118 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece from a truely talented individual
I've never been, what I would consider, a huge Moby fan. I've only recently become associated with him from his work on the "Saint" and "The Beach" soundtracks. Boy oh boy, do I wish I had discovered this talented individual sooner! My friend bought this CD and let me borrow it. Although I don't like the first two tracks, I immediately was hooked in...
Published on March 11, 2000
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled
All my friends were raveing on about this album and I'd heard some of the tracks which had an instant appeal to me, so I parted with my hard earned cash and bought it. After a few listens the novelty factor began to wear off. The level of musical skill in this album seems to be quite basic and the chord structures are lacking a complexity that makes songs stand out in...
Published on June 27, 2000 by James N Windsor
Most Helpful First | Newest First
118 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece from a truely talented individual,
By A Customer
I've never been, what I would consider, a huge Moby fan. I've only recently become associated with him from his work on the "Saint" and "The Beach" soundtracks. Boy oh boy, do I wish I had discovered this talented individual sooner! My friend bought this CD and let me borrow it. Although I don't like the first two tracks, I immediately was hooked in by "Porcelain," which is also featured on the "Beach" soundtrack and in a recent Neiman Marcus commerical. I used to think that Orbital was the best techno artist around, but after this CD, Moby takes the cake! I've never known any techno artist to put so much feeling into a song, without saying anything. This album gets you grooving and relaxing all at the same time. Some tracks to defintely listen to: "Porcelain," "Rushing," "Bodyrock," "Machete," "Inside" and the last track, "My Weakness." "My Weakness," "Porcelain" and "Inside" have a spirituality that is rarely seen in techno music. So haunting and beautiful all at the same time. If you saw the episode of the X-Files where Mulder finally finds out about his sister, you heard "My Weakness" in the final scene with the ghost children. When I heard it there, i immediately wanted to know who did it. This is without a doubt the most moving techno song I've ever heard. It just hits you right in the gut. This CD is a MUST have for all Techno fans. Look out wallet! I'm buying more of his work! Look out Moby, you've got a new fan who looks forward to more years of this awesome music!
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive work of electronica,
Moby has a long history of being one of the more popular DJ acts on the club scene. His ability to mix all manner of sounds to create some of the most diverse electronica music earned him an ardent, albeit small, cult following. The electronica/techno genre doesn't generally lend itself to widespread, mainstream acceptance. In an attempt to attract a much larger audience, Moby executed a unique strategy for promoting his multi-platinum breakout album "Play". As most of the tracks on "Play" aren't necessarily what the typical radio program director would consider to be 'radio-friendly', Moby got a large number of "Play"'s tracks to be attached to television commercials. TV commercials are a medium that does not need to conform to any specific musical format. As a result, these songs were made accessible to the general public, which developed a fervent interest in the songs and the artist. This ingenious marketing campaign led to "Play" selling a ridiculously high number of albums. One of the most notable commercials was for Tiger Woods and Nike Golf where Tiger is playing golf all across downtown Manhattan to tune "Find My Baby", track #2 on "Play".
Inventive marketing aside, "Play" still would not have found such a mass popularity if it weren't for the fact that is was a fabulous album. "Find My Baby" is actually one of the lesser tracks on the album, in my estimation. Moby mixes every kind of beat and mood in his song. He creates the slow and haunting meditative sounds of "Porcelain" while creating a body-moving, beat-thumping, dance club favorite in "Bodyrock" (I might add that this is a very good tune to listen to when working out). He mixes a cross of blues and techno with "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" and plays soaring, heavenly sounds on "Natural Blues", arguably the two best tracks on "Play", respectively. Moby even manages to produce a 'radio-friendly' song that achieved mass appeal with "South Side". Initially just Moby with a non-descript female backup singer, "South Side" morphed into something much more when he remade it with No Doubt's Gwen Stefani as a powerful, opposing female voice on this song. The genius of this album cannot be understated. "Play" provides hours of satisfying repeated listenings. Moby has definitely 'arrived' with this album.
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not "traditional" Moby.. Better.,
Moby falls into a genre called "techno" that has just been broadened with the release of his latest album "Play." More often than not, people will think of techno as just that repetitive, beat-heavy music playing at dance clubs and raves. In fact, techno is just sampling and synthesizing. Moby selects a unique genre from which to sample on this album.
Play is about soul and feeling, not something his previous albums were known for (although there were certainly exceptions). Much of it comes from old Gospel songs, as heard in "Natural Blues," and "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" These two songs, like much of the album, combine a clean, synthetic melody with rusty, bluesy samples. The result is a sound unlike any you'll ever hear, and it's wonderful thing.
Bluesy, sure. But diverse? Definitely. The laid back, smooth "Porcelain" has a little bit (but don't worry -- not too much) of Pop influence. "Bodyrock" has some older rap influence. The haunting, rather sad "My Weakness" is a spine-tingling finish to a masterpiece of techno.
