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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Moby website  Moby - 18 [V2 - 2002]

How do you rate an album that sounds exactly the same as its predecessor? Or more important, how do you review an album that sounds exactly the same as its predecessor? Because that is the case with Moby's "18", or rather "Re-Play".

As once can read in my review of "Play", I was very impressed by Moby's previous output. And I was surely not the only one. The album, made for $250,000, sold more than 10 million copies and is probably the most licensed CD ever. There wasn't a single commercial with no Moby present, so to say. But Moby has always been constantly changing towards surprising directions, from trash metal ("Animal Rights") to house, ambient (under his pseudonym Voodoo Child), techno, etc. Unexpectedly, Moby doesn't change style this time. He has stayed with the formula of "Play", sampling rare field recordings of unknown blues and gospel artists; the Oh Lord's and Ooohhh's are again very present.

The new album is named after the amount of tracks on the disc, but it is mainly inspired by the happenings on the 11th of September 2001. I was wondering, since the album has been three years in the making, what has Richard Melville Hall done during the remaining two years? Probably enjoying the commercial success of "Play", because most tracks sound like leftovers from that period. The strings and drum computers seem to be directly copied, but only once, because they are repeated during every damn track. There are only some new samples from the same sources, with the most silly and insignificant lyrics ever.

Of course Moby tries to pick up the hit potential of the rocking single "South Side" from the previous album. The result is the awful David Bowie-esque "We Are All Made Of Stars", the albums first single. Vocals were not always made for Moby, but the money must have raised his confidence in his singing talent I guess, since this track is way too full of it. The tracks where Moby doesn't follow the "Play" blueprint are the most interesting, like in "Jam For The Ladies" featuring rapper MC Lyte and Angie Stone. "Great Escape" is more indie rock, while Sinead O'Connor appears on "Harbour". But it is all very uninspired and it feels like the album has been put together in the last minutes before its release. Even the normally always interesting liner notes are unimaginative this time.

Maybe this is just Moby's way of doing the unexpected; nobody could foresee him doing the same thing twice. But I doubt it tough. The smell of commerce is hanging around this disc, and I suspect Moby has chosen the easy way. Very below par, indeed.

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Justin Faase
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