Moby - Hotel

Remember when ‘Play' came out? Electronic music had been around for a while at that stage, but that album caught electronica skulking around the back alley of indie, scruffed it by the collar and threw it over the fence into the mainstream music market. It seemed to stick around for ever. It was like those big variety packs of biscuits you get at the supermarket, truly something for everyone.


So two years later Moby tried, basically, to release ‘Play' again in the guise of ‘18'. Everyone bought it, but no one really liked it. I know when I took 18 home I thought "yeah, it's good, but haven't I already got this album? I can see where you're going with this Moby, but here's five bucks to bugger off". After a lukewarm reception to 18, the release of Hotel hardly caused a blip on anyone's radar, and BMG seemed loathe to promote it as much as they did Moby's previous two albums for fear of people charging in demanding their money back for being duped into buying a product they already had. Twice.


So here we are, 3 years on, presented with another offering from the little bald vegan, which raises an interesting question: who buys Moby albums now? He's not really electronic anymore, as the lead track ‘lift me up' proves, so any duff-heads who enjoyed his earlier stuff may be warned off by this song. He's given up the gospel/blues sound that was prominent and worked so well on play and the only redeeming feature of 18 and has sort of just settled into an in between nothingness.


The first thing you notice about hotel is the fact that Moby has decided to move away from either sampling lyrics or having guest vocalists sing on his tracks and taken up the duty himself. Unfortunately, this just goes on to prove why he got into DJing in the first place. It's not that he can't sing, it's just that he doesn't.


One case that springs to mind is the track ‘dream about me' where he duets with Laura Brown. She has a good set of pipes, no doubt, but while she sings Moby sorta just sits in the background speaking the lyrics which detracts from the quality of her vocals and in general makes a track that should be good little more than mundane. I can understand if people like his repetitive, soothing sounding voice, but you know how you can cut yourself and it doesn't hurt until you notice it? Well, that's what it's like for me. As soon as I thought ‘oh, he's not really singing is he?' BANG! Could not hear anything else.


And not to get repetitive myself but I think the problem with this album is that the man, cute and endearing though he is, probably only had 1 good album in him and we've heard it. And not only that, we've heard it now three times.


That said, Hotel isn't difficult to listen to. The tracks are all suitably ambient and air-y sounding. There are one or two songs were the old Moby ALMOST comes to the surface but because he doesn't quite get there, instead of enjoying those tracks you sort of resent them. Like believing in superman, and then seeing him attaching wires to his belt before ‘leaping' over a building.


Dissapointing is not the right word here, but it's the feel that I'm going for. You all know that Moby can do better than this, you just wish he would. Listening to this is like listening to and artist who doesn't really care anymore, and is simply coasting along on past success. Hotel is a title that couldn't be more apt. It's just a shame that one of the greats chose to make a CD of blatant background music.


All said and done, Hotel is an album that you all be hearing over the next few months. It's just a shame that you'll be hearing it at the hairdressers, at the bar, in the cafés, in elevators, etc etc…

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