Animal Rights (album)

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Animal Rights
Studio album by Moby
Released September 23, 1996
Genre Alternative rock,[1] hardcore punk,[2] ambient[1]
Length 53:05 (UK Edition)
49:48 (UK bonus CD called Little Idiot)
72:53 (US Edition with new tracks)
Label Mute (UK)
Elektra (US)
Producer Moby, Alan Moulder
Moby chronology
Rare: The Collected B-Sides 1989–1993
(1996)
Animal Rights
(1996)
I Like to Score
(1997)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A−[3]
Entertainment Weekly C+[4]
NME 8/10[5]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[6]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[7]
Sputnikmusic 3/5 stars

Animal Rights is the fourth studio album by American electronica musician Moby, released on September 23, 1996.

Background[edit]

Moby's decision to release a punk rock album was in part the result of being disillusioned by the lack of positive media feedback he had been receiving from the music media for his electronic works, which they struggled to comprehend and failed to take very seriously.[8] Ironically, just as Moby decided to change direction, the electronic music he moved away from started to gain recognition and popularity through artists like The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy.[8]

The album's liner notes contain various pictures (the cover photograph features Moby at two weeks old, being held by his grandfather), an essay on the course of basic rights over history, an essay outlining Moby's disregard for the Christian Coalition, and a page with various "last minute maxims", such as "cruelty is unacceptable" and "you can't expect people to worry about the world when they can't feed themselves or their children."

Reception[edit]

The album was poorly received upon its first release, however, in later years, it garnered generally positive reviews. Moby had earlier made his reputation with electronic music, but Animal Rights found him embracing punk rock and ambient music.

While most praised his attempt at diversifying, Salon.com writer Douglas Wolk, for instance, opines that the album "finds Moby falling on his nose" and concludes that "maybe somebody should try to convince Moby that guitars are actually made out of dead animals",[9] while Rolling Stone decides that "this time around, he has decided to push an agenda instead of boundaries". Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic suggests that Animal Rights "ranks as one of the classic failed albums, right alongside Sinéad O'Connor's big-band Am I Not Your Girl."[1] Seeming to expect its critical reception, Moby added the following entreaty to the bottom of the credits page: "please listen to animal rights in its entirety at least once."

According to manager Eric Härle, the album almost killed Moby's career because not only did the new direction leave audiences cold – with music media uninterested and his existing fan base largely alienated by it – but it led to people being confused as to what kind of artist Moby really was.[8] Having wiped out all his early good work in establishing himself, Moby was left struggling for any kind of recognition and quickly became seen as a "has-been" in the eyes of many people in the industry.[8]

On the Billboard Heatseekers chart, Animal Rights peaked at number 31.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Moby, except where noted. 

UK release
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Now I Let It Go"     2:08
2. "Come on Baby"     4:39
3. "Someone to Love"     2:51
4. "Heavy Flow"     1:54
5. "You"     2:33
6. "My Love Will Never Die"     4:32
7. "Soft"     3:57
8. "Say It's All Mine"     6:04
9. "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"   Clint Conley 3:55
10. "Face It"     10:01
11. "Living"     6:59
12. "Love Song for My Mom"     3:40
US release
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dead Sun"     3:40
2. "Someone to Love"     3:09
3. "Heavy Flow"     1:55
4. "You"     2:33
5. "Now I Let It Go"     2:09
6. "Come on Baby"     4:30
7. "Soft"     3:54
8. "Anima"     2:25
9. "Say It's All Mine"     6:04
10. "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"   Conley 3:55
11. "Alone"     10:45
12. "Face It"     10:00
13. "Old"     3:06
14. "Living"     6:58
15. "Love Song for My Mom"     3:38
16. "A Season in Hell"     3:57

Bonus disc: Little Idiot[edit]

Fans in the UK who were early enough to the record shops were treated to a 49 minute bonus CD called Little Idiot. Consisting entirely of drum-free ambient tracks, it was the second in a line of ambient bonus CDs (following from Underwater, which came with Everything Is Wrong). Little Idiot included reworkings of tracks from Animal Rights – it also features a drawing of Moby's character "Little Idiot", who would later appear on various music videos and single and album covers.

No. Title Length
1. "Degenerate"   3:25
2. "Dead City"   4:53
3. "Walnut"   3:06
4. "Old"   5:06
5. "A Season in Hell"   4:01
6. "Love Song for My Mom"   3:43
7. "The Blue Terror of Lawns"   3:22
8. "Dead Sun"   3:44
9. "Reject"   18:28

Singles[edit]

The album's first single, "That's When I Reach for My Revolver", was subject to some controversy. The original version by Mission of Burma read in part, "Tonight the sky is empty/But that is nothing new/Its dead eyes look upon us/And they tell me we're nothing but slaves." Moby changed the lyrics, whether intentionally or not; his most noticeable change was in the third line above, replacing it with "Instead they look upon us." The result was that he replaced a statement of agnosticism[citation needed] with a baffling non sequitur, though the change went generally unnoticed.

Controversy erupted when both the BBC and MTV asked Moby to change the lyrics of the song's title line – Moby rerecorded the song as "That's When I Realize It's Over" so it would air. Fans of the original were outraged; Moby defended himself, saying he didn't consider the change in lyrics to be very important. One of the album's "last minute maxims" is "freedom of speech is absolute and inviolate."

The single also featured a "Death Metal" version of the Devo classic "Whip It" on the B-Side.

The album featured a second single, "Come on Baby", which came out in early November 1996. Released on a myriad of formats, the double CD in a rubber sleeve is considered by many to be one of the better Moby rarities.

Personnel[edit]

  • Moby – guitar, bass guitar, percussion, drums, keyboards, producing, engineering, art director, designer, mixer, photographer
  • Alan Moulder – engineerer, mixer
  • Hahn Rowe – violin
  • Alli – art director

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Animal Rights - Moby". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Smith, Andrew (October 15, 2000). "Definitely Moby". The Observer. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ Robert Christgau. "CG: Moby". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Browne, David (21 February 1997). "Animal Rights Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  5. ^ NME (Magazine) (9/21/96, p.53) - 8 (out of 10) - "...an album apparently designed solely to irritate his many hapless detractors....an album of ferocious speed-rock made with big, fat, distorted guitars....This is the work of a man who is committed, not who should be."
  6. ^ Reed, Mark (19 May 2002). "Moby - Animal Rights". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Animal Rights | Album Reviews | Rolling Stone
  8. ^ a b c d Eric Härle (25 March 2003). "Interview with ERIC HÄRLE, manager at DEF for Moby, Sonique, Röyksopp - Mar 25, 2003". HitQuarters. Interview with Kimbel Bouwman. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Douglas Wolk. "Animal Rights". Salon. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Animal Rights > Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Rovi. Retrieved 11 February 2012.