Music / Moby

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Moby_1701.jpg
"I grew up playing classical music, but I've always loved electronic music, because it always to me sounds like the future."

Richard Melville Hall (born September 11, 1965), better known as Moby, is an Electronic Music artist known mostly for his touching orchestrations and for heavily popularizing the idea of taking a blues, folk or roots song and building a dance song around it. His body of work is strikingly diverse), leading Moby to be of the most respected artists in his field.

He got his start out in the late 80s and early 90s playing in small clubs. He released his debut effort, a Self-Titled Album of rave music, in 1992, and followed it up with 1993's Ambient, a work of ambient techno akin to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 85-92 record. Besides the song "Go", which served as his first hit, and the song "Thousand", which holds a Guinness World Record for fastest BPM (take a guess), his first two releases only saw success from the rave crowds. His third album, 1995's genre-crushing Everything Is Wrong, saw his first taste of critical acclaim.

Then, in 1997, due to frustration from the masses not understanding his electronic music, he attempted a Genre Shift that did not work in his favor. The album, titled Animal Rights, was a Punk Rock / Alternative Metal album that paid homage to the rock bands he played in during the 1980s. Critics laughed at his frail-sounding vocals and semi-pretentious lyrics, coupled by overly long songs and repetitive riffs. The album sold so poorly that it sent Moby into a depressive stupor, drinking heavily every night in a desperate attempt to construct better songs. (In the album's defense, it has been getting warmer reception over the years, and at the time of its release reportedly garnered praise from Terence Trent D'arby, Axl Rose, and Bono.)

Ironically, Moby's vindication was not far behind. In 1999, Moby released Play, which was based around the then-novel idea of taking field recordings of blues, folk and roots songs and fashioning them into breakbeat and downtempo songs, like contemporaries DJ Shadow and Thievery Corporation. Play is also known for being the first (and to this day, probably only) album to license all of its songs out for television, film and commercial usenote ; as the album was a dud on the charts on arrival (thanks to the lackluster response to Animal Rights), the licensing of Play built up its steam and became one of the best selling albums of 2000, with a full eight singles, promoting Moby to rockstar status.

Moby's followup, 2002's 18, is the beginning of the second phase of his career. Eschewing the genre-defiant eclecticism of his previous body of work, Moby began focusing almost entirely on making downtempo/chillout music based around samples of existing guitar-based recordings. While 18 was a retread of Play, other albums saw experimentation with guitars and pop songcraft (Hotel), dance music (Last Night) and ambient music (Long Ambients 1.) Though retaining a solid fanbase, Moby's audience and critical appeal has dwindled largely as a result to sticking to this formula for nearly two decades.

In 2016, Moby briefly direction again with a pair of energetic electronic rock albums, These Systems are Failing and More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse, largely informed by the declining cultural and political landscape of the United States of America that is still ongoing. The albums were surprisingly well-received - two decades after Animal Rights, Moby finally got some decent reviews for dabbling in rock music. Nowadays, Moby is more of a cult figure than the major player he once was, but his legacy as an innovator in electronic music has largely given him his Protection from Editors status.

Discography:

  • Moby (1992)
  • Early Underground (1993) - compilation of early singles
  • Ambient (1993)
  • Move - The E.P. (1993)
  • Everything Is Wrong (1995) - came with limited edition bonus album, Underwater
  • Animal Rights (1996) - came with limited edition bonus album, Little Idiot
    • Little Idiot (1996) - limited-edition bonus disc of ambient music
  • I Like to Score (1997) - compilation of music Moby has made for films
  • Play (1999)
  • MobySongs 1993-1998 (2000) - Greatest Hits Album of music from Moby's early career
  • 18 (2002)
  • Hotel (2005) - came with limited edition bonus album, Hotel : Ambient
  • Go - The Very Best of Moby (2006) - updated Greatest Hits Album; contains one disc of hit songs and a second disc of remixes of "Go"
  • Last Night (2008)
  • wait for me. (2009) - came with limited edition bonus album, wait for me. ambient
  • destroyed. (2011)
  • Innocents (2013)
  • Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep. (2016)
  • These Systems are Failing (2016) - Moby & the Void Pacific Choir
  • More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse (2017) - Moby & the Void Pacific Choir
  • Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt - (2018)


GO!!!

