I rather enthusiastically purchased Moby‘s new album, Wait For Me, when it was released on June 30. Not only have I enjoyed Moby’s music since the days of “Go” and “Feeling So Real,” but I relate to his political and social viewpoints, and his outspoken calls for action on topics ranging from animal cruelty to US health care reform. Thus, I ordered a copy of Wait For Me from the Humane Society of the United States, to whom Moby sent a number of copies for them to sell – proceeds from which stayed within the organization.
Moby has frequently stated recently that this release ought to be enjoyed as a whole, front to back, cohesive entity. I’m happy to accommodate his request, and that’s how I’ll review the album as well. I’m used to doing that with mix albums anyway.
Wait For Me presents a tender, holistic and almost introspective tone; kind of like the deep breath you take before delving into something that requires your complete attention. Each song is melancholy and some are downright sad. This statement makes it sound like the album is depressing, but that’s not what I mean to say. Juxtaposed with the autumnal notes are calming, enjoyable and very pleasant intonations. Just as he achieved in previous albums Play and 18, the songs on Wait For Me are etherial and sensual – inconsiderate of time and place; drawing the listener into a different frame of mind. One of essence: rays of light; candles slowly burning; rain drops on windows; glasses of wine lingering over long conversations about life.
Moby’s blatantly simple chords and melodies are deliberate and captivating, none more so than on the opening track “Division,” and “A Seated Night” – either of which would capably open his live performances. Their progressions are gratuitously emotive sequences of string instruments; sometimes spine tingling and inescapable, often crescendoing into a passive and desolate euphoria. Scattered amongst these choruses are simple drums and rhythm, including title-track “Wait For Me,” the Moby-sung “Mistake,” and perhaps my favorite song on the disc, “Shot In The Back Of The Head,” which wonderfully fuses a percussive beat with carefully manipulated guitar riffs and piano. As with the presentation of notes and chords, the occasional lyrical performances by unknown singer-friends of his from New York are similarly captivating – none more so than the enchanting “Jltf,” featuring Amelia Zirin Brown.
The only drawbacks I find in this album are its closing tracks, “Slow Light” and “Isolate.” Truly, the album sounds exhausted by the time these tracks play themselves through, and I would have found it more appealing to end on an upbeat note.
Wait For Me presents a collage of musical thoughts going through Moby’s head. Some are reminiscent of the blues-sampled and inspired Play (such as “Study War” and “Walk With Me”), others of 18. And while this album has, on occasion, a thoughtful and retrospective feel about it, Wait For Me unmistakably dignifies the artist moving forward to his next stage, not stagnating in previous ones.
One can draw many similarities between Moby the person and his new album. Indeed, Wait For Me is as humble and unassuming as the artist portrays himself to be, though in both cases, do not be fooled by simplicity or modesty. Beneath the album’s smooth surface lie incredible texture and detail. Similarly, Moby’s diminutive demeanor masks a much larger and more confident, capable and talented musician who continues to define his own niche in the electronica genre.
Wait For Me wonderfully fulfills Moby’s desire to make a beautiful, melancholy and otherwise commercially un-viable music that principally satisfies himself and then his fans. As he has asked publicly on several occasions, I also suggest that you do not give in to temptation and meander around songs the first time around – give it a listen all the way through. Then pick and choose your own favorites. There will be more than a few.
8.25 out of 10