Moon Safari

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Moon Safari
Studio album by
Released16 January 1998 (1998-01-16)
RecordedApril – June 1997
StudioAround 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
Air chronology
Premiers Symptômes
Moon Safari
The Virgin Suicides

Moon Safari is the debut studio album by French electronic music duo Air, released on 16 January 1998. Virgin Records re-released Moon Safari on 14 April 2008 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. As of 2012 it has sold 386,000 copies in United States according to Nielsen SoundScan.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[8]
The Guardian4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[13]
The Village VoiceA−[15]

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 Hirsch on "All I Need".[10] 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."[8] 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.[11]

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."[12] (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.[14]


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[16] and by a French album in general.[17] Rolling Stone magazine later ranked the album at number 93 on their list of the best albums of the 1990s,[18] while the magazine's French edition ranked it at number 65 on their "100 Greatest French Rock Albums" list.[19] 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.[1] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[20]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All tracks written by Air, except where noted.

No.TitleWriter(s)English translationLength
1."La femme d'argent" The Silver Woman/The Money Girl7:10
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 WoodcockThat Morning3:38
9."New Star in the Sky (Chanson pour Solal)" Song for Solal5:38
10."Le voyage de Pénélope" Penelope's Voyage3:10


10th Anniversary rerelease (2008)[edit]

Bonus disc[21]
No.TitleEnglish translationLength
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 Water4:10
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 Friends4:34
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


Chart (1998–99) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[22] 24
Austrian Albums Chart[23] 20
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[24] 48
Dutch Albums Chart[25] 27
French Albums Chart[26] 21
German Albums Chart[27] 56
Irish Albums Chart[28] 7
New Zealand Albums Chart[29] 34
Norwegian Albums Chart[30] 13
Swedish Albums Chart[31] 52
Swiss Albums Chart[32] 46
UK Albums Chart[33] 6
US Top Heatseekers[34] 41

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[35] Gold 35,000^
Belgium (BEA)[36] Platinum 50,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[37] 2× Platinum 40,000^
France (SNEP)[38] Gold 217,100 [39]*
Germany (BVMI)[40] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[41] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[42] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] N/A 386,000[45]
Worldwide (IFPI) N/A 2,000,000[46]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b c Bush, John. "Moon Safari – Air". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  2. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (31 January 2012). "Air". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  3. ^ Beaumont, Michael (20 October 2003). "Bent: The Everlasting Blink". PopMatters. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  4. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (29 February 2000). "Air: The Virgin Suicides". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  5. ^ "100 Best Albums of the '90s: Air, 'Moon Safari'". Rolling Stone. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  8. ^ a b Smith, Ethan (6 February 1998). "Moon Safari". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  9. ^ Kershaw, Matthew (16 January 1998). "Oxygène junkies". The Guardian.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b DiCrescenzo, Brent. "Air: Moon Safari". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 20 October 2002. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  12. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (7 January 1998). "Air: Moon Safari". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Air". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ a b Salamon, Jeff (February 1998). "Bugs: Infinite Syndrome / Air: Moon Safari". Spin. 14 (2): 108. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (23 February 1999). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Air". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  17. ^ "Top Albums from France". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  18. ^ "Air, 'Moon Safari' – 100 Best Albums of the Nineties". Rolling Stone. 27 April 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  19. ^ Magazine Rolling Stone, n°18 of February 2010, ISSN 1764-1071
  20. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  21. ^ Moon Safari at Discogs
  22. ^ "Air – Moon Safari". Australian Recording Industry Association. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  23. ^ "Air – Moon Safari" (in German). IFPI Austria. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  24. ^ "Air – Moon Safari" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Air – Moon Safari" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  26. ^ "Air – Moon Safari" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  27. ^ "Air, Moon Safari" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  28. ^ "Discography Air". Irish Recorded Music Association. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  29. ^ "Air – Moon Safari". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  30. ^ "Air – Moon Safari". Verdens Gang. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  31. ^ "Air – Moon Safari". Media Control. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  32. ^ "Air – Moon Safari". Media Control. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  33. ^ "Air – Moon Safari". Official Charts Company. Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  34. ^ "Moon Safari – Air – Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  35. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2000 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  36. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 2007". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  37. ^ "Danish album certifications – Air – Moon Safari". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 6 November 2018. Scroll through the page-list below until year 2018 to obtain certification.
  38. ^ "French album certifications – Air – Moon Safari" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Air; 'Moon Safari')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  41. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Air – Moon Safari" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 6 August 2018. Enter Moon Safari in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  42. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Air; 'Moon Safari')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Air – Moon Safari". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 November 2017. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Moon Safari in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ "American album certifications – Air – Moon Safari". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  45. ^
  46. ^