Bookish Beats: Moby – Play

Bookish BeatsMusic, much like literature, has the power to drive your imagination; it can lift the soul and create real emotion.This is Bookish Beats, a feature which will showcase some of the soundtracks which have enriched the worlds I’ve found between the pages. 



Listen to with:

A post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure

Such as:

Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna

We’re back this week with Moby’s stunning album from 1999, Play. This is a defining album of my childhood – one of those which stops you in your tracks and changes your entire perspective on music – and the first which drew my attention to Moby.

Play is a catchy, fun, soaring and lyrical electronica mash-up which captures emotion and heartbreak in its folk and blues laden tracks whilst contrasting the incredibly chilled out with the extremely upbeat. This is another of my go-to albums when reading, one which never tires and one which remains relevant all these years later.

This is an album of parts, and one where favourites are incredibly difficult to narrow down. The tracks range from the beautiful and heart-wrenching, to the downbeat and chilled out, to the fun and uplifting. It’s not impossible to go through a full rollercoaster of emotions when listening to Play, and it isn’t difficult for it to truly enhance whatever it is you’re reading.

Much of the success of this album comes from the careful sampling of other artists, using their music to create an atmosphere and elicit a reaction. Play does this incredibly successfully with tracks such as Natural Blues, which samples Vera Hall, and Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?, which samples Banks Brothers. These are two of the most emotive tracks on the album; incredibly beautiful, exceptionally heartfelt and highly addictive.

This same tone is picked up in tracks such as Find My Baby, which retains an element of the emotive whilst conjuring up an uplifting atmosphere, and Honey, an incredibly catchy track with repetitive vocals and folk guitars which is very hard not to listen to whilst reading fight scenes. For some reason, It just works.

Play is also incredibly successful in creating those chill-out tracks which create a subtle atmosphere, those which you can just listen to and watch the world pass you by. Porcelain is a perfect example of this, along with Rushing, Inside and My Weakness. Whether they come with vocals or not, these tracks instantly stick in your mind and give your world, or that between your pages, a slower pace.

This is contrasted with some of the more upbeat and fast-paced tracks on the album, such as Machete and Bodyrock which build up tempo by leaning heavily on the electro. Run On and Honey, however, use folk music samples to create fast-paced tracks which are instantly uplifting and retain an element of fun through their catchy melodies. This same uplifting vibe is echoed in some of the instrumental tracks, such as Everloving.

Play is a masterpiece which stands for repeated listens and, in fact, only seems to get better the more you’re exposed to it. This is an album which in reality could be listened to with anything; whether a post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure, or a tense thriller. Give it a try and see what you think.

Favourite track

02 – Find My Baby

08 – Natural Blues

Top track for action

01 – Honey

Top track for tension

09 – Machete

Top track for emotion

08 – Natural Blues

04 – Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?



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2 thoughts on “Bookish Beats: Moby – Play

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