  • As the Good Book Says...: The title of "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters" was inspired by Genesis 1:2.
    "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
  • After the End: "South Side"
  • Album Filler: Though most people think otherwise, some of his tracks were literally just thrown in there for nothing more than padding. (Though he has stated that he's written hundreds more songs than have appeared on his albums, but he scraps the ones that aren't any good, so it could be worse.)
  • Ambient: A surprisingly underrated staple of Moby's discography. His fluency in the genre can be traced back to his debut album, and he has later based entire albums around it, from limited edition bonus discs Underwater and Little Idiot to the four-hour Long Ambients 1. His signature method of building atmosphere, combined with breakbeat rhythm programming, is essentially the Moby sound.
    • He even had an album entitled Ambient, which was ambient techno circa-1993, though this was released by his label without Moby's endorsement.
  • Audience Participation Song: "The Perfect Life"
  • B-Side: Countless. He's compiled some of his b-sides on a few occasions: Rare: The Collected B-Sides 1989–1993, Play: The B-Sides and 18: The B-Sides + DVD.note 
  • Bald of Awesome: Hard to believe that there was a time where he had hair.
  • Book Ends: His re-version of the James Bond theme starts and ends with "Bond. James Bond."
  • Bowdlerise: When "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" was released as the lead single from Animal Rights, he changed the titular phrase to "That's When I Realize It's Over" to appease MTV. He also changed the line "Its dead eyes look upon us" to "Instead they look upon us."
  • Concept Album:
    • Last Night is an attempt to condense a night out in New York City into an hour-long album, with nods to the city's rich history of dance music from the 1970s onward.
    • destroyed. is a soundtrack for walking around cities at 2:00 AM.
  • Cover Version: The aforementioned cover of Mission Of Burma's "That's When I Reach For My Revolver." Also, for the encore of his 2003 set at Glastonbury (which can be found on the bonus disc of 18: The B-Sides), he and his band do a cover of Radiohead's "Creep," of all songs.
  • Cut-and-Paste Translation: In Europe, Animal Rights was a fully realized hard rock/punk rock album with two ambient book ends, while a limited edition also include a bonus ambient album. The US release re-arranged the tracklist and replaced one rock song with five ambient/ambient techno songs (most taken from that bonus album), making it as uneven in genre as Everything Is Wrong was.
  • Darker and Edgier: Animal Rights, wherein he dropped his electronic music sound for a heavy and angry sound inspired by the Hardcore Punk and Metal records he enjoyed from his youth. These Systems are Failing and More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse also fall under this trope.
  • Distinct Double Album: Everything Is Wrong, Animal Rights and Hotel were all released with a limited edition bonus disc of ambient music in their first pressings. wait for me. would count, except the second disc is essentially the same album without the drums.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Everything Is Wrong ends with the horribly desolate "When It's Cold I'd Like To Die", which encompasses the feeling of purely giving up after struggling with emotional problems.
    • Play ends with the beautiful but saddening "My Weakness", which is centered around an unintelligible vocal sample but just bleeds emotion nonetheless, with angelic orchestrations sweeping over it all.
  • Dying Dream: Implied with "When It's Cold I Like To Die."
  • Epic Rocking: He loves this trope.
    • Many of the songs on Animal Rights span past 5 minutes. "Face It" clocks in at almost exactly 10 minutes.
    • Destroyed Remixed contains a 30-minute ambient song from Moby.
    • Long Ambients 1 has eleven tracks that all range from 20 to 30 minutes in length. The album as a whole is just over four hours long.
  • Genre Roulette: His discography is possibly one of the most eclectic out of a musician in the past few decades. He has ambient music, rock, electronica, techno, and trip hop all under his belt, and you better believe he experiments with these a lot on his albums.
