Moon Safari

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Moon Safari
Studio album by Air
Released 16 January 1998 (1998-01-16)
Recorded April – June 1997
Studio Around the Golf and Studio Gang in Paris; strings recorded at
Abbey Road in London; mixed at
Studio Plus XXX in Paris; mastered at the Exchange in Camden
Genre Downtempo[1]
Length 43:35
Label Virgin, Caroline, Parlophone, Astralwerks
Producer Air
Air chronology
Premiers Symptômes
(1997)Premiers Symptômes1997
Moon Safari
The Virgin Suicides
(2000)The Virgin Suicides2000

Moon Safari is the debut studio album by French electronic music duo Air, released on 16 January 1998. On 14 April 2008, Virgin Records re-released Moon Safari to mark the album's tenth anniversary. The limited edition album came with a bound book, a DVD documentary about the duo, and an extra CD with live performances and remixes.

Moon Safari was acclaimed by critics and remains Air's most renowned release. Moon Safari is credited with setting the stage for the budding downtempo music style and, according to Nielsen SoundScan, had sold 364,000 copies by 2009.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly A−[4]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[5]
NME 8/10[6]
Pitchfork Media 7.9/10[7]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[9]
Spin 7/10[10]
The Village Voice A−[11]

Moon Safari was met with general acclaim upon its release. John Mulvey, writing for NME, praised Air's "sensitive but tenacious grasp of melody, a laid-back disposition and a reckless way with a Vocoder that makes them unafraid of sounding like a digital ELO," also noting similarities to Garbage on "Sexy Boy" and Beth Orton on "All I Need".[6] Entertainment Weekly's Ethan Smith felt that though the album occasionally bears excessive resemblance to Everything but the Girl, "Air leaven it all with a welcome dash of Gallic irony."[4] Pitchfork writer Brent DiCrescenzo remarked that the music would befit "minimalist architecture design, shagging up against a tree in a field of sunflowers, waiting in line for 'Space Mountain,' drinking gin upstairs in a 747 (circa 1974), and '60s Swedish industrial documentaries," adding that though the album is "too cheeky" for everyday listening, it is nonetheless romantic.[7]

Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield was more reserved in his praise, praising the album's stylistic range and the instrumental songs but calling the group "obsessive."[8] (Retrospectively in its album guide, Rolling Stone awarded the album 4.5 stars.) Likewise, Spin's Jeff Salamon felt that though the album's pathos is "heartening", the music lacks irony.[10]


Moon Safari was voted as the best album of the year in The Face and in Select. It featured in top ten lists for magazines like Spin, Melody Maker, NME and Mojo. On aggregation site Acclaimed Music's list of the most recommended albums of all time, Moon Safari ranks 139th, the highest rank achieved by Air[12] and by a French album in general.[13] Rolling Stone magazine later ranked the album at number 93 on their list of the best albums of the 1990s,[14] while the magazine's French edition ranked it at number 65 on their "100 Greatest French Rock Albums" list.[15] In a retrospective review, John Bush of AllMusic commented that Moon Safari "delivered the emotional power of great dance music even while pushing the barriers of what 'electronica' could or should sound like", and that the album "proved they could also write accessible pop songs like 'Sexy Boy' and 'Kelly Watch the Stars'" while also containing successful experiments with less pop-oriented material.[2]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All tracks written by Air, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) English translation Length
1. "La femme d'argent"   The Silver Woman/The Money Girl 7:10
2. "Sexy Boy"     4:57
3. "All I Need" lyrics by Beth Hirsch   4:28
4. "Kelly Watch the Stars"     3:44
5. "Talisman"     4:16
6. "Remember" co-written with Jean-Jacques Perrey   2:34
7. "You Make It Easy" lyrics by Hirsch   4:00
8. "Ce matin là" co-written with Patrick Woodcock That Morning 3:38
9. "New Star in the Sky (Chanson pour Solal)"   Song for Solal 5:38
10. "Le voyage de Pénélope"   Penelope's Voyage 3:10

10th anniversary rerelease (2008)[edit]

Bonus Disc[16]
No. Title English translation Length
1. "Remember" (David Whitaker Version)   2:25
2. "Kelly Watch the Stars" (Live on the BBC, 1998)   2:44
3. "J'ai dormi sous l'eau" (Live on the BBC, 1998) I Slept Under Water 4:10
4. "Sexy Boy" (Live on the BBC, 1998)   3:10
5. "Kelly, Watch the Stars" (The Moog Cookbook Remix)   5:40
6. "Trente millions d'amis" (Live on KCRW radio, 1998) Thirty Million Friends 4:34
7. "You Make It Easy" (Live on KCRW, 1998)   4:45
8. "Bossa 96" (Demo)   4:44
9. "Kelly, Watch the Stars" (Demo)   3:46
10. "Sexy Boy" (Beck "Sex Kino Mix")   6:36
  • "Eating Sleeping Waiting & Playing" by Mike Mills.
  • Music videos for "Sexy Boy", "Kelly Watch the Stars", "All I Need", and "Le soleil est près de moi" (from the Premiers Symptômes EP).
  • Graphics and storyboards.


  • Jean-Benoît Dunckel – keyboards, synths, organ, vocals, piano, pan pipes, hand claps, glockenspiel
  • Nicolas Godin – bass, synths, percussion, vocals, guitar, hand claps, harmonica, glockenspiel, piano, organ, pan pipes, drums
  • Beth Hirsch – vocals
  • Enfants square Burcq – vocals
  • Alf (a.k.a. Stephane Briat) – hand claps
  • Caroline L. – hand claps
  • Marlon – drums
  • Eric Regert – organ
  • David Whitaker – string arrangement, conducting
  • P. Woodcock – guitar, trombone



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  2. ^ a b Bush, John. "Moon Safari – Air". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  4. ^ a b Smith, Ethan (6 February 1998). "Moon Safari". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Kershaw, Matthew (16 January 1998). "Oxygène junkies". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ a b Mulvey, John (17 January 1998). "Air: Moon Safari / Kid Loco: A Grand Love Story". NME: 38. Archived from the original on 17 August 2000. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  7. ^ a b DiCrescenzo, Brent. "Air: Moon Safari". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 20 October 2002. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (7 January 1998). "Air: Moon Safari". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  9. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  10. ^ a b Salamon, Jeff (February 1998). "Bugs: Infinite Syndrome / Air: Moon Safari". Spin. 14 (2): 108. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert (23 February 1999). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Air". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Top Albums from France". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Air, 'Moon Safari' – 100 Best Albums of the Nineties". Rolling Stone. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Magazine Rolling Stone, n°18 of February 2010, ISSN 1764-1071
  16. ^ Moon Safari at Discogs
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  30. ^ "Certifications Albums Or – année 2001" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 19 December 2001. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2012. 
  31. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. 25 February 2000. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2012.