Moby is somehow able to churn out album after album without ever really dropping the quality. Since entering the world of music via Instinct Records in 1989, he never really seems to have stopped. After the surprise hit Go in 1992, his early 12″ singles were compiled together, often without his permission, onto four or five albums. His first proper release Everything is Wrong finally came out in 1995, followed by the metal-inspired Animal Rights (1996), the multi-million selling megahit Play (1999), 18 (2002), Hotel (2005), Last Night (2008), Wait for Me (2009), and most recently Destroyed (2011).
Generally consistently, excellent album has excellent album for nearly two decades now. Some are better than others, but a pattern soon emerges. For every track which is less strong, there is at least one which captures your heart with a new level of beauty. In the case of this album, when the fourth track The Low Hum turns up, I would defy anybody not to sing along to what is one of Moby‘s finest songs to date.
The first single from Destroyed was Be the One, a gentle vocoder-driven track, which in sound should be very familiar to anybody who likes Moby. Subsequent singles The Day, Lie Down in Darkness, The Right Thing, After and The Poison Tree were largely (with one exception) unremarkable minor hits, but in many cases had the fun novelty of having been chosen by votes from fans.
The exception is of course The Right Thing, which is another of the best songs he’s ever recorded. There are often moments with songs where you can feel something is different just from the first few notes of the introduction, and this is definitely one – the pad chords just seem to flow perfectly. Finally, Inyang Bassey‘s breathtaking vocal turns up, and it’s easy to wonder how you could ever doubt this album – certainly this one song is absolutely beautiful.
Other highlights include Victoria Lucas, named after the nom de plume used by Sylvia Plath. Definitely another of the stronger tracks, it’s a sweet instrumental full of chirping synth sounds and deep pads.
Destroyed does have its low points – in fact, by Moby‘s standards it is a little patchy actually. The first track The Broken Places might have been better saved for one of his more ambient projects. Rockets, recycled from a free newspaper CD several years ago, was perhaps not so exciting that it needed to be resurrected for this project. Stella Maris, coming as it does straight after The Right Thing is anticlimactic in the extreme, and even though it means “star of the sea” I can’t really help myself associating the title with potatoes and beer.
But on the whole, Destroyed is an above-average album, even if by his own standards that makes it less exciting than it might otherwise be. And since he’s churning out an album every year or two at the moment, he’ll be back with something else before we realise he’s gone.