Moby is a person who needs little introduction. He is a prolific and successful entertainer, a talented photographer and a shrewd businessman who knows his sound has a market. His music is an iconic blend of synth, atmospheric mixes and varied vocals that has found a place being performed for packed stadiums as well as numerous commercial endeavors. His latest album, Destroyed, comes with a large, very personal, book of photos which is far more interesting than the actual album itself.
That statement probably makes it seem like Destroyed is not a good album; it is a well produced album, it has some good points, but it is one that does not try to be anything new, exciting or innovative. The overall arc of the songs is a very subdued one full of subtle atmospheric mixes and large orchestrated combinations layered with vocals that work but do not pop. This is an album that seems to be trying to find a voice and when it couldn’t get there, it settled for Moby’s normal one.
The songs themselves are hard to pick apart as distinctive or standout tracks. There are a few that could be worth talking about like “Be the One”, “Stella Maris” and “After”, but they all seem to lose their focus and regain it mid-stride. The core issue I see with this album is it is not very cohesive and none of the tracks flow together to make a statement. The sound of the album seems to echo the writing process that Moby describes in the photo book:
“The music on the album (i still call them ‘albums’…) was primarily written while on tour. and, for the most part, the music on the album was written in hotel rooms at 3 a.m when i was wide awake with insomnia and everyone else on the planet was, as far as i could tell, sleeping.”
Reading the notes in the book and listening to the album, I can hear the desperation of wanting to sleep, then wondering what the rest of the world is doing and having a mind too busy to be consistent. The photo book bears mentioning, as it is actually very, very good. Moby included both polished and framed shots, random images in sleeping cities and crowd shots that are blurry but which convey the frantic life he leads. In many ways the pictures truly do echo the sound of Destroyed.
As I mentioned, Destroyed is far from perfect. It is not terrible, but it is often subdued to the point of being boring and fading into the background. As a soundtrack for your life, Destroyed is much better suited to the quiet moments where you are looking internally for your answers rather than music you would choose for running or getting your body moving in a club environment. It is not anywhere near Moby’s best work, but I imagine to him it is one of his most personal albums, and for that it does bear listening to. Just don’t expect it to be his Opus.
Audio link: Destroyed by thelittleidiot