with everything in the track...


It was so much easier to like Moby (but it’s perhaps not why I’m giving him a bad review) when he wasn’t so much in the public eye and talking about himself on MTV all the time. Confronted with his personality, which many people seem to like (?), I’m disgusted by the things that he does- the almost scripted uncomfortableness in front of a camera, the MTV Cribs “people don’t seem to read anymore” comment, etc. Would this album, perhaps, be any better sounding to me without all of the baggage of his comments and newly formed image in my mind? This is more the case of a reviewers’ bias getting in the way of actually talking about music, but it bears examining (probably not in this context, admittedly)...


It has been said that the beautiful thing about Moby has been his ability to progress to a new idiom of production in each successive album. The technophrenia of Everything Is Wrong, the guitar/phallus of Animal Rights, or the gospeltronica of Play all play directly into the myth (especially found in independent music) that an artist must evolve his sound or die. In Moby’s case, such a pronounced evolution in each album made expectations so high for this album, then. A refining of the things that made him most successful was not an option to many, which others couldn’t care less as long as the tunes are good...


Perhaps the thing plaguing this album, then, is the length. 71 minutes is a long time for a listener to sit down and take in an album, even if every song is of a general quality (which it seems it isn’t). But if there is anything that we can takes away from Moby’s career as a musician, it’s that his self editing process seems to be nil. You get the feeling that perhaps every single shred of recorded material has been presented on this record, in some way or another, and that Moby is perhaps asking the listener to go ahead and pick and choose what they like. It’s as though 18 is a sampler of a certain producer and he is allowing for a listener to not enjoy a few of the tracks, if they can enjoy a few others and just buy the album based on that...


Every time that I went into a record store, the month that 18 came out, I looked for a copy of it at the right price. The right price, of course, being three dollars or less. There are, perhaps, some artists that you hate but you have to buy each of their albums just to know that they still don’t appeal to you. You know, to reaffirm their relative worthlessness to yourself. I own nearly all of Moby’s output and I finally broke down eventually and bought 18. It is only when divorcing Moby from Moby’s work that I can truly gain any sort of satisfaction out of his music. It is only when divorcing Moby’s voice or vocal samples from 18 that I can truly gain any sort of satisfaction from this album...


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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