This is a great album to listen to sporadically. Listening to it all the way through in one sitting might result in a wild array of mood swings. However, each mood would be explored entirely in each of these songs.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very diverse, compelling music,
I bought this CD becasue of a few songs I had heard and liked and then found out they were all by the same guy: Moby. His style fluctuates amazingly between tracks unlike any other artist I've ever listened to. There's only about 3 tracks that I ever skip. And considering there's 18 tracks, that's pretty darn good. I must say though, a lot of the songs are very repetitive so you might like it less depending on how much you value the sound of music compared to lyrical content. But even for those of you who appreciate strong lyrics, there's plenty on here to satisfy. After you buy this and listen to it, you won't classify Moby as techno/dance anymore. If you're like me and like a lot of different stuff, get this album now.
1)Honey- Upbeat, energetic, fun nonsense song. Great opener.
2)Find my Baby- This song just sounds cool. The lyrics aren't anything to speak of but I like the little "woo!" with the great instrumental accompaniment.
3)This Is Goodbye- This song has been used in a lot of movies and TV shows. I actually didn't even know it was by Moby until I bought the album. One of the slower, more meaningful, powerful songs.
4)Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?- Another song with lots of piano. Great mixing of sounds. Kind of like a slow version of "Find my Baby"- repetitive lyrics with a great sound.
5)South Side- Truly a hidden gem. I've never heard this one on the radio but it should be. Great audio effects AND lyrical substance. One of the few spots on the album where Moby manages to achieve this. My personal favorite.
6)Rushing- Slow, boring and pointless. With 18 tracks, you gotta have a few duds here and there. This is one of them.
7)Bodyrock- Probably his most well-known song. It's just great. Lots of energy. This song is probably the main reason people classify Moby as techno/dance. It gets me pumped up every time I hear it.
8)Natural Blues- This one got some radio play too. Has a deep, heavy sound to it and some very cool percussion undertones.
9)Machete- The most techno-sounding track. Crisp, smooth, electronic lyrics with an incredible rhythm. Another one of my favorites.
10)7- Another pointless track. At least this one is only a minute long.
11)Run On- Wow! Not what I expected when I bought this album but nonetheless excellent. Fun lyrics that you'll find yourself singing along to with some neat sound effects thrown in.
13)If Things Were Perfect- If you took 5 or 6 audio effects and threw them in a blender, this is what you would get. Dark, cold lyrics in front of a unique mixture of sounds.
14)Everloving- Just some humming in front of an acoustic guitar with some piano thrown in. Nothing special but it's tolerable. Kind of soothing and relaxing, actually.
15)Inside- Heavenly sounds with a techno beat. It works.
16)Guitar, Flute & String- As the title implies, it has some guitar, it has some flute and it has some string. It sounds more like something that should be on a movie soundtrack.
17)The Sky Is Broken- This song actually has more of a rap or hip-hop beat to it. More cold, dark lyrics from Moby along with more piano. Pretty good. If you bought this album for his more popular stuff though, you're not going to like this one at all.
18)My Weakness- Once again, a very heavenly, uplifting sound. I like this track a lot.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dozens of "Background" Plays Won Me Over,
Like I usually do, I listened intently to each cut after I bought this album (by an artist I'd never heard of but saw highly recommended by many of you amazon.com reviewers). My reaction was mixed as I wondered whether the sampling of old blues masters was a rip-off...or a gift from the past to younger ears that may have never heard the originals. I remained undecided and really not too enthusiastic since what I was looking for was a smoother techno ride ala Underworld. This album went through too many changes. I decided I respected MOBY for his ambitious eclecticism, but passed the CD onto my 19 year old daughter. A month later, bored by most of my other techno CDs, I took MOBY to work and set the player to repeat the album ALL day long at a relatively low volume. Now I wasn't "listening" as much as just hearing. The repetitiveness of the first two cuts which bothered me at first, turned into satisfying mantra music. To make a long story a little shorter, I kept the CD in my at-work player for days, then weeks. No question about it, although it took me awhile, PLAY is super! It deserves all the kudos so many have given it. My way may not be your way, but sometimes backing off from "hard" listening can make all the difference.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just techno? I think not ...,
True, Moby was once considered the "face of techno," having brought some identity to a largely faceless genre of music. *Play*, however, is a bold departure from that format, edging away from the cold, mechanical feel normally associated with techno (only "Machete" and "Bodyrock" sound like "techno," and they both seem somewhat out of place on this album) and retooling electronic dance music for the non-technophile.
