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Moby – Play (1999)

March 30, 2012

[Album 33/1001]

Your concert sells out?  Great.  Your fans call you a sell out?  Oh so very bad.

Around the turn of the century, Moby was accused of doing so, even more inexcusably than Sugar Ray or The Offspring.  Not only did Play contain commercially successful music, he successfully licenced each song on Play for use in soundtracks & television commercials.

For shame…or so I thought until I met one of the guys companies hire if they can’t get an artist to let them use the songs they want. 

This musician was asked to write a 30 second piece that started off like Rage Against the Machine/segued into Beck/and ended with Led Zeppelin.  His work sounded exactly as requested and was much cheaper than getting permission from the Rage/Beck/Zeppelin legal teams.  The medley appeared in commercials during NFL Playoff games later that winter.

Seing as advertising agencies will always get the songs they want (or they’ll get someone else to write a carbon copy), my sincerest apologies Moby.

The trouble with Play is that there’s a reason ad agencies wanted the songs: they work brilliantly as short, commercial clips.  Most of the songs are based around memerable repeated patterns, with different layers gradually added.  There’s no denying the catchiness and broad appeal of the songs, big reasons why the songs fit so well in several marketing campaigns.

So even for people who haven’t heard of Moby, if they watched any television in the early 2000s, they’ve definitely heard his work.

Hopefully Play won’t be remembered as the album where Moby ‘sold out.’ 

Instead, it should be acknowledged as a great mix of musical styles, unlike any other record…with songs that also happened to work well in soundtracks & commercials.

From → 1990s

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