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Honey (Moby song)

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"Honey"
HoneyMoby.jpg
Single by Moby
from the album Play
B-side
  • "Micronesia"
  • "Memory Gospel"
ReleasedAugust 24, 1998
Format
RecordedMarch 1998 at Moby's home studio (Manhattan, New York)
Genre
Length3:27 (album version)
3:18 (single version)
3:00 (radio edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Moby
Moby singles chronology
"James Bond Theme (Moby's Re-Version)"
(1997)
"Honey"
(1998)
"Run On"
(1998)

"Honey" is a song by American electronica musician Moby. It was released as the first single from his fifth studio album Play on August 24, 1998. The song incorporates vocal samples from "Sometimes" by American blues singer Bessie Jones, while its instrumentation is built around a repeating piano riff sampled from the song "Woman to Woman" by Joe Cocker (released in 1972). Moby discovered the "Sometimes" sample while listening to albums of folk music recordings compiled by field collector Alan Lomax. He subsequently composed "Honey", along with several other songs from Play, using the Lomax recordings.

"Honey" was generally well received by music critics, many of whom cited it as a highlight of Play in reviews of the album. Upon release, it peaked at number 33 on the UK Singles Chart and also charted in several other countries, including Austria and Germany. The song's music video, directed by Roman Coppola, depicts three duplicates of Moby venturing through various locations. "Honey" was later remixed to feature vocals from American R&B singer Kelis.

Background and composition[edit]

Moby composed "Honey" for his fifth studio album Play after listening to a box set of folk music songs compiled by field collector Alan Lomax.[1] He developed an interest in the a cappella songs recorded by Lomax and subsequently wrote "Honey" in "about 10 minutes."[1] Lomax recordings were also used as the basis for several other songs from Play, including "Find My Baby" and "Natural Blues".[2] After producing "Honey", Moby commissioned Brazilian record producer Mario Caldato Jr. to carry out its mixing process; he had heard of Caldato from his work on American hip hop group Beastie Boys' 1998 album Hello Nasty,[1] and later recounted:

I was hanging out at Max Fish and Mars Bar and Motor City drinking with the few remaining people in New York who would still hang out with me. At this time the Beasties had Hello Nasty, which was doing incredibly well, and I just couldn't believe that Mario Caldato Jr. was willing to work with me.[1]

"Honey" features a piano-driven beat and additional instrumentation performed by Moby himself, including original slide guitar parts.[3][4] The song is built around samples of American blues singer Bessie Jones' 1960 song "Sometimes", from the Alan Lomax compilation Sounds of the South.[5][6] Jones and Lomax receive co-writing credits on "Honey".[7] The samples consist of several lines performed by Jones, each followed by a group of voices responding "sometime" – the lines are repeated, harmonized and orchestrated in different ways throughout the course of the song.[8] Moby has said that the vocals are meant to "convey female sex."[9] Other musical elements incorporated in "Honey" include hand claps, vinyl record scratches and synthesized strings.[10] John Bush of AllMusic notes the song's mixture of sampled blues music with "breakbeat techno."[11]

Critical reception[edit]

"Honey" received generally positive reviews from music critics. Frank Owen of The Village Voice called the song a "mesmerizing floor-filler, arousing memories of Hamilton Bohannon's hypnotic '70s metronome funk."[12] Alexandra Marshall of MTV wrote that its samples of "Sometimes" "work both as ingredients in a sonic collage and stay totally recognizable at the same time".[13] A writer for The Guardian praised "Honey" as "joyous, hypnotic, romping blues",[14] while reviews from NME described the song as a "sparkling diamond" and a "natural born dancefloor groove".[14][15] In his book I Hear America Singing: An Introduction to Popular Music, author David Kastin notes that "Honey" was often singled out in reviews of Play for special praise.[16] Jim Sullivan of The Boston Globe cited "Honey" as a highlight song from Play,[17] while Gene Stout of Seattle Post-Intelligencer called it "one of the album's most riveting tracks."[18] The song ranked at number twenty-four on The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics' poll for singles.[19] On their year-end list, Spin named "Honey" the tenth best single of 1999.[20]

Release[edit]

American R&B singer Kelis performed vocals on a remix of "Honey".

"Honey" was released as the lead single from Play on August 24, 1998 in Europe, months prior to the release of the album.[21] Different remixes of the song were produced by various artists, including Rollo Armstrong, Sister Bliss, WestBam, Sharam Jey, Mickey Finn and Moby himself.[22] Instead of selecting remixes for inclusion on issues of the "Honey" physical single, Moby and his label Mute Records ultimately opted to release all of them commercially.[22] "Honey" was released in several other European countries the following month; several radio stations refused to play the song, however, with Moby later saying:

The song "Honey" was a single we put out in Europe in September, and a lot of radio stations wouldn't play it because they said it was an instrumental dance track. I listen to it and all I hear is singing. Are they talking about the same song?[23]

