I am a huge Moby fan, so I was filled with eager anticipation to listen to his new album Reprise. It features tracks from previous albums that have been reworked. Last month there was a taster with the release of the fabulously reimagined single Natural Blues. But, will the rest of the album match that? Here’s what I think of each track:
On the album Play, this track was a beautiful instrumental piece which begins with some gentle humming. The music builds in intensity and emotion and then at the end suddenly finishes. The reprise version the track has a ‘fuller’ sound. It feels more majestic and at the same time perhaps more solemn.
2. Natural Blues
I reviewed this song last month, and it is a a masterpiece. The original had a genuine blues feel to it. This one has a soaring anthemic gospel call to arms. The stunning voices of Gregory Porter and Amethyst Kiah are heart-piercingly gorgeous. I was very tired when I listened to this song, and afterwards, my mood was so gloriously elevated I felt I could conquer the world!
What this track has in common with its predecessor from 2007 is a relentless beat, but the reprise version uses orchestral sounds rather than synthesisers. The result is a track that sounds as though it is from an action movie rather than a dance club. I think I prefer the reprise version.
One of my favourite tracks from the album Play, the song has been stripped back, it is dreamy, and quite melancholic. I couldn’t tell you which I prefer because each has it’s own strengths. Perhaps if I were feeling sad, I might want to play the reprise version, because it is quite calming.
5. Extreme Ways
This is the third iteration of this track I’ve heard. The original was a pop kind of song, the second version for the end credits of the Bourne Identity was a full rock and roll version that I loved – intense, energetic and a relentless pace. This new reprised version is cut back, tender, and almost heart breaking to listen to. It’s remarkable Moby has managed to create three alternatives to the same song that can match whatever mood you are feeling.
A remake of David Bowie’s iconic song, this time with vocals by Mindy Jones. The track is soulful, and emotional. It begins simply with a piano base and string accompaniment that builds to a climax and then lays you down gently.
7. God Moving Over the Face of the Waters
Rapid piano notes begin this track which then merge with rising orchestral sounds. Apparently the original version back in the 90s was Moby’s favourite of all the songs he’d written. This instrumental only track literally evokes something spiritual, and bigger than oneself.
8. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad (ft. Dietrick Haddon & Apollo Jane)
I remember the first time I heard the original song it blew my mind. This version starts with a lone female voice – quiet and melodic, then suddenly, a choir blasts out the chorus. I don’t mind admitting that this atheist boy got lifted to the heavens!!
9. Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad
No this isn’t a typo, there are two versions of the song on the album. This one has two men singing with a laid back guitar in the background. Other instruments join in. The lyrics are very different and the singing evokes a western setting in America – night in the desert with a fire crackling. Midway through, the tempo quickens and a celestial sounding choir vocalises in the background. It is a very curious but special song.
10. We Are All Made of Stars
A very stripped back and mellower version than the original song. It has a jazz feel to it as though written to be performed in a late night club. Towards the end the track picks up and becomes more energised. It’s a nice version.
11. Lift Me Up
I wasn’t familiar with the 2005 version of this track, but upon listening to it I can see that it had a more consistent beat to it. The reprise version of Lift Me Up is once again full of orchestral riffs that make it very uplifting and spiritual.
12. The Great Escape
The earlier version of this song was from the album 18. It had a simple string accompaniment, whereas the reprise has more orchestral sounds that seem to make it more emotionally satisfying.
13. Almost Home
A very mellow song, that evokes the feeling of being lead down a grassy path through a forest towards a shining lake on a summer’s day – you didn’t know I was poetic did you??
14. The Last Day
Skylar Grey’s breathy voice brings a touch of laid back sexiness to this song. It’s dreamy, uplifting and emotional. How does it compare to the original? Well it’s more expansive, and emotionally charged.
Overall, I think Moby has done a fantastic job re-imagining his music. Each one is different to the former versions. This, I believe adds to the legacy of his music. I’m tempted to say he’s ‘improved’ the tracks, but perhaps the newness of them makes it feel that way.