Released: April 1, 2008
It’s strange when a deep artist makes a shallow album. Is its shallowness actually well-disguised depth? Is it ironic? Is it a philosophical statement of the lack of substance in our culture? Or is it simply what it is, a musical treat with no goals other than to be a sugary snack?
Moby is a deep artist. He probably never should have become a household name, but 1999’s Play was a great album that transcended all sorts of boundaries and launched Moby into the international spotlight. The man has a lot of opinions, and his inability and/or unwillingness to shut up about them earned him a cultural backlash that is nearly on par with America’s backlash against disco.
Moby is a deep artist, but Last Night is a shallow album. This is Moby’s tribute to his roots as a New York DJ in the mid- to late-’80s. New York dance music in the ’80s was exciting — hip-hop was exploding in the five boroughs and New Jersey, house was finding its legs on the post-disco dancefloors of clubs like the Paradise Garage, and the musical alchemy of bands like Talking Heads and Blondie was completely changing rock.
Unfortunately, Last Night makes it sound as if Moby was stuck in the DJ booth at some crappy club in the suburbs instead of immersing himself in the great music that was happening a few miles away. I don’t hear an inspired reinterpretation of early ’80s New York on here; I just hear a bunch of dance music clichés being poured through Moby’s mixing board. And that’s a shame, because Moby’s mixing board has pumped out some pretty incredible dance music over the past 15 years.
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