Animal Rights (album)

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Animal Rights
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 23, 1996 (1996-09-23)
RecordedSummer 1995 – Spring 1996 in Manhattan, New York
  • 53:13 (UK release)
  • 72:38 (US release)
Moby chronology
Rare: The Collected B-Sides 1989–1993
Animal Rights
I Like to Score
Singles from Animal Rights
  1. "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"
    Released: August 26, 1996 (1996-08-26)
  2. "Come On Baby"
    Released: November 4, 1996 (1996-11-04)

Animal Rights is the fourth studio album by American musician Moby, released on September 23, 1996. The album was a temporary style shift from the electronica music that Moby had previously released to an alternative rock sound influenced by the hardcore punk music that he had enjoyed as a teenager.[3] The album was released to mediocre critical reviews and commercial performance.[3]


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.[4] Moby had previous experience performing rock music, having been a member of the groups Vatican Commandos and Ultra Vivid Scene in the 1980s.[5][6][7]

The album was recorded between the summer of 1995 and spring of 1996 in Manhattan, New York. Moby worked alongside Alan Moulder in the making of the album.[8] 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.[4]


The cover photograph features Moby at two weeks old, being held by his grandfather. The album's liner notes contain various pictures, 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."


The first single from Animal Rights, released on August 26, 1996, was a cover of Mission of Burma's 1981 song "That's When I Reach for My Revolver". The single peaked at number 50 on the UK Singles Chart.[9]

On September 23, 1996, Animal Rights was released in the United Kingdom, where it charted at number 38 on the UK Albums Chart.[10] The first batch of released copies in the United Kingdom were packaged with 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 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. A second single from Animal Rights, "Come On Baby", was released on November 4, 1996, but failed to chart.

Animal Rights was not released in Moby's native United States until five months later on February 11, 1997. The album failed to chart on the Billboard 200, but reached number 31 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.[11] Moby toured the record as the opening act for Soundgarden on their Down on the Upside tour, where he was met with largely unreceptive audiences.[3] He also undertook a separate promotional tour for Animal Rights, where, he later recalled, he found himself playing to "roughly 50 people a night".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[1]
Chicago Sun-Times2.5/4 stars[12]
Entertainment WeeklyC+[13]
The Guardian2/5 stars[14]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[15]
Mojo3/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[18]
The Village VoiceA−[20]

Animal Rights received generally negative reviews upon its first release.[3] Moby had earlier made his reputation with electronic music, but Animal Rights found him embracing punk rock and ambient music. While most critics praised his attempt at diversifying, Salon's Douglas Wolk opined that Animal Rights "finds Moby falling on his nose" and concluded that "maybe somebody should try to convince Moby that guitars are actually made out of dead animals",[21] while Rolling Stone's Lorraine Ali felt that "this time around, he has decided to push an agenda instead of boundaries".[18] However, James Oldham of NME wrote that "Animal Rights is a brave, turbulent and consistently exhilarating record",[17] and Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, said that the two discs "enrich and play off each other with the flow and coherence Everything Is Wrong lacks".[20] Seeming to expect a negative critical reaction, Moby added the following entreaty to the bottom of the credits page: "please listen to animal rights in its entirety at least once."[22]


According to Moby's manager Eric Härle, Animal Rights nearly ended 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.[4] Having "wipe[d] out all of 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.[4] In an interview for Rolling Stone, Moby admitted that the failure of Animal Rights, combined with the negative reception he received from Soundgarden's fanbase while touring the album, led him to consider quitting music.[3] However, he chose to continue his career after other artists, including Terence Trent D'Arby, Axl Rose and Bono, personally told him they enjoyed the album.[3] By 2002, Animal Rights had sold 100,000 copies worldwide.[23]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote 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] On the other hand, Drowned in Sound critic Mark Reed, in a 2002 retrospective review, suggested that Animal Rights had been unfairly lambasted by contemporary critics for being unrepresentative of Moby's capabilities and for "daring to go against the grain", describing it as "one of the most underbought, underrated, unusual albums a major recording artist has ever produced."[24] Additionally, despite the negative critical reaction, Moby has since named Animal Rights as his favorite album of his.[25]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Moby, except where noted.

UK release
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 Conley3:55
10."Face It" 10:01
11."Living" 6:59
12."Love Song for My Mom" 3:40
Total length:53:13
US release
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"Conley3:55
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
Total length:72:38
Japanese bonus track[26][27]
17."New Dawn Fades"5:32
Bonus disc: Little Idiot
2."Dead City"4:53
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
Total length:49:48


Credits for Animal Rights adapted from album liner notes.[22]

Artwork and design
  • Damien Loeb – booklet back cover photography, logo design
  • Moby – art direction, logo design, photography
  • Alli Truch – art direction


Chart (1996–97) Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[28] 41
Scottish Albums (OCC)[29] 45
UK Albums (OCC)[10] 38
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[11] 31


  1. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Animal Rights – Moby". AllMusic. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  2. ^ Smith, Andrew (October 15, 2000). "Definitely Moby". The Observer. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Weingarten, Christopher (July 2, 2009). ""Play" 10 Years Later: Moby's Track by Track Guide to 1999's Global Smash". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Bouwman, Kimbel (March 25, 2003). "Interview with Eric Härle, manager at DEF for Moby, Sonique, Röyksopp". HitQuarters. Archived from the original on June 9, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  5. ^ "Moby reuniting w/ Vatican Commandos for a CT NYC hardcore show + D.I. dates, boat shows, 45 Grave, Jello & more". BrooklynVegan. May 12, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  6. ^ "120 Reasons to Live: Ultra Vivid Scene". Magnet. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  7. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). "Moby". The Rough Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to More Than 1200 Artists and Bands (3rd ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 683. ISBN 978-1-84353-105-0. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  8. ^ Moby (2016). Porcelain: A Memoir. Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-59420-642-9.
  9. ^ "Moby". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Moby Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  12. ^ Kim, Jae-Ha (February 9, 1997). "Moby, 'Animal Rights' (Elektra)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 18, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  13. ^ Browne, David (February 21, 1997). "Animal Rights". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Bennun, David (September 20, 1996). "Moby: Animal Rights (Mute)". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Scribner, Sara (February 9, 1997). "Moby, 'Animal Rights,' Elektra". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  16. ^ Prior, Clive (July 2016). "Moby: Animal Rights". Mojo (272): 109.
  17. ^ a b Oldham, James (September 21, 1996). "Moby – Animal Rights". NME. Archived from the original on September 30, 2000. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Ali, Lorraine (January 23, 1997). "Animal Rights". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  19. ^ Hunter, James (March 1997). "Moby: Animal Rights". Spin. 12 (12): 101. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (May 27, 1997). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  21. ^ Wolk, Douglas (March 13, 1997). "Animal Rights". Salon. Retrieved September 29, 2011.,
  22. ^ a b Animal Rights (liner notes). Moby. Mute Records. 1996. STUMM 150.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  23. ^ Flick, Larry (April 13, 2002). "Moby Opts For More Warmth, Less Attitude". Billboard. 114 (15): 12. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  24. ^ Reed, Mark (May 19, 2002). "Album Review: Moby – Animal Rights". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  25. ^ Lindsay, Cam (June 16, 2016). "Rank Your Records: Moby Spontaneously Ranks His Nine Records". Vice. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ " – Moby – Animal Rights" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 9, 2019.

External links[edit]