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Gene Blue Tyranny ~ 18
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 MassaSee all Editorial Reviews
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The first hit, "We Are Made Of Stars" is very close to Bowie's "Heroes" with the guitar work and the repititious vocal arrangements (Bowie and Moby are buddies). "In This World" is close to "Play"'s, "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad" with superb vocals by guest Jennifer Price who seems to be singing through the spirit of Janis Joplin. Shauna and Lorraine Phillips check in with their sound bytes on "Rafters", both continuing Moby's white soulfulness.
"One Of These Mornings" brings on another great soul-filled, multi-layered song with Dianne McCaulley on vocals - a nice mood piece. For those still in need of a Moby instrumental ambient piece, there's the short "Fireworks" and the somber Vangelis-like title track "18". Need a little rap? Try "Jam For The Ladies". Looking for Motown? Moby covers that as well with "Sunday (The Day Before My Birthday)" with Sylvia Robinson bringing in a Billie Holiday sound-alike.
The entire album benefits from all the guest vocalists who seem to understand Moby's direction, but then, he uses most of their talent in precorded snippets - and that's fine.
"Im Not Worried At All" finishes off the album with a great Gospel rendition by The Shining Light Gospel Choir.
Moby has managed to match his previous work with another collection of satifying works. This is a album worth repeated listenings.
And this, no one does it better than the low-profile celebrity himself, Moby. It is exactly his refusal to think himself a celebrity that lends to his credibility as a talented musician. The opening track, We Are All Made Of Stars, shines as a track that leans towards rock and perhaps, earlier efforts from Moby. Jam For the ladies featuring MC Lyte and the soulful Angie Stone, shouts out loud as a funky hip-hop track. Most of the album unravels itself in the midst of much soulfulness. This is evident on tracks sucha s Sunday, At Least We Tried, In This Heart and Sleep Alone. Another fruitful collaboration that is such a match made in heaven is with Sinead O Connor on the haunting Harbor/
I know many choose to live in the world of Play but step out of it, take a listen and discover the very gems unfold in front of you on 18. 18 will be truly one of the best things you'll need for a while.........this is true SOUL music with funk!