Moby's New CD with Sinead

What Pressure? Moby Isn't Shooting for 'Play'-Size Sales

Los Angeles Times Calendar February 17, 2002



Moby has an Olympian task looming--and we're not talking about his scheduled performance in the Salt Lake City Winter Games' closing ceremony next Sunday.

The challenge awaiting the electronic rocker is to repeat the 2.4 million U.S. and nearly 10 million worldwide sales of his breakthrough 1999 album "Play" with the follow-up "18," due in stores May 14. Moby has a plan in regard to reaching those heights again: don't.

The new album likely will appeal to "Play" fans, although it's hardly a repeat. While some of the songs use the kind of soul and blues vocal samples that were at the core of its predecessor, Moby reaches into new territory as well.

The opening song and first single, "We Are All Made of Stars," evokes '80s new wave, with a guitar part recalling Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera. And guest appearances by Sinead O'Connor, Angie Stone with MC Lyte, indie-pop female duo Azure Ray and a sample of a '70s soul song by Sylvia Robinson provide an aesthetic thread.

"I think it's a more feminine record in the sense that it's a little warmer," Moby says. "'Play' had some songs with harsh edges. In '18,' even when it gets more up-tempo, it's still more feminine."

In any case, Moby has now made albums following up flops ("Play" came after 1997's disappointing "Animal Rights") and one following up a hit.

Hit is better.

"People keep saying there must be so much pressure," he says. "In my mind there wasn't. Since 'Play' was so successful, more people will be paying attention. Hopefully I've made something worthy of the attention."