Review Summary: This album will keep you company as long as you do not demand it be kind to you; Destroyed is not so much for your listening pleasure as it is your listening despair.
My generation is one that lacks appreciation for the existence of an actual full-length "album." I do march to the beat of that drum and have constant struggles to find an entire album that I can listen to thoroughly more than once; however, there are a few exceptions. Recently the biggest exception to that pattern has been the tenth studio album, Destroyed by Moby. The self-description of the album from Moby himself seems to fit this 71-minute album quite well:
[This album is essentially] broken down melodic electronic music for empty cities at 2 am.
The album's first tune entitled "The Broken Places" was the first song that my ears encountered and it sold me in mere seconds. The deep ambient and entrenched loneliness that was contained within this song lit a spark to the feelings I sometimes experience late at night. From there the sounds of "Be the One" and "Sevastopol" from Moby's Be the one EP greeted me with their cold familiarity. As Destroyed continues to roll through the darkness with guidance from the female vocals of Emily Zuzik on the track "The Low Hum" containing a constant and unusual beat throughout, Moby continues to capitalize on his talents of collaboration. Zuzik's voice maintains an even and mysterious tone as she sways through the song with lyrics of painful loneliness: "Here I am alone in this empty room / No sign of living here."
"The Day," the first single from Destroyed, features vocals from Moby himself and an increase in the tempo of the album. The song is composed of "old electronic device" sounds and the quirky texture accompanied by sing-along like chorus sections turns the album up toward a harmonious light shining from above. This sound is continued with the strings and high-pitched wailing featured on Lie Down In Darkness. The lyrics composed within Lie Down In Darkness however beg to differ with the tragic callings from vocalist Joy Malcolm; "Now that you're gone / The sun will be no more."
"Victoria Lucas" breaks the presence of vocals momentarily and replaces them with all too familiar ambient electronic recordings returning the album to it's seemingly original base. Immediately following "Victoria Lucas" the tempo of Destroyed prepares to go on the roller coaster ride that is the track "After." Complete with electronically distorted vocals and a beat that is built from the ground up and then torn back down throughout the song, "After" is a journey that takes you through the dimension of someone who is struggling to interact on a very basic level. "Oh when you had the time to give / Oh when I had a life to live / But my mind was slow." The line "But my mind was slow" is repeated more than forty times throughout this song. The internal struggle being described through this song is agonizing and one can truly feel the electronic heartbeat that comes out during this song of pure mental torture. Destroyed truly peaks with "After," as it never really returns to this tempo until the very final track on Destroyed.
From this point Moby returns to his lack of companionship as his inspiration with the track, "Blue Moon" where he truly feels the planet bearing down on him. "Oh my blue home and I promise you / You'll never be alone." Struggling through "The Right Thing" which beautifully combines electronic sounds with piano as death is contemplated lyrically. This further blends in well with the heavenly strings featured on "Stella Maris" as the album turns seemingly peaceful heading into the beautiful piano work featured on "The Violent Bear It Away." The swelling strings of this track, by far, make up for the lack of vocals throughout this compositional sensation.
If by this point you aren't having cold chills you may want to take a walk outside and listen to this album in the dark because "Lacrimae" will push you into those chills instantly. The echoing ambiance of this track force upon one the feeling of being in a large room, smacking the floor with hammers to try and find a solution to life's real problems. The electronic build-ups and fade-outs featured in this song create an atmosphere for one to truly reflect on their decisions and ponder their very future.
As the strings return in "When You Are Old" the theme of death is evident throughout the song however feel out of place following "Lacrimae." To no avail the album ends with a song that reminds me of the closing credits to Tron (via Daft Punk.) The 7-minute giant that is "Slow" sums up Destroyed in a manner that only true electronic masterminds such as Moby could produce. This song is like an EP in itself with an entire set of themes of it's own.
If there is one thing that Moby proves he is good at on this album it is building up songs and gently bringing them back down elegantly while still connecting his album with precise fluidity. The minor issues of connectivity toward the very end are essentially null and void if one is in the state of mind to let Destroyed consume them entirely. Overall, this is not an album for the light hearted or for those who cannot comprehend truly ambient and contemplative musical compositions. I highly recommend this album to anyone who is seeking inspiration; as well as to those who may need to reflect on their lives for a night. This album will keep you company as long as you do not demand it be kind to you; Destroyed is not so much for your listening pleasure as it is your listening despair.