Moby/18


18

18 is a 2002 album by electronic artist Moby. Critical response to this album was positive to mixed, with many critics feeling it was too much of a retread of his previous releases and lacked inspiration. The most successful song on the album was the single “We Are All Made of Stars”, which reached #11 on the UK charts. The album features guest appearances by Azure Ray, MC Lyte, Angie Stone, and Sinéad O’Connor. A collection of the album’s B-sides and video footage was later released a year after the album on 18 B Sides + DVD.

The album debuted at #1 in the UK (beating Queen‘s The Platinum Collection out of the top spot) and many other European countries. It also peaked at #4 in the Billboard 200. 18 earned gold and platinum awards in over 30 countries, and sold more than four million copies worldwide, which was a respectable number for an electronica album, even when its sales figure didn’t even reach the half of amounts sold by Play.

We Are All Made Of Stars—-Despite the critical response. this lead off single sounded fresh and new to me and remains a piece of musical history that I visit time and time again. The bass synths and the delivery is like nothing on the Play release…this is heartfelt and new to me. The vocal, from Moby himself is accessible and the song is pretty damn contagious. the dance floor riffs are subtle…this does not play well in a club, but as an after hours track, this is huge. This, for me. remains fantastic!

In This World—-As a New York resident, and this being his first release since 9/11, the shock and distress of this event is all over this record. You catch references in the lyrics and the music. this had a huge impact on this village resident and it is obvious on this release. This has a remarkable sample of a blues vocalist that is layered with classic moby ambient sounds…yes, this would have fit perfectly on Play, but considering the events of the past year, at the time this fit rather majestically on this release as well. When the swirling and beautiful synth line hits, you are damn near brought to tears!!!

In My Heart—-Piano heavy, this has the Moby stamp all over it…the vocal is masterful…dense and full of emotions. The deep bass beat makes this dance floor ready for those dark after hours nights. As the song opens up, it takes on an almost  orchestrated feel. This is fantastic and what i really expected from this techno God….curse the critics!!!

Great Escape—- This is full of emotive vocals and synth sounds that moby has created to resemble a full orchestra sitting in his living room. The voice set next to the pseudo violin will bring tears to your eyes…this is layered, beautiful and full of haunting words that will stick with you for days after you revisit this CD. This is timely and has the aftermath of someone who experienced 911 close up stamped all over it. Never forget this history!!!

Signs Of Love—-With Moby supplying the spoken word intro and the following vocal, this song has a slow swelling instrumental that makes your heart lonely. this is remarkably beautiful…the gentle swirls overtake your soul and remarkably bring tears to my eyes based on the beauty of the song alone. The lyrics remind me of my very own life…as I fly so high and sink so low…this is wonderfully autobiographical.

One Of These Mornings—-Again, this is full of deep synths that speak of sadness and melancholy…yes, perhaps there are samples….but to compare this to Play is out of context. the deep bass riffs that parlay the songs to CD are masterful…the swirls of synths take you to a higher place and you are left with feelings on longing and the urge to make your life a better entity. This is wonderful!!!

Another Woman—-This has almost funk overtones to it…giving you a whole different side of Moby….the deep bass is almost hypnotic as the sample is backed up and played and backed up and played over and over again…giving the song a nice shuffling sound that sucks you into the blues delivery of the vocal…this is fantastic!!!

Fireworks—-Beautifully orchestrated and layered with nice cymbals and gentle strains of techno inspired atmosphere, the song is wonderfully designed….delivered wit a sense of sadness and layers of melancholy…full of rays of sun through the New york ash that fell across the city…of survival and determination, the 9/11 apocalypse is all over this song!!!

Extreme Ways—-Moby supplies his unique vocal to this track…giving it an almost ghostly sound that fits in perfectly with the constant repetitive beat that plays in the backdrop. when Moby sings….”Oh baby…It Fell Apart, Like It Always Does….”, you feel this sentiment and it overtakes you. This is excellent.

Jam For The Ladies—-Moby delivers the old school samples with the assistance of MC Lyte and Angie Stone…this is funky and fun…a nice light moment on a release that is relatively dark and heavy. This is fun and a nice reminder of where moby really came from…the heavy sampled days of yester year. This is just about perfect.

Sunday [The Day Before My Birthday]—-Ironically enough, Sept. 11 is also Moby’s Birthday…..this song is a nice foreshadow of the disaster that was to come on what should have been a pretty wonderful day for this artist. The lyrics are heartfelt and at times wrenching. this is extraordinary….

18—-This is ambient Moby at his best….the piano deliver y is heavy and full of melacholy…the riffs seem layered in the after glow of discovering how close your life was to an end…the rays of synth shine through the dark like tiny shining seconds of hope and the promise to live as you should. The feelings that the music project are a lesson all of their own..let the detractors say what they will…this man touches my soul, my emotion and my heart….making me WANT to be a better person.

Sleep Alone—-This has an almost techno Jazz feel that sucks you in right from the start. the vocal..supplied again my Moby and some nice vocoder recording is alarmingly appropriate. This is masterful…intense, dark and desolate…yet this shines with a remarkable clarity that you will turn to over and over again. Beautiful!!!

At Least We Tried—-This is remarkable…the vocal is so bad that it becomes actually good. the strained voice sucks you in and wraps you in a blanket of emotion that is so familiar that it actually hurts your heart. this is beautifully written, masterfully delivered and really a piece of beautiful music. Don’t miss this!!!

Harbour—-Without a doubt, my favorite track from this release. This has a nice vocal from Sinead O’Connor that will rip your heart out. It is hard to believe that this whole thing was recorded on different continents…none the less the end result is perhaps the mist powerful song on this release…leading you to sadness, desolation, joy and elation. Because Music Matters!!!!

Look Back In—-Swelling from the onset with beautiful synth riffs, the song is encompassing…takin your entire soul into the ocean of sweet and relaxed sounds. This is magnificent ambient music that allows you to lose yourself totally in the sweet and seductive keyboard creations that Moby manufactures. this is a world of deep blue oceans, sweet world peace and a serene promise of the future…..if only!

Rafters—-Full of classic Moby synth riffs that hearken back to the earlier days, the bluesy female vocal allows you to daydream your way through the track and lose yourself in the dark dense clubs that you first experienced the mastery of the man. This is remarkable..it is beautiful, slightly monotounous..but remarkably fresh and exciting.

I’m Not Worried At All—-Heavy on samples. this is so bluesy that you feel as if you stepped right into a New Orleans club in the middle of a midnight jam session during Mardi Gras. This is wonderfully executed…the synth lines fir the vocal perfectly..creating a huge mural of sound and emotion..I could not think of a better way to end this release….Magnificent!!!!

****1/2 out of 5

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