The first half of the album gives you seven or eight truly distinctive pop songs with funky beats, various arrangements, and an uncommon spirituality not found in most current music. Oh yeah, and it has samples, too - not just your typical James Brown or P-Funk samples but long-forgotten snippets of blues, gospel, spirituals, field hollers, and the like. It's really an amazing progression of songs that contains more propulsive numbers like "Honey" and "Bodyrock" alongside bluesy mid-tempo tracks like "Find My Baby" and "Natural Blues," and elegant Europop like "Porcelain" and "South Side." The second half begins to meander a bit with a dive into ambient territory, but it stills seems to fit into the format established in the first half and offers a change of pace with its reflective instrumentals and spoken-word interludes. Highlights include "Everloving," "Inside," and "My Weakness." It also includes a quirky number called "Run On" that oddly juxtaposes an entire song from that bygone era with modern elements, and strangely it works! Solid from start to finish, *Play* leaves a deep impression and sustains the listener for quite some time. Deep and uplifting, the album will appeal to a broad spectrum of music lovers. It has a balance to it that gives it a commercial quality but also challenges the listener at the same time.
This album is a minor milestone in modern music, and imitators are sure to follow. Hopefully, we can expect more such innovation from Moby.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My oh my our little Moby has grown up!,
With inventive sampling from the "Sounds of the South" box set - synthesizing the melodic soulfulness of early southern call and response chant/wail/songs, with his signature breakbeats, guitar fills and D E E P bass - Moby has created one of the most haunting, powerful and head-nodding forays into electronic music ever. This is not to say that the variety ends there - Mersey style atmospheric songs like the barn-burner "South Side", or the soft, gorgeous lull of "The Sky is Broken" - show Moby to be a great arranger and composer as well as DJ, and make PLAY one of the most enjoyable, lasting disks ever. Body Rock Y'all!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible And Beautiful Life-Affirming Music,
Five years ago I was obsessed with Britney Spears and not much else. I don't like her as much as I used to, because I'm older, but I also remembering loving Moby at the same time. I find this quite strange because I was listening to, essentially, teeny-bopper music and also the amazing music of Moby. Ever since I heard the singles from "Play" in early 2000 I knew I had to have a copy of this album. I planned on buying it but never got around to doing so. I saw it on sale last week in a record store and bought it straight away. I had sort of forgotten about the songs from this album, but once I took a listen they all came back to me.
I also remember around five years ago I was in school talking to my form tutor and she told me I had to have a copy of this album. She was a really great woman and meant a lot to me through a tough time in my early teens, so I was reminded of how good a soul she was when I listened to this album again. Even thought this album was released in January 1999, it took a full year to make even the slightest dint in the UK album chart. Once it started climbing, though, nothing could stop it. This album was absolutely huge over here and spent 6 weeks at No.1, selling over 2 million copies. The fact that every song on the album has been licensed and used in advertisements or TV shows makes this a familiar sound, so there shouldn't be too many shocks when you hear this for the first time.
I have been very interested in the blues samples that Moby has incorporated into many of these songs. I think the sampling of these soulful vocals is not only haunting but very eerie when juxtaposed with the ambient, modern electronica. There's a sense of old versus new on a lot of these songs, but they are both tied up by an incredible sense of loneliness; the music is sparse and diverse, epic and daunting, while the arrangements remain rather simple and chilled.
The album opens with the strange "Honey." This samples the blues vocals of Bessie Jones and is a very funky opener. You can't really understand what she's singing, but this adds to the mystery. The instruments are quite heavy and make for a foot-stomping intro. "Find My Baby" is a superb song which samples Boy Blue's 'Joe Lee's Rock'. This is quite a repetitive song because the same line of "I'm gonna find my baby! WOO! Before the sun goes down!" is repeated over and over. It's insanely catchy and stands out a mile because the vocal is just so strong. The guitar is very funky too and the addition of more electronica is very surreal. "Porcelain" is probably the most popular song off this album and peaked at No.5 in the UK. The strange intro soon makes way for a beautiful piano solo and some altered vocals by Moby. This song is so pure and natural, it's like a flower opening for the first time in reaction to the sun. Very delicate and fragile yet powerful and moving. "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" is a very sad and sombre song that tells the tale of a man who feels so low because he is alone. Everybody in the world can relate to this song; even when you're surrounded by people you can feel completely alone. The vocals are very emotional and the soundscapes that undulate in the background are so poignant. The sharp female vocal-yelp in the background tops off a classic song.
"Southside" is another incredible song is probably the most commercial song on the whole record. The guitars are quite heavy on this song and work a treat against Moby's voice in the chorus. I love the idea of travelling through a sort of underworld with your friends. The way the vocals rise and fall also makes for quite an anthemic song. "Rushing" is not on a par with the previous five songs but it's still a great track. The female vocals on this song are incredibly relaxing, accentuated more by the piano in the background. "Bodyrock" was used in the credits to Veronica's Closet, and is a great dance track with some funky lyrics. This song has a very urban, underground feel to it that is of course repetitive but very addictive. "Natural Blues" was the first Moby song I think I ever heard. I was in absolute awe at the video starring Christina Ricci, which shows the idea of death and old age. It's incredibly moving and very emotional. The vocals are very strong here, and this song is a classic that everyone has heard. "Machete" is the most upbeat, hardcore song on the album. The beat is heavy and races like blood through the veins. It really gets your adrenaline pumping!
