Go: The Very Best of Moby
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2006, Volume 13, #12
Written by John Metzger
Moby has been releasing material for the dance club crowd since the early part of the ’90s, but it was the surprise success of his 1999 outing Play that thrust him into the mainstream. Using Alan Lomax’s field recordings as his inspiration, he concocted a superlative song cycle that made his electronica-textured grooves feel spiritual, soulful, and wholly accessible, though he then proceeded to dilute the potency of his gem by selling every track on it to the advertising industry. Regardless, Play remains his lone crowning achievement, and it, along with the subsequently issued 18 and Hotel, suitably serves as the justification for (as well as the basis of) his first-ever retrospective set Go: The Very Best of Moby. Scattered throughout the collection are hints of his pre-Play past, but oddly enough, only the rippling, shimmering reflectivity of God Moving Over the Face of the Waters is plucked directly from one of his early endeavors (Everything Is Wrong). Of the other two oldies, Feeling So Real inexplicably is included as a concert cut, and the minor hit Go from his self-titled debut is given a sonic refurbishing by Anders Trentemoller.
Aside from an innocuously forgettable collaboration with Blondie’s Debbie Harry on New York, New York, the rest of Go: The Very Best of Moby is culled from Moby’s three most recent efforts. Undeniably, both 18 and Hotel retained a similar sense of melodic charm — the lightweight but amiable pop of We Are All Made of Stars as well as the ethereally fanciful flights of Dream about Me, for example, are ridiculously infectious — but woefully missing from both outings was the organic essence that had made Play so captivating. In other words, most of the selections on Go: The Very Best of Moby pale in comparison with the utter brilliance of Natural Blues, Porcelain, and Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?, and the 11 pulsating remixes that compose the bonus disc are nothing more than mere curiosities that are designed to entice the diehard, club-going fans into purchasing the set. In the end, Play is looking more and more like a fluke, and Go: The Very Best of Moby does nothing to dissuade that notion.
Go: The Very Best of Moby is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box