"Play" by Moby (1999)
The fifth album by techno auteur Moby will probably end up on a lot of critics lists as the years best album. It's currently holding down the number three spot for me, and it's the album I'd recommend the highest (Tom Waits and The Flaming Lips releases are a notch better, but nowhere near as accessible). Spin magazine honored the album by placing it in its top 20 for the decade and they only placed one other album released this year in the top 90. Not bad.
Play is a study in alchemy. Delta blues and Negro spiritual fuse seamlessly with hip-hop and house rhythms, simple beats, and melodies that are far greater than the sum of their parts, grow bigger and better with each listen--the man's a sorceror. And he's also something of a chameleon, his vocals range all over the spectrum and he plays all the instruments on the album.
If you're like me and don't much go for all that hip-hop, house, techno mumbo jumbo--this is the album that will show you the light. There's plenty of good stuff on this 18 song masterpiece to please just about anybody. In fact, it's divided into two fairly distinctive parts--there's the gospel/blues meets techno that dominates about the first two thirds of the record, and then it closes out with a sort of new age instrumental block of songs that bring to mind the film scores of Vangelis. Sort of a Blade Runner goes to the Dark Side Of The Moon. As it was popular to say a few years ago, "it's all good." Play is two incredibly infectious albums that you can purchase for the price of one.
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