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Audio CD, May 14, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Following one of the most licensed CDs in history, 18 delivers more of the gospel samples and spiritual exploration that made Play Moby's breakthrough album. But keep your expectations in check. On 18 there is barely a body-rocker in the bunch. This is often a somber, melancholy disc, blanketed in the washed-over cinematic orchestral melodies Moby's been fond of since his classic self-titled debut. It requires several listenings before the gems shine through the ambient fog--and most depart from Play entirely. On the deceptively minimalist opening track, Moby delivers a powerful message through his thin little voice. "We are all made of stars," he sings, and indeed he's believable. MC Lyte punches out an infectious rap over old-school beat-box rhythms on "Jam for the Ladies," offering one of the disc's few roof-raisers. "At Least We Tried" is a tear-jerking swan song of the highest order, and, finally, "The Rafters" resurrects early-‘90s house piano, which will make any of Moby's career-long fans pine for his earliest club hits. The diminutive DJ needn't have produced Play Pt. Two to keep his new fans engaged. Fortunately, his greatest talent for cooking up interesting sounds is still audible; you just need the patience to find it. --Beth Massa


Face it, Moby's the one. He's our star, the public face in America for all that is electronic music/culture, the prototypical inspired DIY raver of the early '90s who used determination and unmitigated gall to become a bona fide icon and sell over 10 million copies of his groundbreaking last album, Play. And he did it in inimitable style (remember his cover of Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" on 1996's Animal Rights?), so there's no reason to hate on him for it.

So it's impossible to talk about 18 without serious referencing of its predecessor, an album that slowly and methodically revolutionized what we know as "future music" by primarily sampling rural Americana from the turn of the 20th century and literally selling the results back in a litany of fashions. Moby notoriously (and without apology) licensed every track from Play for use in everything from movies to commercials, a move that spurred the album's meteoric rise.

Such stratospheric success affords one considerable clout, and it shows. Moby takes the opportunity to craft a sprawling, ambitious 18-track effort that's hardly the cash-in it could've been. Still, his mother obviously didn't raise a fool, so he's quick to reference the sounds and ideas that propelled Play into so many music collections. Opening with the uplifting New Wave-y pulse of "We Are All Made of Stars," "In This World" and "In My Heart" pick up where Play left off. Both are rife with swelling soundtrack strings and mournful female voices riding a rhythm reminiscent of something from Side Two of Duran Duran's Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Along with the weepy hip-hop of "Another Woman" and the tear-drenched pianos of "Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday)," a good chunk of 18 is a perpetuation of the electronic blues Moby has turned into a signature.

The irony of being born on Sept. 11 is not lost, and the thick, oft-somber mood of 18 can be traced to that infamous date. "Sleep Alone" (which commences what could be considered the album's second half) sounds like Leonard Cohen moaning over a Portishead instrumental, with Moby intoning "At least we were together/holding hands/flying through the sky," the 9/11 reference easily apparent. That's followed closely by "Harbour," where an unaffected electric guitar and stark drum machine beat play host to an amazingly engaging Sinead O'Connor vocal performance. Lounging reflectively like the Blake Babies or even Yo La Tengo gone hi-fi, it's the finest moment 18 has to offer, even with the slightly overwrought chorus.

"Jam for the Ladies" is the one straight-up party tune, with soul sisters Angie Stone and MC Lyte hyping the crowd on this obvious single. Think "Body Rock Pt. II."

Ending on the barn-storming "The Rafters" and an experienced "I'm Not Worried At All," 18 is not Moby's masterpiece, as many might have hoped/feared/expected. But it is an exceptional work that shows definite progression from Play but ultimately falls short of his potential. For an artist, that's the highest compliment I've got.

Scott Sterling -- From URB Magazine

1. We Are All Made of Stars
2. In This World
3. In My Heart
4. Great Esacpe
5. Signs of Love
6. One of These Mornings
7. Another Woman
8. Fireworks
9. Extreme Ways
10. Jam for the Ladies
11. Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday)
12. 18
13. Sleep Alone
14. At Least We Tried
15. Harbour
16. Look Back In
17. The Rafters
18. I'm Not Worried at All

