Release Date: 11.18.03
Record label: v2
Wash, Rinse and Repeat
by: paul schrodt
When does Moby's revolutionary chill-out dance music just become tedious? On 18 B Sides his elegant blend of house beats, grand string arrangements and blues vocals is little more than a formula -- and one that becomes rapidly tiresome. The album is, as advertised, a collection of unpolished and uninspired leftovers. You could say it's best left to Moby diehards, but it's the artist's hardcores that may be the most dissatisfied with its gratuitous redundancy, which almost seems to self-trivialize Moby's unique inspiration and bedroom-style recording technique.
While there are three songs that stand out on the album ("Landing," "Afterlife," "Stay"), they are easily dwarfed by the remaining repetitiveness. "Love of Strings" could be any number of tracks from the original 18 without the vocals, and "Nearer" is an obvious revisit to "One of the These Mornings" (without the oomph). Everything else is a limp refashion of 1999's Play, which, at first glance, seems to be the crude working of a corrupt studio imitator. "String Electro" is to "Go" as "Downhill" is to "Natural Blues." Moby has reduced his recording style down to a failing formula: make a smooth house beat, overlay with ambient piano and string arrangements, insert gospel hollers, wash, rinse and repeat.
Everyone knows it's not as simple as that. Duplicating the graceful genius of Moby's effortless sound is harder than it seems, and 18 B Sides is proof of that. Here's a drab rehash that should've never seen the light of day. Every brilliant artist has their inevitable failures, but that's why they're not supposed to be published. The best thing 18 B Sides has done is to make me appreciate 18's A Sides even more. 07-May-2002 3:30 PM