Moby – Play: #789 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Moby - Play

Why is Moby’s Play on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

It’s the ambient techno stuff, the delicate downtempo stuff, the use of strings and subtle vocals with electronic backbeats.

Some stats & info about Moby – Play  

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Electronic Music, Ambient Music, Ambient Techno, Downtempo, Martini Lounge
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Play released? 1999
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #789 out of 1,000

Moby’s Play on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

What does Moby’s Play mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

I’m not really immersed with where Moby sits in perspective to the popular culture these days. It kind of seems like he’s out of favor, generally (maybe?). I know that Eminem disses him on a track some (read = many) years back now, though I’m not sure how that factors in, honestly.

Which is all a rambly preamble to state that I was that I was able to approach Play with fresh ears and an open mind. And it turns out that it’s really strong overall, with a few really high highlights.

I’m not much of a fan of Moby’s blues and gospel-y stuff meshed with electronica, as on “Honey” and “Find My Baby.” It’s the ambient techno stuff, the delicate downtempo stuff, the use of strings and subtle vocals with electronic backbeats, its lush yet precise production, that make Play a special album.

“Porcelain,” the breakout hit on Play, represents this Moby mode the best. The pretty, simple, melancholy piano line is simply great. And Moby’s quiet, almost hesitant vocals make it a really unique, beautiful song.

“Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” has similar qualities, but is slightly more upbeat and EDM, and its chorus is striking and emotional.

“Bodyrock” is a more aggressive techno song, but not overly aggressive, especially when compared to the likes of a Chemical Brothers. It’s smooth and groovy versus edgy and harsh. I don’t think it’s at all an indictment to say that it’s an upbeat dance tune that you can throw on for your kids, and the parents would generally enjoy it as well.