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 14, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: V2
  • ASIN: B000063S6Z
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,842 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on May 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Another 18 tracks -thus the name of the album- put together by pop-superstar Moby in this, his newest production, give the listener plenty of material to choose from. It might be questioned how original he has been this time around, when the norm of his previous works has almost always been innovation: at least I confess I had a hard time getting over my initial impression of "Oh, my God! This totally sounds like 'Play'." But after a few listens, it starts to pick up speed and take on a totally different meaning inside of you.
With '18' Moby has taken a two-fold approach: a good half of the album picks up where 'Play' and its B-Sides left and the other half brings a handful of new elements. Lots of gospel vocals and spiritual lyrics can be found in songs such as "In This World," "In My Heart" and "One Of These Mornings," all of which could easily have been produced back in 1999. "Another Woman," though not as gospel in tone, does have that R&B flavor to it, and "I'm Not Worried At All" reminds a lot of "Natural Blues" both due to the lead vocals and to the overall spirit of the song and the lyrics. The New Wave-y opening track, "We Are All Made of Stars" and "Extreme Ways" both have that super-hit flavor for '18' that "Porcelain" and "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad" brought to 'Play' but it mixes some elements which are somewhat alien to Moby's music (except for the "element" of eclecticism). On the other hand, "Great Escape," "Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday)" (consider his b-day is 9/11) and "Harbour" all have one thing in common: beautiful female vocals (surprise tip: "Harbour" has Sinead O'Connor on vocals).
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Distant Voyageur on May 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
After the dynamite Play, Moby continues the sound of Play in some areas except that this follow-up is a bit lighter and has more Gospel samples giving the album somewhat a bit of a 60s or 70s feel to it. Play was great, 18 is just as great.
1)We're All Made Of Stars_Excellent lead off single. Very similar to South Side. Excellent nighttime travel music.
2) In This World- This song is a mix of jazz/pop with ol school hip hop beats and a Gospel vocal in the background. Kind of a bit 60s sounding.
3)In My Heart- Anyone remember Rushing off Play? This song has a similar piano crescendo loop only this song is not quite as eerie and more upbeat.
4)Great Escape- A very simple song with a cello and a female vocal. Not too bad but not that memorable
5)Signs Of Love- A very beautiful song. Reminiscent of Porcelain.
6)One OF These Mornings- This song also uses a Gospel sample voice. A very nice song.
7)Another Woman- One of my favorites. AW has a kind of an early 90s old school R&B sound and a strange organ playing. Sort of like linking the sounds on 1990 and 2002 together.
8)Fireworks- Music with atmosphere. This song is captivatingly beautiful. Makes me think of standing out on a field on a cloudy afternoon.
9)Extreme Ways-An upbeat R&Bish song with a weird orchestra sound in the background. Kind of 70s sounding.
10)Jam For The Ladies-Moby dives into the old school hip-hop realm. This song is absolutely great. Satisfies my desire for hip-hop is fun.
11)Sunday- Another atmospheric track with a wierd vocal sample.
12)18- An ambient slow track with echoing pianos. This song can be kind of depressing sometimes.
13)Sleep Alone- One of the highlight songs on 18.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jim Reed on March 5, 2006
Format: Audio CD
With the exception of the uplifting 9/11 inspired opening We Are All Made of Stars and the bouncy Jam for the Ladies tossed into the middle this has to be one of the saddest albums ever made.From Track 2 In this World(Lordy don't you leave me all by myself)to One of These Mornings(One of these mornings won't be very long I'll be gone)to At Least We Tried this cd is filled with anguish and loneliness.Having said that nobody handles melancholy material better than Moby.Using different vocalists from Jennifer Price to Sinead O'Connor and beautiful atmospheric music to back the songs 18 has plenty of variety and breaks your heart more than once along the way.Moby took a big chance and probably lost some fans he gained with the more upbeat Play.Fortunately though his gamble pays off with some of the bleakest but most gorgously haunting music you'll ever hear.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Santos on May 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Simply brilliant. Play was a great album, 18 is a brilliant one. 18 is more subtle and introspective than Play. It has few club mega hits as Play had such as Body Rock or obvious hits such as South Side or Natural Blues. Don't get me wrong, there are radio hit friendly tunes here, We Are All Made of Stars is the most compelling. Also, Jam For The Ladies could be one of those club hits that bring the house down given the right remix. What 18 does have in abundance are haunting songs that stick to your bones after a couple of plays. The two songs that Sinead O'Connor contributes vocal chops are simply unforgettable, especially on Harbour, she is at the top of her vocal style. Moby himself contributes his voice to several tunes, giving an admirable vocal performance for someone with limited vocal skill, note the haunting Signs of Love. Other songs of note, In This World for its incredibly moving vocal. Another Woman for its powerful voice song over a very inspired bass/rhythm/piano background with very solid production work. I'm Not Worried at all is a very spiritually influenced song that can fit at home in any church revival. The influences on this album are many that were on Play, African American church music, American soul, 80's electronic and dance music, alternative music of the non-thrash colour. With 18, Moby has delivered the second classic of his long career (anybody remember that he sang vocals briefly for the punk rock/art band Flipper?). For those wanting to see what Moby is all about, spend some money and buy both Play and 18, you will not be disappointed. If you already own Play, than 18 is a no brainer.
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