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Moby, "Wait for Me" (Mute) [3.5 STARS]

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Moby wait for me cover

Sometimes, phenomenal pop success can leave an artist crippled with creative paralysis, striving in vain to match or top that commercial peak; witness Michael Jackson after "Thriller." Moby's sixth studio album wasn't quite at that level--"Play" (1999) sold a mere 10 million copies worldwide--and the three discs he released afterwards were nowhere near the spectacular failures of "HIStory" or "Invincible." But the electronic musician once dubbed "the face of techno" has struggled nonetheless for the last decade, over-emphasizing his weaknesses (primarily his monotone singing) at the expense of his strengths (gorgeous, melancholy instrumentals adorned with perfectly chosen samples).

A newly independent Moby reconnected with his roots on the dance floor and the spark of his 1992 breakthrough "Go" on his last release, "Last Night" (2008), and now, with the new "Wait for Me," he's finally made another album that recaptures the unique emotions of "Play," if not the then-startling invention. This is to say that as the languid, echoing, strings- and piano-laden tracks of his newest leisurely unfold in the Sunday-morning chill-out vibe after a sweaty night of ecstasy, he doesn't reveal any new tricks as a songwriter or a producer. But nobody does this sound better.

Moby has credited a chat with director David Lynch, who helmed the video for the new single "Shot in the Back of the Head," with the inspiration here, which is fitting, since the signature sample in "Go" came from Angelo Badalamenti's "Laura Palmer's Theme." Moby himself only sings on only one song, otherwise recruiting female vocalists--Leela James, who's heard on the title track, is one of the best, as well as the biggest name--staying strictly instrumental, or relying on evocative samples (my favorite is the soulful, bluesy chant of "The battle will be over"") that hint at hidden mysteries to keep us pondering and listening again and again.

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5 Comments

Right on target Jim. Moby's is vintage form when he composes musical soundscapes that are equally celestial and melancholic. "Wait For Me" is exemplary. The Bald vegan returns in triumph !

Astute and exemplary review. The bold vegan composed equally celestial and melancholic soundscapes to make "Wait For Me" a vintage CD.

Love the new Moby album. The song JLTF is particulary beautiful and haunting.
But Michael Jackson had two straight commercial successes after Thriller -- Bad and Dangerous. Actually HIStory also did remarkably well worldwide. Hardly spectacular failures.

I didn´t hear yet the new album but i can imagine this instrumentals way and which form the samples take. With your critics and Moby´s musical heritage i know we all will be love this album. Thanks Jim.

I don't feel that Moby's music was struggling n the last decade. I love all of his musical works. I love how he changes his jenre' style and experiments with different sounds. 'Play' was my top favorite Moby album until I heard 'Wait for Me'. 'Wait for Me' is even more emotional and moving. It brings tears to my eyes and I love how Mo included orchestral strings into the songs. Tis a very haunting and beautiful album! I Love Moby Richard Melville Hall, sighs.xo

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on June 30, 2009 12:03 PM.

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