Review Summary: A glimpse of the world Moby envisioned, but this time after the apocalypse...
In the past few years, Moby graced us with multiple albums that went from raucous, ‘80s-inspired synth rock/punk to hours of ambient drones. It was really nice to see him break from the placid formulas found on Innocents
, especially at a time when he seemed stuck in a rut. The man returned just as fast and unexpectedly to familiar territory on Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
, where the predominantly downtempo material got enhanced by trip hop stylings.
Moby always sought solace in the most clinical of settings and magnified less enticing emotions such as loneliness, sadness or regret, all covered up in a cloud of anxiety and paranoia. Still, with the disco beats of his earlier material, you could easily pass through them. Now that the music got closer in tone to the lyrical themes, it’s become like a dense fog where you either lose yourself in or suffocate. The man concentrated lately on the environmental, political & social issues the planet is facing, lashing out on the Void Pacific Choir LPs. On Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
we receive the opposite: things got worse, we lost control, so we get the perspective of a post-apocalyptic scenario. The Earth is more or less a blank wasteland, but one that could be ready to start life anew. There are hopeful moments hidden, still we have to face the consequences of our actions. Songs like ‘Mere Anarchy’, ‘Welcome to Hard Times’ or ‘Falling Rain and Light’ share this impending disaster vibe. The first two are led by paranoid synth leads, brooding over interesting drum patterns and deep bass lines. Moby shyly sings, often getting lost in the thick arrangements, but he leaves the powerful notes to Julie Mintz, Mindy Jones, Raquel Rodriguez and Apollo Jane. Meanwhile, ‘Falling Rain and Light’ focuses on melancholic piano chords, vocoded verses, as well as various embellishing, glitchy sound scapes. What I like is that he spent more time programming the drums than usual. It really makes a difference not using the same tired beats all the time.
Besides the future concerning issues, there’s also an inner battle surfacing on the record. In these hard times, some people turn towards a higher power that may or may not help us, while others seek the embrace of their loved ones. Moby presents dark scenarios regarding both, however, there’s a lot open to interpretation. ‘The Ceremony of Innocence’ purposely harkens back to Innocents
and the idea of a post-apocalyptic cult worshiping a certain divine presence. The hypnotic piano and holistic strings create a huge sound, while answers are asked in the lyrics. Moreover, ‘The Middle Is Gone’ and ‘A Dark Cloud Is Coming’ bring forth this idea of repentance whether personal or collective. The lounge piano of the former, complete with reverse reverbed guitars and visceral synths are perfect for the atmosphere he wishes to create. The latter’s smooth rhythm and cool bass accents are contrasting the message, as if the only thing you can do at the moment is just smoke a cigarette in the rocking chair and wait for the world to end. On the other hand, the trademark gospel influences form the basis of ‘Like a Motherless Child’, which is a reimagined version of a traditional tune, and ‘The Wild Darkness’, that uses a choir to suppress Moby’s worried verses. The two ditties are a nod to his Play
eras, respectively. Nevertheless, they belong to EWBaNH
in sound and themes.
In the end, this LP ultimately seeks to warn people about the environmental and social disasters knocking at our door. He’s been ranting about Trump and several other subjects on all platforms and although you might be aware of everything, you’d be surprised how many people are brainwashed or clueless regarding everything. Plus, everything the man says is justified, even though his drastic tone is appalling to some. Despite the heavy messages, Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
shares a lot of beautiful moments, during which you can choose not to pay attention to the details mentioned above. You can just let the notes softly play, while you can drift alongside them. This is one of Moby’s most cohesive efforts, so if you don’t dig this side of his musical output or look for a wild diversity, you’d be a bit disappointed. Other than this, the record flows surprisingly nice, unveiling a lot of strong material.