"7" is seen by many as a pointless interlude, but I really like it. It breaks the album up a bit and has a very eerie quality to it. "Run On" is totally not what I expected from this album, because it's just incredibly strange. The song opens with an up-tempo piano solo and strange blues vocals are soon added. It's very traditional of the area it's from in terms of lyrical content and especially the deep harmonising in the background. "Down Slow" is another short interlude and yet again I love it. This is followed by the beautiful "If Things Were Perfect." This song is very sparse and alienated with the odd lyrics "Give me summer!" being echoed across the electronic baseline. The record-scratching is also very chilling and calming. "Everloving" opens with a soft guitar and some deep humming. This song definitely tries to get across a message of peace, tranquility, and most of all, love. The song begins to open after around a minute with this high pitched tone that rises and rises like the sun in the sky. Definitely one of the most beautiful songs on the album. "Inside" is another excellent song that opens with a deep throb that continues on throughout the length of the song. This song is so beautiful and sensual because the beat that rides on the back of this throb is so perfectly aligned. The two dance this unique dance for almost five minutes as a piano joins in at the end to close things.
"Guitar Flute And String" is probably my least favourite song on the album. It's still quite interesting though, and the flute brings out thoughts and feelings of loneliness inside you that you never knew existed. "The Sky Is Broken" is a very dark and quite unnerving song. The beat is sparse and very direct, as it echoes around your ears and back. Moby's voice is very content and relaxed, almost dead. The piano that creeps in during the chorus is very atmospheric, as are the ambient strings that come in later on. The album closes with the amazing "My Weakness." This song almost makes me cry, it is so beautiful. I haven't cried to it yet, but I just know it's going to be one of those songs that I will cry to at some point in the future. This song was also used in Season 7 of The X-Files, and with good reason. This is like the sound of a celestial choir descending from the Heavens, giving us a brief glimpse of the beauty contained within. The reason I feel this is because it's almost too beautiful to describe, like you've been trusted with a secret that you feel honoured to be a part of.
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
There's a total of 18 songs on this album, and at first you might think you'll have trouble getting through every song. This is totally not true. The music on this album seems to all bleed into one, yet many of the songs are different in style. For example, compare Find My Baby to My Weakness, and they are world's apart! I'm glad I took the advice of my form tutor from five years ago because this album will be with me for life. Eminem is SO wrong when he says nobody listens to techno. Arrogant little fool. Moby is a true genius, and so what if he's a bit of a simpleton? He makes awesome music and that's all that matters. Play is essential in any true music lover's collection.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dissed Classic,
By A Customer
Every once in a while, a classic album comes out that nobody really screams about. The hype is low, everyone who loves the album considers it their personal treasure, and then a year later it wins tons of awards and the mainstream public scratches its collective head in confusion and says "who's THAT?"
The most recent example I can think of is Radiohead's "OK Computer." I think that clearly, Moby's "Play" should be added to this list of sleeper masterpieces.
After his last album, the dismal "Animal Rights," Moby strikes back with a beautiful, schizophrenic, emotional album. The grabber for those hearing "Play" for the first time is the sampled re-workings of old blues vocal recordings. This is a little gimmicky, but after repeated listenings, the truth of the idea comes to the surface and transcends mere novelty.
The beautiful "Porcelain" is sad, mellow French pop. The funky "Run On" is a study in worship of African American spiritual music. Sprinkled throughout the album are dozens of other musical influences, from rap to hip-hop to rock. No matter what style he's playing with, though, he manages to layer on to it a film of calm and emotion. There's definitely a through-line connecting the wildly varying styles of each song.
This is one of the most accessible, playable, thoroughly enjoyable albums I've heard in a long time. Heck, I'm sending my mother a copy.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blending of Grooves and Beats by the Best DJ around,
I've been a longtime MOBY fan, and I was the first kid on my block to purchase PLAY when it debuted in `99. Let me start off to say that if I could pick one CD to loop continuously through my brain, play would be it. There's a different rhythm and groove to this album than any other-I was slightly taken back by the debut of ANIMAL RIGHTS a few years ago-and I wasn't expecting anything groundbreaking. As an electronica (trance, specifically) and classical music fan (nice ecclectic mix, huh?), I found PLAY to satisfy both of my musical needs. Play is the type of album that is timeless, one that you will hear and wonder how you could ever live without it...and the tunes never grow old or tired. And it provides a hope that despite in this age of homogenius music that there are still promising new sounds.
Most Helpful First | Newest First