  • Greatest Hits Album: He has two: Songs (1993-1998), which is designed for fans who climbed on board after Play became a success, and Go: The Very Best Of Moby, which focuses mostly on his wave of success in the early 2000s.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: The main purpose of "We Are All Made of Stars", which was written in New York after 9/11 deliberately for this effect.
  • Humble Hero: Considering how much of an icon he is in Electronic Music, Moby positions himself as (and is seen by his fans) as this.
  • I Am the Band: When on tour for Animal Rights, he pulled this image.
  • Iconic Song Request: "Extreme Ways", his most famous song, especially because it was used in The Bourne Series.
  • Loudness War: These Systems are Failing is a rare album that's compressed so heavily that it clocks in at DR3. DR6 tends to be the average for heavily compressed modern records.
  • Metal Scream: Animal Rights was jam packed with this.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most of his stuff ranges from a 2 to a 6, but he's done everything from a 1 to an 11.
  • Mood Whiplash: His early albums and compilations. Everything Is Wrong, for example, follows a euphoric rave song ("Bring Back My Happiness") with a seriously over-the-top Heavy Metal song ("What Love").
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Everything Is Wrong, again. Pretty much every song is in a different genre, from hardcore punk to rave to ambient techno to a contemporary classical piece that was used in the climactic scene of Heat.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Natural Blues"note , "Down Slow", "The Rafters", "Look Back In", "18", "My Weakness", "Machete", "Signs of Love", "Sleep Alone", "Fireworks", "Rushing", "7", "If Things Were Perfect", "Everloving", "Inside", "Guitar Flute & String", "Porcelain", and "Temptation" to name a few.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Novio."
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • Animal Rights saw an electronica artist delving into hardcore rock and punk. Understandably, it backfired horribly on him. He tried it again nearly 20 years later with These Systems Are Failing, with better success.
    • Believe it or not, Play. Before this, Moby's music focused heavily on rave and jungle beats, with some pretty ambient pieces. Subverted in that the sonic template of Play made his earlier albums look like Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Refrain from Assuming: That song from Play that repeats the word "sometimes" over 75 times? It's called "Honey".
  • Rearrange the Song: There's been multiple incarnations of "Go." The most famous version, which samples "Laura Palmer's Theme" from Twin Peaks, is actually the Woodtick Remix.
  • Sampling: Specializes in it.
  • Self-Titled Album: His debut album in 1993.
  • Shirtless Scene: When the famous "Thousand" is played live, it's usually Moby shirtless, standing on his keyboard, pounding his fists, raising his arms, and staring stoically into the audience. All while a bajillion lights flash on him.
  • Special Guest: Appeared as a judge for a Nerd Anthem challenge in series 3 of King of the Nerds.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Inside" off of Play.
  • Stage Names:
    • Real name Richard Melville Hall. He gets his stage name from the fact that "supposedly Herman Melville was my great-great-great-granduncle." Herman Melville, of course, wrote Moby-Dick.
    • Has also released music under the name Voodoo Child. His album Baby Monkey was released under this name so he could "concentrate on the music without having to worry about promotion or record sales".
  • Three Chords and the Truth: "Beautiful," which is almost childishly simple to evoke the image of two self-indulgent people perpetually complimenting one another.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Someone To Love" from Animal Rights.
  • Updated Re-release: Hotel : Ambient (the second disc of Hotel) received this in 2014, with Moby reportedly realizing that there was no way to get the second disc by itself when a fan stopped him and asked him about it.
  • Viewers Are Morons: Moby invoked this with Animal Rights, as he was fed up of people not understanding his electronic music. Ironically, just as he decided to shift his direction, his electronic music started getting recognition.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/Moby