By 2008, it’s fair to say that Moby had re-entered the underground. His 2005 album Hotel had sold well and had advanced his sound rather more than 2002’s 18, but it also saw the last of his singles, so for his eighth album, he returned very much to the dance sound where he began.
He also embraced some very retro sounds – opening track and final single Ooh Yeah is a brilliantly 1980s-themed piece, which wouldn’t have sounded entirely out of place way back at the start of Moby‘s career. Then the penultimate single I Like to Move in Here is built around an early 1990s piano riff with a gloriously dirty vocal sample that includes crowd noises and other source sounds. This is Moby finally throwing off the shackles of Play by returning to his roots and showing us just how great they were.
257.zero is next, more of an instrumental piece apart from the whimsical vocal samples, and then we get the unashamedly rave Everyday It’s 1989. A couple of decades late, it may not all be entirely brilliant, but at least it’s all fun.
The mellower Moby wasn’t entirely on hold, though – Live for Tomorrow may have a huge pulsating arpeggio driving it forwards, but it could have easily fitted on Play or 18. It’s a lovely track though, particularly when it really wakes up for the middle section.
Moby has always drifted between a few different styles of music, but hip hop rarely seemed to reach the forefront until Alice, released as a single just before the album came out ten years ago. The good thing with this is that it helps give this album a varied sound, but that could also come at the price of alienating the sort of people who normally buy his music, and I suspect that might have happened here. Alice isn’t too great, bluntly. Who the f*** is Alice, anyway?
In general, actually, I suspect I liked this album a lot more a decade ago than I do now – Hyenas isn’t really anything special either. I’m in Love is a lot better, with a great vocal and some brilliant percussion. Then comes the lead single Disco Lies, which isn’t entirely brilliant either, although the chorus holds it together nicely.
Broadly, though, by this stage in the album, we’re definitely back to things that I remember liking a lot more before now – The Stars isn’t great, and Degenerates is pleasant but dull, so Sweet Apocalypse and Mothers of the Night offer a slight lift, but nothing astonishing.
Things do appear to be improving towards the end though – closing track Last Night is very sweet, and its hidden bonus track (apparently entitled Lucy Vida) is a pleasant way to drift away from this album.
But some releases age better than others, and I’m sorry to report that Last Night doesn’t quite seem to have the power in 2018 than it had a decade ago. Moby definitely still had it, but maybe not quite as much of it as he used to have.
You can still find Last Night at all major retailers.