Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt (Moby album)

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Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt
Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 2, 2018 (2018-03-02)
Recorded2016–17
StudioMoby's home studio (Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length56:29
Label
ProducerMoby
Moby chronology
More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse
(2017)
Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt
(2018)
Singles from Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt
  1. "Like a Motherless Child"
    Released: December 11, 2017 (2017-12-11)
  2. "Mere Anarchy"
    Released: January 29, 2018 (2018-01-29)
  3. "This Wild Darkness"
    Released: February 26, 2018 (2018-02-26)

Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt is the fifteenth studio album by American electronica musician Moby. It was released on March 2, 2018, through record labels Little Idiot and Mute.

Background[edit]

In 2016 and 2017, Moby released two albums with his musical project Moby & The Pacific Void Choir, These Systems Are Failing and More Fast Songs About the Apocalypse, which largely tackled Moby's views on the 2016 United States presidential election and the national political climate.[1][3] By contrast, Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt marks a stylistic and thematic retreat from the explicitly political, punk rock-influenced Pacific Void Choir records.[1][4] Eschewing overtly political themes, the songs on Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt explore themes of spirituality, individuality, and humanity.[5] According to Moby, he "disengaged" himself from politics in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, and discussing the election's influence on the album, he said: "After the election, rather than blow my brains out or move to Denmark, I took a step back and said, 'The common denominator to everything that's wrong is us, as a species.' The subtext of the 20th century, and into the 21st century, is making egregiously terrible choices when we know better. The record itself is — rather than looking at systems and rather than looking at politics — looking at who we are as a species."[4]

Moby further pointed to the album's thematic concept of "The dialectic between light and dark, between hard and vulnerable — I feel like that’s the best description of who we are at this point. We’re super vulnerable and super dangerous at the same time. We burn through all our resources, we create all this misery, and the end result is we’re not very happy. This lunatic party that we’ve had for the last 100 years of burning and destroying everything would almost be excusable if we were really, really happy. The music on this record is looking at that."[4] The title Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt is a reference to a line in Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five, one of Moby's favorite books; he was struck by the line's "utopian simplicity".[6] Two songs from the album, "Mere Anarchy" and "The Ceremony of Innocence", are named after lines from W. B. Yeats' 1919 poem "The Second Coming", which resonated with him as "a horrifying description of what we're going through".[4]

Production[edit]

Moby produced Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt in his home studio.[6] The album draws from Moby's musical roots, incorporating influences from trip hop, dub, soul, and gospel music,[1][4][5] with a less "noisy" approach inspired by Moby's fascination with exploring the boundaries of studio production.[4] He has cited the record's biggest musical influences as being "the studio based albums around in the 70s and early 80s – Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull's Broken English – pre-digital, where people would still use the studio like an instrument. Where they were playing around with synthesising and techniques but they were still working in the analogue realm".[2] Moby was also influenced by the production on certain post-punk, R&B, soul, and reggae records, particularly in their mixture of prominent vocals and experimental touches.[2] He aimed to incorporate "sonic imperfections" in producing the album's songs by utilizing older equipment.[4]

According to Sarah Bradbury of Clash, Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt finds Moby returning to his earlier "transcendental" electronica sound.[2] Steven J. Horowitz, in Billboard, describes the album as being driven by a "'90s trip-hop aesthetic",[1] while Neil Z. Yeung of AllMusic found it "mostly indebted to trip-hop and his pre-millennial output".[7]

Release[edit]

On December 11, 2017, Moby announced Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt's title and release date, with the album also being made available for pre-order.[1][8] The album was released on March 2, 2018, through record labels Little Idiot and Mute Records.[1][8][9][10][11][12]

The first single from Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, "Like a Motherless Child", was released on December 11, 2017, accompanying the announcement of the album.[8][13] It entered the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart, peaking at number 33 during the week of February 3, 2018.[14] The album's second single, "Mere Anarchy", was released on January 29, 2018.[15] "This Wild Darkness" was released as the album's third single on February 26, 2018.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.0/10[17]
Metacritic75/100[18]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[19]
The Independent3/5 stars[20]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[21]
London Evening Standard4/5 stars[22]
Mixmag6/10[23]
Pitchfork5.7/10[24]
PopMatters8/10[25]
Q4/5 stars[26]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[27]

Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 75 based on 16 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews”.[18] At Exclaim!, Luke Pearson called the record "a tasteful and mature evolution" and "a well-crafted, down-tempo album".[28] Neil Z. Young from AllMusic described the album as Moby's "depressed and introverted response to the subsequent societal fallout" surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and felt that despite the "overwhelming melancholy that drenches the album", it still remains a "gorgeous collection that is mostly indebted to trip-hop and his [Moby's] pre-millennial output".[7] Louise Bruton of The Irish Times called the record "Moby's most personal album yet" with its tracks deeply analysing the "human condition and the awfulness that that can inflict", especially with the lead single "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" associated with slave-era America.[21] London Evening Standard's Elizabeth Aubrey wrote that Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt was one of Moby's "most accessible albums in years" as he returned to his "orchestral trip-hop and gospel roots". She selected "Falling Rain and Light" and "The Ceremony of Innocence" as the "moments of hope" within the anguish-themed album.[22] Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph commended Moby's mastery of orchestrating a gospel choir in "The Wild Darkness" and building tracks to "euphoric release". He concluded the review by noting that, "despite its relentlessly downbeat content, Moby's music is just too satisfying to be depressing".[19] Mike Schiller of PopMatters found that many of the mid-tempo songs in the album could "slowly turn from a warm blanket into a test of endurance" especially with their "hazy and gauzy" production, but nonetheless was impressed by Moby's success in "turning despair and hopelessness into something engaging" for the record.[25] Raul Stanciu from Sputnikmusic praised the programming of the percussion used in the songs, which "really makes a difference not using the same tired beats all the time", while concluding that the album "flows surprisingly nice, unveiling a lot of strong material".[29] Ben Hogwood of musicOMH found the "instrumentation, beats, harmonies and tempi" to be familiar with Moby's previous works, but instead each track in Everything has "greater resolve and authenticity" which gives them "much more of a backbone".[30]

In a mixed review, Mixmag's Stephen Worthy saw a few "isolated sparkles" within the album, pointing out "Welcome To Hard Times" with its "sunny Balearic soul shuffle" and "The Tired And The Hurt" reminiscent of the piano in "Porcelain", but was disappointed with the "limp rap and doleful Burialisms" in "The Last Of Goodbyes" which sees Moby "pastiching his old self".[23] Maura Johnston from Rolling Stone remarked that Everything applied the "Moby ideal of soulful vocals and big beats to the not-all-that-farfetched idea of a post-apocalyptic landscape", with Moby's "brittle muttering" providing a "downcast contrast to the more honeyed approach of his guest vocalists".[27] Pitchfork's Sasha Geffen felt that although the record incorporated original vocal recordings over samples, the production "seem to hover eerily out of orbit". She also viewed songs that center on Moby's voice to be less powered and "anaemic" due to the "circuitousness of his lyrics", and closed the review by affirming that the album feels minor compared to Moby's earlier works despite its strengths.[24] Ilana Kaplan from The Independent welcomed the inclusion of female vocals on each track, which was "something that speaks volumes in 2018". She felt that despite Moby's monologues in "This Wild Darkness" incorporating "socially conscious connections", they still "overwrought and distract from his gorgeous soundscapes".[20] Robert Ham of Consequence of Sound commended the album for featuring "some of Moby’s most impassioned performances to date" and matching them with "lush, down-tempo production", but observed that the "dour messages and foreboding visions" overwhelmed the record "without some hope to balance it all out".[31]

Spin's Annie Zaleski deemed the record to be a "let down—the equivalent of a sad, deflated Mylar balloon" compared to Moby's previous "buoyant" albums, with the "burdens built into the music weigh[ing] it down". She saw the supposedly "trip-hop" influence as "facile", whereas the "sturdy hooks" and "promises of haunting emotional vistas" were not fully embraced.[32] Writing for The Times, Will Hodgkinson mentioned that "those mourning the loss of 1990s trip-hop will have their prayers answered", but felt that the record is "rather portentous and, frankly, a bit boring".[33]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Moby, except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Mere Anarchy" 5:15
2."The Waste of Suns"4:44
3."Like a Motherless Child" 4:37
4."The Last of Goodbyes" 4:23
5."The Ceremony of Innocence" 3:56
6."The Tired and the Hurt" 4:26
7."Welcome to Hard Times" 5:08
8."The Sorrow Tree" 4:28
9."Falling Rain and Light" 4:46
10."The Middle Is Gone" 5:13
11."This Wild Darkness" 4:09
12."A Dark Cloud Is Coming" 5:24
Total length:56:29

Personnel[edit]

Credits for Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt adapted from album liner notes.[34]

