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Review: "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" - Moby

by Joe McIndoe,

Moby returns with the overly downbeat studio album Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt.

With his previous effort, More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse, the American's sort to vent his frustrations about the political landscape his country finds itself in.

This time around the musician/producer is keen to explore the human condition and why society makes the catastrophic decisions it does. The LP's promotion describes it as “a glowing tapestry exploring spirituality, individuality and the brokenness of humanity”.

A shift in focus from Moby, but it’s no less bleak. Across the dozen Trip-hop influenced songs there is discussions of, loneliness, sorrow, despair, and failure.

In ‘Like a Motherless Child’ the native New Yorker intones:

“Don't know my needs, don't know my ways so I hide my face, no way to face her This was loss,…”.
As with most of the work the producer’s almost spoken vocals manage a dole weariness, in keeping with the mood.

The gospel influenced ‘Welcome to Hard Times’ finds a sweet voiced guest vocalist awaiting the world’s apocalyptic end, all the while wondering why the divine promise, of love and truth never materialized.

This recurring motif is also used to good effect in a prior offering ‘The Last of Goodbyes’. As Moby again laments the blind and ignorant world we live in, female vocals provide the listener musical serenity and the chance to escape the darkness.

In some ways the record feels like a spin-off to Gary Numan’s Savage: Songs From A Broken World. The booming electronic sound of ‘The Sorrow Tree’, wouldn’t sound out of place on Numan’s latest effort, and thematically it’s just as grey and oppressive. It’s as if, for this ditty, the only way for the protagonists to be together in love is to exit this mortal realm.

Although the 52-year-old forgoes the Englishman’s war-torn future, it’s clear both men came to the same dour conclusion. Humanities down in the doldrums.

In much of the hour listening time the artist is resigned to despair, often crying out for the betterment of himself and for the world, but never truly finding it.

‘The Middle Is Gone’ sees its storyteller trapped within his faults, the rat race, and a sense of pointlessness. The interesting blues bookend, ‘A Dark Cloud Is Coming ensures there is no let up from the doom and gloom. salvation is sort for one last time and found to be absent.

For the most part it’s a solid LP that uses a few effective tools to drive home its sentiments. sadly though, after 12 tracks the album not only feels bleak, but a little one note.