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The Final Word | Monday, 22 January 2018
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MOBY - Hotel   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  

He's just like the goddamn Terminator....He just doesnít stop does he?

For some Moby is a dirty word. Up there with Dido in the bland stakes - though youíd have to be a goth with ears of cloth to think that, and one cursory listen to thousand would tell you otherwise. but Judge not a man by the company he keeps in a suburban record collection, but by the quality of his work.

"Hotel" then, Mobyís umpteenth album (some people say itís his fifth, but I can think of seventeen in his careeer), is both more of the same, and more than that. You know what he sounds like, dance music for people who donít dance, and yet, with this one, heís branching back into the more eclectic territory he shyed from on both "Play" and "18" : the formula of old blues samples and guest vocalists have been retired, in favour of one man, an arsenal of bedroom geekery, and a vision.

Last time he did this, his vision was "Animal Rights", a heartbroken thrash classic that sold all of 43 copies. This time, "Hotel" will fly off the supermarket shelves on the back of his stadium-blues classic "Play", and itís no lesser a record than any of his recent work. In many ways itís better.

"Hotel" mines the same furrow of melancholic dance music, shorn of the fancy tricks of the previous records. Musically, occasionally the vision is smaller, more intimate than before, yet also harder, more urgent : the epic gestures of the last two records are downscaled in favour of a quieter, more personal approach. As such, one gets the feeling that is more Moby than most of his other, more impersonal material.

Despite himself, Moby canít help write the big hooks : "Beautiful", "Lift Me Up", and "Raining Again" are songs that, in the hands of Noel Gallagher would be stadium singalongs. Here, theyíre lullabies for bedrooms : sad yet happy, uplifting yet never optmistic. Simple, yet complex, and proof that clever need not be complicated. And like all of Mobyís vocal work, it hangs on an air of hopeful melancholy, the intelligent hope that despite the wars between people and nations, that human nature - innate human goodness will prevail.

As he says on the sleeve, the album is called "Hotel" for a number of reasons, because all things are temporary, this life, love, the rooms we rent by the night or by the year, all of these things are both permanent and passing. Like any great artist, Moby evolves, yet never beyond the recognisable : if you liked "Play" or "18", youíll love this. If you think heís techno blues-raping geek baldy Anti-Christ, welcome to Wrongsville : Population You.

"Hotel" is neither Mobyís best nor worst album, but another consistent album made by a genuine talent. I get the feeling that even if Moby didnít have a deal anymore and was working for a living, heíd be sat in his bedroom making these songs, simply because he has to : because thatís who he is.

What greater artist is there than one who creates art because he needs to, not because he does it get laid and get paid?

Yes, you, Joss Stone, Jamie Callum, and countless self-aggrandising rappers, Iím talking to you. Shut up with your aural graffiti and let the talent speak. Not the talent in the showbiz way, but someone with talent.

Welcome to Hotel. Enjoy your stay....


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