Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 68
Thurs. April 4, 2013
The opening strings to the third single “Mistake” from the 2009 album Wait for Me mirrors the penultimate cinematic epic, “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters,” on Moby’s 1995 major label debut album Everything is Wrong. But Moby wasn’t just going back for past’s sake, because if you listen closely, Moby vocal sounds similarly familiar to one Thin White Duke as he explained, “One of the things I like about finishing a record and putting it out into the world is when it’s finished is that I have no idea what it is. For me, objectivity has been slaughtered through the repetitive process of music. And you’re not the first person to say that my voice reminds them of David Bowie. I just laugh at that because I don’t think I have a very good voice and I think David Bowie has one of the best, most interesting voices ever. Mine is akin to some kid scratching in the sand with a stick.”
When pressed further if Bowie actually sung on “Mistake,” Moby said, “A few people have commented in similar ways. Someone we work with actually called up my manager and asked how we got David Bowie to sing on the record. I have to say that’s probably the biggest compliment I ever got in my entire life. I love David Bowie and I think David Bowie has an amazing voice and I really don’t think of myself as a singer, so to be compared to David Bowie is about the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
But Moby wasn’t attempting to model “Mistake’s” vocal style sound on anyone particular as he explained when he told Billboard Magazine, “In the past, when I made records, there was always an element of being an old punk rocker. Culture had to be confrontational. When I made a record, I aspired for it to be beautiful and compelling, but something that was also confrontational. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I have changed my mind. Most people, in their daily lives, experience enough confrontation; they don’t need more from me.”
You may think after his success with 1999’s Play, 2002’s 18 and on soundtracks like The Bourne Identity, Heat and The Beach, Moby would looking to stay a commercially hit-worthy but you’d be mistaken when telling Billboard, “My only concern was in making people feel like this record wasn’t a waste of their time. I always feel a sense of artistic responsibility and debt toward anyone who listens to my music. The interest and good grace of an audience can disappear in two seconds, if you don’t make it worth their while.”
What I respect about the artist formally known as Richard M. Hall is that even though he’s been dubbed “The Brian Eno of the Britney Spears generation,” Moby takes it all like a seasoned veteran explaining, “It’s a nice compliment. I can’t think of any musician or producer who has influenced me more than Brian Eno. From when he was in Roxy Music, producing Devo, the Talking Heads and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. And he sort of single-handedly invented ambient music, so being compared to Brian Eno in any capacity is a big compliment.”
We’ve all made them missteps, errors, fault and misses but for Moby the rhythmic rainmaker turns his lyrically inspired lapses into hit singles. More than just an homage to David Bowie, his 2009 single actually mirrors a modern day Joy Division with his vocal moving towards deep Ian Curtis monotones. “Mistake” shows that Moby still has a few swings left in his electronic inspired canvas. While “The Brian Eno of the Britney Spears generation” is reaching for his dance shoes, Moby keeps playing us the blues. If this 2009 single is any indication, with its pulsating “Krafty” like New Order inspired back beats, Moby brings to life his magnificence by making his imperfect sound of “Mistake” glorious to me.