mobycdIf you are looking for background music and aren’t too interested in paying attention to vocals or lyrics, then Innocents is probably going to be your cup of tea. Moby’s latest record is ultra-serious, incredibly moody, and—to its discredit—sounds largely like the same song played over and over. There isn’t a ton here that leaves much of an impression on you, which is odd since you would think that the plethora of guest vocalists he brings in would at least pique your interest a bit, but for the most part even these guests fail to bring much life to the record.

“A Case for Shame (ft. Cold Specks)” is a good example of what to expect from this album. A down-tempo piano and beats-led track filled with lush, sweeping orchestration and a somewhat overwrought sense of emotional underpinning, the track practically acts like a template for the rest of the record. “The Lonely Night (ft. Mark Lanegan)” plods along in a similarly slow manner with Lanegan providing dreary, muted vocals, and Moby himself follows suit on the seemingly endless (and not in a good way) closer, “The Dogs,” mumbling his way through lyrics about the death of innocence.

There are moments where the album picks up a bit of steam, as on the slightly more upbeat and primal “Saints,” for instance, or on “Going Wrong” which, despite being a contemplative piano, synths and orchestration number, is given a subtle jazz flavor with the use of feathered sticks, but these are outliers. It may well be Moby’s intention to have songs like these act as a reprieve from the monotony and sadness which fills most of the record—and if that’s the case then kudos to him because he is spot-on in his execution of this particular effect—but the album is so weary and down-trodden on the whole that it is hard to appreciate these brief highs because you are too busy distancing yourself from the depressing timbre of the music itself.

Innocents seems to aspire to be some weighty social commentary on the effects of this world on our collective innocence, but for the most part it feels more like a dull mess that does very little to grab your attention.

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One Response

  1. This is a lame review, you should ignore it. At first listen, Innocents is an amazingly beautiful album.
    This is Moby’s 11th studio album and it was created with a collaborative effort, featuring vocals from Skylar Grey, Cold Specks, Mark Lanegan and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and produced by Mark “Spike” Stent.
    The majority of the album was recorded in Moby’s home studio in Los Angeles, using mostly antiquated drum machines and synths, and Moby played the majority of the instruments.
    It’s exactly the kind of album that our generation wants to hear; non-commercial, non-formulaic, non-pop, no bullshit, heartfelt music created by an anti-hero who has basically rejected the expectations of the music industry as a whole.
    Moby is the quintessential garage band musician who started playing guitar when he was 9 years old. He played in a punk rock band in high school, worked as a DJ in NYC in the 80’s and 90’s and first found his fame through dance music of the era. It was the success of 1999’s Play that made him famous and also allowed him the financial freedom to make the kinds of records that he wants to make despite the expectations of the industry. This has allowed Moby to deeply explore his internal motivations and to discover the pure source of his creative motivation. All in all, Innocents is a record that takes you through the highs and lows of human emotion, from the starkly lonely sound of Everything that Rises to the rising chorus of A Perfect Life. The album is worth a serious listen.
    Moby has stated that his desire is to create music that creates an emotional response in the listener, and that’s exactly what Innocents achieves.

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