Despite minimal European radio support, "Honey" managed to chart in several countries within the continent. The song debuted and peaked at number 33 on the UK Singles Chart for the issue dated September 5, 1998.[24] It achieved its highest chart placement in Austria, where it peaked at number 30,[25] and also charted in Germany and the Netherlands.[26][27] Outside Europe, "Honey" charted at number 95 in Australia,[28] as well as at number 49 on the United States Billboard Dance/Electronic Singles Sales chart as a double A-side release with "Run On".[29][30] Moby later collaborated with American R&B singer Kelis for a remix of "Honey" on which she provided additional vocals.[31] Additional production and remixing was provided by Fafu.[32] The remix was released as a double A-side single with "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" on October 16, 2000 and peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart.[33][34] It was also issued as a double A-side single with "Porcelain" in Australia, where it peaked at number 56.[30]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Honey" was directed by Roman Coppola.[35] It opens with a wooden box falling from the sky – upon hitting the ground, three clones of Moby dressed in suits emerge and make their way towards a city. One spots a car and walks toward it, but accidentally drops a map in his possession. Crawling underneath the car to retrieve it, the Moby clone soon finds himself in a bathing woman's apartment room – he manages to obtain the map and exit the room before the woman discovers his presence. He enters another room, followed by his duplicates, and jumps out the window.[36]

The other two clones are then seen in a forest – one walks behind a tree and reappears dressed in casual attire. He climbs another tree and ends up in the bathroom of the woman's apartment, where he retrieves a package. The clone then crawls underneath her bed and finds himself underneath a car; he opens the package and finds a gasoline can, which he pours into a compartment located behind the car's license plate. All three clones enter the car and drive to the box, which they step back into; the video concludes with the box's explosion.[36]

Track listing[edit]

Original version[edit]

Remix[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Weingarten, Christopher R. (July 2, 2009). "'Play' 10 Years Later: Moby's Track by Track Guide to 1999's Global Smash". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  2. ^ Leiby, Richard (August 9, 2000). "Reused Blues". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Aaron, Charles (July 1999). "The Agony And The Ecstasy". Spin. New York: 125. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Strauss, Neil (June 9, 1999). "The Pop Life; After 'Go,' Moby Went". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  5. ^ Play (liner notes). Moby. V2 Records. 1999. 63881-27049-2.
  6. ^ Bauder, David (August 30, 1999). "Old Sounds Fuel Moby's Modern Music". The Hour. New York. Associated Press. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Play: The DVD (liner notes). Moby. Mute Records. 2001. 7243 4 92573 9 9.
  8. ^ d'Escriván 2012, p. 114.
  9. ^ Amorosi, A.D. (July 22, 1999). "Ghosts in the Machine". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  10. ^ Aaron, Charles (February 1999). "Singles". Spin. New York: 111. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  11. ^ Bush, John. "Moby – Play". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  12. ^ Owen, Frank (June 8, 1999). "Blues for Jesus". The Village Voice. New York. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  13. ^ Marshall, Alexandra (February 23, 2001). "Play". MTV. Archived from the original on February 3, 2002. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Moby". Contactmusic. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Cigarettes, Johnny (May 15, 1999). "Moby – Play". NME. London: 31. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  16. ^ Kastin 2002, p. 7.
  17. ^ Sullivan, Jim (August 27, 1999). "Moby ricochets between genres". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 14, 2013. (Subscription required (help)).
  18. ^ Stout, Gene (August 3, 2001). "Moby Is In Spotlight At Electronic-Music Fest. (What's Happening)". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved May 14, 2013. (Subscription required (help)).
  19. ^ "The 1999 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 22, 2000. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  20. ^ "Spin: The Year In Music 1999". Spin. New York: 5. January 2000.
  21. ^ "Honey". Germany: Amazon. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Interview: Moby". Slow. Norwich (5). December 2001. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  23. ^ Klein, Joshua (June 2, 1999). "Moby". The A.V. Club. Chicago. Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Moby – Honey" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  26. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Moby – Honey". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  27. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Moby – Honey" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  28. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Moonlight Publishing.
  29. ^ a b "Moby – Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013.
  30. ^ a b c "The ARIA Report: Issue 566 (Week Commencing 1 January 2001)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. p. 4. Archived from the original on 21 February 2002. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  31. ^ "The J Files Moby Fact Sheet". Triple J. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  32. ^ Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? / Honey (Remix) (back cover). Moby featuring Kelis. Mute Records. 2000. CDMUTE255.
  33. ^ "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad (CD – Mute #CDMUTE-255) – Moby". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  34. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  35. ^ Play: The DVD (back cover). Moby. Mute Records. 2001. 7243 4 92573 9 9.
  36. ^ a b "Moby – Honey". Vevo. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  37. ^ "Honey [CD 1]". United Kingdom: Amazon. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  38. ^ "Honey [CD 2]". United Kingdom: Amazon. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  39. ^ "Moby – Honey – Mute Records Ltd". United Kingdom: Amazon. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  40. ^ "Honey / Run On / Memory Gospel: Moby". United States: Amazon. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  41. ^ "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? [CD 1] [CD 1]". United Kingdom: Amazon. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  42. ^ "Honey / Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? [CD 2]". United Kingdom: Amazon. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  43. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  44. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  45. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 7, 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]