Moby - Wait for Me

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  • Wait for Me is the most consistent of the four non-remix albums Moby has released since 1999's Play. It sounds exactly the opposite of last year's Last Night, his return to the lighter feel and up-front dance beats of the records he made before the willful tantrum of 1996's Animal Rights. Wait for Me is his most despondent work since that album—the tempos stay down, even the more overtly song-based tracks seem like sketches, and even the most gorgeous chord progressions ("Scream Pilots" is a good example) are steeped in melancholy. Yet it shares with Last Night a strange kind of amnesiac quality: both sound fine in the background, gain presence up close and largely slip away when not actually on. If this isn't exactly worrying, well, Moby hasn't been giving us much to worry about lately. Some of that is down to the 800-pound gorilla that is Play, whose 300 ad placements seem perspicacious, if not particularly ideal, in retrospect now that the music biz has spent a decade mutating into something that even early Napster adopters would have found utterly alien. Besides, once you achieve cultural ubiquity, what's left? You can drive yourself nuts trying to make everyone love you as much or more, which Moby did—see 2002's 18 and 2005's Hotel, respectively lesser and far lesser versions of the smash's template—or you can simply try to please yourself, as he's been telling everyone he did with Wait for Me. That's easy to believe: Moby's been mining this vaguely melancholy tap for much of his career. "Division," the opener, is just under two minutes of shuddering synth-strings criss-crossing in arcing waves. "Study War" cuts lines from a preacher's sermon into rhythmic strips and lays them over a simple piano line, swishing cymbals and a woman moaning in assent. "Mistake" is a downcast new wave guitar number sung by the man himself in a flat, irritable monotone. "Walk with Me" is ambient/blues/gospel with a hushed vocal from R&B singer Leela James. It hangs together organically, and the second half sneaks up on you. But none of it seems especially essential. Even if you're a fan—and I'll vouch for the best of his '90s stuff anytime—it's a very slight return.
  • Tracklist
      01. Division 02. Pale Horses 03. Shot in the Back of the Head 04. Study War 05. Walk With Me 06. Stock Radio 07. Mistake 08. Scream Pilots 09. JLTF 1 10. JLTF 11. A Seated Night 12. Wait for ME 13. Hope Is Gone 14. Ghost Return 15. Slow Light 16. Isolate