  • Moby – production, recording, writing, vocals, mixing on "Welcome to Hard Times"
  • Steve "Dub" Jones – mixing
  • Apollo Jane – vocals on "Welcome to Hard Times", "This Wild Darkness" and "A Dark Cloud Is Coming"
  • Mindy Jones – vocals on "Mere Anarchy", "The Waste of Suns", "The Last of Goodbyes", "The Tired and the Hurt" and "This Wild Darkness"
  • Julie Mintz – vocals on "The Sorrow Tree" and "Falling Rain and Light"
  • Brie O'Bannon – vocals on "This Wild Darkness"
  • Raquel Rodriguez – vocals on "Like a Motherless Child"

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[35] 36
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[36] 8
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[37] 24
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[38] 90
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[39] 38
Irish Albums (IRMA)[40] 56
New Zealand Heatseeker Albums (RMNZ)[41] 10
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[42] 42
Scottish Albums (OCC)[43] 16
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[44] 23
UK Albums (OCC)[45] 30
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[46] 1
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[47] 4
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[48] 7
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[49] 6

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Horowitz, Steven J. (December 11, 2017). "Moby Announces Trip-Hop-Inspired New Album 'Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt': Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Bradbury, Sarah (March 6, 2018). "Nothing Hurts: Moby's Persistent Progress". Clash. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  3. ^ Horowitz, Steven J. (October 12, 2016). "Moby Talks 'Fast Post-Punk' LP, Embracing Commercial Irrelevance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Brown, Eric Renner (February 27, 2018). "Moby says new album explores 'who we are as a species'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Moby Announces New Album Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt". Mute Records. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  6. ^ a b James (March 1, 2018). ""It's like every problem facing humanity is a problem created by humanity..." hmv.com talks to Moby". HMV. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Yeung, Neil Z. "Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt – Moby". AllMusic. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "news / moby announces new album and shares new single like a motherless child". Moby.com. December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  9. ^ Pearl, Max (December 11, 2017). "Moby announces new album, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt". Resident Advisor. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  10. ^ Wicks, Amanda (December 12, 2017). "Moby Announces New Album, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  11. ^ Kreps, Daniel (December 12, 2017). "Moby Announces New Album 'Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  12. ^ Slingerland, Calum (December 11, 2017). "Moby Unveils 'Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt' LP". Exclaim!. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  13. ^ "Like a Motherless Child (Edit) – Single by Moby". United States: iTunes Store. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "Moby Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "Mere Anarchy (Edit) – Single by Moby". United States: iTunes Store. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "This Wild Darkness (Edit) – Single by Moby". France: iTunes Store. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  17. ^ "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt by Moby reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt by Moby". Metacritic. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  19. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (March 1, 2018). "Moby offers the shared solace of sadness on his 15th album – review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Kaplan, Ilana (March 1, 2018). "Album reviews: Moby, The Breeders, Soccer Mommy and Camp Cope". The Independent. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Bruton, Louise (February 23, 2018). "Moby: Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt review – fragile beauty". The Irish Times. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Aubrey, Elizabeth (March 2, 2018). "Albums of the week: Moby, Gwenno and Jonathan Wilson – The week's biggest new releases, reviewed by our experts". London Evening Standard. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  23. ^ a b Worthy, Stephen (March 1, 2018). "Moby 'Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt' (Little Idiot)". Mixmag. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Geffen, Sasha (March 10, 2018). "Moby: Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  25. ^ a b Schiller, Mike (March 14, 2018). "With 'Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt' Moby Captures a Mood Utterly Appropriate for 2018". PopMatters. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  26. ^ Garner, George (May 2018). "Moby: Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt". Q (384): 111.
  27. ^ a b Johnston, Maura (March 2, 2018). "Review: Moby's 'Everything Was Beautiful' a Lovely Image of World Falling Apart". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  28. ^ Pearson, Luke (March 12, 2018). "Moby: Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt". Exclaim!. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  29. ^ Stanciu, Raul (March 4, 2018). "Review: Moby - Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  30. ^ Hogwood, Ben (March 2, 2018). "Moby – Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt". musicOMH. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  31. ^ Ham, Robert (March 2, 2018). "Moby Proves a Little Goes a Long Way on Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  32. ^ Zaleski, Annie (March 6, 2018). "Review: Moby's Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt Is an Uninspired Take on Trip-Hop". Spin. Archived from the original on June 9, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  33. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (March 2, 2018). "Pop review: Moby: Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt". The Sunday Times. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  34. ^ Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt (liner notes). Moby. Little Idiot. 2018. IDIOT060LP.
  35. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  37. ^ "Ultratop.be – Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  38. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  39. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  40. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Moby". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  41. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. March 12, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  42. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  43. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  44. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  45. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  46. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  47. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  48. ^ "Moby Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  49. ^ "Moby Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved March 13, 2018.

External links[edit]