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Moby’s Top 10 Songs

on February 26, 2018, 2:30pm
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05. “Go”

moby go

Album: “Go” single (1990)

The mere fact that it contains a sample of Angelo Badalamenti’s gorgeous “Laura Palmer’s Theme” from Twin Peaks is deserved of recognition. The way it breathes and shouts like an underground UK dance club explains why it’s still a favorite amongst DJs over 20 years later. Throughout, Jocelyn Brown’s pained harmonies — stripped from her 1985 single, “Love’s Gonna Get You” — taunt the track’s pace, leaving Badalamenti’s synths to wrap the whole thing up in digital plastic. Gotta love those new jack swing-inspired orchestra hits at the end, too. So 1990. –Michael Roffman

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04. “Porcelain”

moby porcelain

Album: Play (1999)

While the gospel-sampled tracks off Play propelled Moby into the global music scene, it was the album’s sixth single, “Porcelain”, that ensured his staying power. It’s a melancholic, beautiful song spotlighting Moby over his borrowed spirituals and introduced many to his ambient side. The track even made an appearance on one of the later iterations of the New Age compilation powerhouse Pure Moods. Moby himself wasn’t a fan of the song, but his “really weak” vocals only serve to further humanize the potent feelings “Porcelain” evokes. –Cap Blackard

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03. “Extreme Ways”

moby 18 Mobys Top 10 Songs

Album: 18 (2002)

“Extreme Ways” is sampling at its finest, and a testament to Moby’s ear for transforming musical perspectives. The track’s signature strings actually belong to Hugo Winterhalter’s cheery cover of “Everybody’s Talkin’”, only they’re transformed into a terrifying loop more befitting of a Bernard Herrmann score. The drum breakdown of Melvin Bliss’s “Synthetic Substitution” even finds some real estate. However, Moby’s own touches and lyricism are some of his best attempts at pop, and as the Bourne movies have shown – a perfect companion to death-defying action, whether it’s on the big screen, or during your morning jog. –Cap Blackard

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02. “Memory Gospel”

moby honey Mobys Top 10 Songs

Album: “Honey” single (1998)

The descriptor “religious experience” can explain so much of Moby’s music — probably every song on here — but the nearly seven-minute ambiance of “Memory Gospel” is most deserving of it. What starts out like a prayer eases into a confession as each layer builds, enhances, and expands at every measure. The Play B-side is quite singular, working best as an extended echo of the blockbuster album. To date, few tracks in the vegan’s catalogue exclude the piano, and this era still hosts his best tones on the black and white. “Gospel”‘s minimal notes offer little accents that create these inexplicable lyrics that change upon every listen, making for a timeless experience. –Michael Roffman

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01. “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters”

 Mobys Top 10 Songs

Album: Everything is Wrong (1994)

Long before Play or 18, Moby delivered his cinematic coup de grace with the piano-driven masterpiece, “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters”. Used to great effect in the closing moments of Michael Mann’s crime epic, Heat, the way the piano shifts from haunting to graceful (00:20) to heavenly (00:39) to downright emotional (1:17) through the dual piano and synth hooks defines why mainstream audiences have always been patient enough to give Moby all the time and space he needs. It’s all about the movements, though: The way that orgasmic key change (2:33) slowly retreats (3:11) for its broad landing (3:30) before taking off once again (3:49) captures a sharp yet anarchic precision of a true composer. Never has a song’s title been so accurate, and convincing. –Michael Roffman

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Playlist

Stream all 10 tracks via Spotify below.

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