ew pop stars show up in high-tech magazines as icons of what the biz calls ‘branding’, the business of creating a business of recognition. Reading about Moby makes me regret the fact that I never took my show on the road. A genius at branding, Moby has created an entire genre around his funky persona and infectious music. If you don’t own “18“, you should. You haven’t had this much fun in a very long time.
One track I just can’t stop playing is “The Rafters”, as in ‘raising the’ — the vocals are only the strident humming of an emotionally supercharged heart; an old-time spiritual, taken to the extreme. Playing it for my son Tristan just now, I asked him if he’d heard it before. He said, “No, but it’s Moby, right?” The vocals aren’t even a man, let alone the man. Branding. When you hear Moby, you know you’re not hearing someone else. He is a genre. “The Rafters” is pure emotion; pure fun; no think, all feel. Not that the machine is limited; Moby does plenty of intellectual, thought-provoking music. But I’m thrilled by this tune that transcends lyrical limitations and drives right into your heart.
Oh; at least one of you will find this amusing; the nickname isn’t just new millenium chutzpah. His real name is Richard Melville Hall. Melville. As in, Herman, author of, you guessed it, “Moby Dick” — great-great-grand-uncle of the current holder of the title.
I think we should thank the Powers That Be that he didn’t grow up to be a rapper named Great White.