Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Moby tracks to revisit to keep your quarantine blues at bay
Arguably one of the most influential electronica artistes of our times, Moby has put out a stream of stunning music that so many have heard, but not all recognize as his compositions
Moby is easily one of the most influential artistes of modern times. His brand of electronica helped redefine the genre, but more importantly, it helped bring it out into the mainstream and made the genre commercially successful, in a way the electronic dance music scene hasn't seen before.
As we await his 17th studio album, 'All Visible Objects', let's take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of Moby's best and most influential tracks that are also perfect for your quarantine moods.
'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'
Arguably one of his most famous songs and music videos, this track was part of Moby's seminal 1999 album 'Play'. It was intended to be the artiste's final record and served as his return to his electronica roots following the 1996 album 'Animal Rights'.
Moby was convinced his career was over at this point and intended for this album to serve as his goodbye, but its unprecedented success changed his mind.
'Play', it turned out, was not only successful in the electronic dance music scene, but it would also go on to be a commercial and critical success, topping numerous charts and making Moby a mainstream hit before eventually becoming the biggest-selling electronica album of all time.
It also became the first album ever to have all of its tracks licensed for use in films, television shows or commercials.
'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?' was the fourth single released off the album. It became a worldwide club hit, despite its melancholic downtempo sound that sampled from The Banks Brothers and the Greater Harvest Back Home Choir's version of the song 'He’ll Roll Your Burdens Away'.
Speaking about the song, Moby has stated he found his original version of it to be a "really bad techno song" and after revisiting it and making it "mournful and romantic", and some convincing from his manager, the track made it onto 'Play'.
The track itself circles around feelings of hopelessness and incomprehensibility, a mood that is reflected in the music video as well. The video, featuring a character called 'Little Idiot' drawn by Moby himself, was something the artiste drew while he was working at a record store.
All through the hardships he faced leading up to 'Play', drawing would serve as both inspiration and solace to him, eventually coming to represent his triumphs following his struggles while also being a reminder of where he came from.
At a time when we're all hurting, it helps to have a track that expresses those feelings as simply and profoundly as this one does.
'We Are All Made of Stars'
While this song on the surface appears to be uplifting and romantic, it also features some deeper themes based on quantum physics. As a self-proclaimed "sci-fi geek," Moby wrote the song to reflect how we are all "made of stars", both in a literal sense as well as a more metaphorical sense of everyone being special and unique.
But the new wave track would go on to become a song of hope and community owing to its release following the 9/11 attacks on New York City.
The music video features a whole host of celebrities in addition to a running theme of people coming together and rebuilding after falling apart.
While many have suspected the song was inspired by David Bowie's 'Heroes', an equally stunning track about triumph in the face of adversity, both artistes have denied the connection, though Moby has acknowledged 'Heroes' was one of his favorite songs and therefore would inevitably influence his music.
During these trying times, there are a few songs more uplifting than this one. Despite being released nearly two decades ago, this track is still so relevant, and just as healing.
Another track off of Moby's commercial breakthrough 'Play' and an equally melancholic electronic ballad, this song was written about a painful breakup.
Speaking about the track, Moby has stated, "I was involved with this really, really wonderful woman, and I loved her very much. But I knew deep in my heart of hearts that we had no business being romantically involved. So, it’s sort of about being in love with someone but knowing you shouldn’t be with them."
The song, already popular among fans of the album, became an even greater hit after it featured in the trailer for the Leonardo DiCaprio thriller, 'The Beach'. Since then, it has gone on to become one of the most recognizable Moby song, even if you didn't know he was its creator.
Moby himself was so in love with this composition, he named his 2016 memoir after it. 'Porcelain' would go on to become a genre-defining track, mostly because it made the world of electronica mainstream.
But just like with 'We Are All Made of Stars', Moby had to be convinced by a manager to include the track on 'Play', because he thought his vocals sounded weak and he didn't believe anyone would want to listen to it.
The artiste credits 'The Beach' with making the song so popular, claiming the way it was used in the movie was what changed how people heard it.
While people have interpreted the song in vastly different ways, one common thread runs through them all: the song reflects the fragility of a person and, just like porcelain, their ability to break when hurt.
'Lift Me Up'
The first single off his album 'Hotel', 'Lift Me Up' charted worldwide and became another mainstream electronica hit from Moby. The electro-rock song was written by Moby in protest of George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, following which the artiste considered moving to Canada.
Musically, the song was inspired by the work of the band The Sisters of Mercy, and at one point was even meant to feature the band's vocalist Andrew Eldritch, though this never panned out. Overall, the song hinges on themes of global intolerance and the dangerous fise of fundamentalism worldwide.
The song would later go on to be used in sports shows worldwide, often remixed with sounds that sped up its pace and once again, bringing Moby to a new audience.
Aside from that, fans have spent years speculating on the song's hidden meanings and symbolism, linking it to everything from Native American chanting to a call for unity and seeking divinity or enlightenment.
Regardless of its meaning, however, this song really does manage to hit you on an emotional level as it lifts you up. And who couldn't use a good pick-me-up right now?
'Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.' and 'Long Ambients 2'
With over seven hours of quiet, meditative music, the two appropriately titled 'Ambients' albums combine to give their listeners a genuinely immersive experience.
Released in 2016 and 2019 respectively, both installments see Moby switch gears from his genre-defining style to create a space of calm that people could simply get lost in. Speaking about these albums Moby has stated that listeners "not approach [it] as music," but instead "approach it as a sleep aid or tool."
The songs on these two albums trade in dance music for quiet synths and lush soundscapes, perfect for yoga, meditation, sleep, deep thought, or even reading.
In keeping with the artiste's goal with these releases, both 'Ambients' albums are available to stream or download for free on Moby.
Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) to refresh your mood every day.