Natural Blues

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"Natural Blues"
2000 Natural Blues.jpeg
Single by Moby
from the album Play
B-side
  • "The Whispering Wind"
  • "Sick in the System"
ReleasedMarch 6, 2000
Format
Recorded1998 at Moby's home studio (Manhattan, New York)
Length
  • 4:12 (album version)
  • 3:03 (single version)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Moby
Moby singles chronology
"Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?"
(1999)
"Natural Blues"
(2000)
"Porcelain"
(2000)
Alternative cover
German CD maxi-single
German CD maxi-single

"Natural Blues" is a song by American electronic musician Moby. It was released as the fifth single from his fifth studio album Play on March 6, 2000.[1] The song is built around vocals sampled from "Trouble So Hard" by American folk singer Vera Hall. "Natural Blues" was one of several songs on Play produced by Moby based on samples obtained from albums of American folk music originally compiled by field collector Alan Lomax.

The single was first released in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart. In Iceland it peaked at number 1.

Background and composition[edit]

"Natural Blues" was produced by Moby for his fifth studio album Play, and contains samples from "Trouble So Hard" by American folk singer Vera Hall.[2] Moby obtained the samples from a box set of folk music compiled by field collector Alan Lomax,[3] and Hall and Lomax receive co-writing credits on the track.[4][5] "Natural Blues", described Moby as a "quite ethereal and mournful" song, is built around loops of Hall's vocals from the original recording.[6][7] Moby had difficulties mixing the track and as a result he considered not including it on Play, but he eventually produced a satisfactory mix with assistance from the British duo 1 Giant Leap.[7] English electronic music group I Monster are also credited with mixing duties.[2]

Music videos[edit]

Photographer and filmmaker David LaChapelle directed the accompanying promotional music video for "Natural Blues".[8] LaChapelle had first indicated his interest in directing the video, and Moby, while a fan of his work, expressed hesitance at the idea due to the "bright and flashy" nature of his prior work, which he felt would not suit the song.[8] However, LaChapelle reassured Moby that his vision for the video was "something quite subdued and earnest".[8] The video depicts an elderly, wheelchair-bound version of Moby in a retirement home watching video clips of himself as a young man.[9] Fairuza Balk plays Moby's girlfriend in several of the clips.[10] Eventually, an angelic figure, played by Christina Ricci, appears and carries him away.[10]

As a child, LaChapelle made frequent visits to a retirement community where his mother worked as a nurse.[11] He directly took the inspiration for the video's concept from a nightmare in which he found himself elderly, confined to a wheelchair, and left in a hallway with many other senior citizens, unable to move.[11] LaChapelle interpreted the song as sounding "like someone at the end of their life, reconciling with being at the end of their life" and felt that the retirement home concept suited the video.[11] He added: "I was thinking that you can have this fabulous life, young and having fun, and in 60 years, who the hell knows where we could be? We could all be forgotten, warehoused somewhere."[11] Extensive make-up was used on Moby to give him his elderly appearance in the video.[8] The video later won the award for Best Video at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards,[12] while also receiving a nomination for Best International Video at the 2000 MuchMusic Video Awards.[13]

An alternate animated music video was also directed by Susi Wilkinson, Hotessa Laurence, and Filipe Alçada in the same style and featuring the same characters as in the music video for Moby's prior single "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?".[14]

Covers[edit]

A cover of "Natural Blues" performed live at First Avenue by American musician Mark Mallman was released on his 2003 album Live from First Avenue, Minneapolis.[15]

Track listing[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Moby – Let Us Play!". NME. February 21, 2000. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Play (liner notes). Moby. V2 Records. 1999. 63881-27049-2.
  3. ^ Leiby, Richard (August 9, 2000). "Reused Blues". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ Play: The DVD (liner notes). Moby. Mute Records. 2001. 7243 4 92573 9 9.
  5. ^ "Natural Blues (BMI Work #5028465)". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Knopper, Steve (August 4, 2000). "Bernard Allison, Otha Turner jam in totally opposite ways". Knight Ridder. Retrieved February 25, 2018. (Subscription required (help)).
  7. ^ a b Weingarten, Christopher R. (July 2, 2009). "'Play' 10 Years Later: Moby's Track by Track Guide to 1999's Global Smash". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d Raushenbush, Paul (May 2000). "A Talk with Moby". Beliefnet. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  9. ^ Robinson, Joe (October 19, 2012). "Christina Ricci in 'Natural Blues' by Moby". Diffuser.fm. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Sandstoe, Jeff (March 3, 2011). "Celebrity Cameos in Music Videos: A Primer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "David LaChapelle: Superstars and the Divine". Beliefnet. May 2000. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "MTV Europe Music Awards Winners 1994–2000". Billboard. Vol. 113 no. 45. November 10, 2001. p. 50. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  13. ^ Hay, Carla (August 26, 2000). "Matthew Good Band Leads MuchMusic Video Nominees". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 35. p. 93. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  14. ^ Go – The Very Best of Moby (liner notes). Moby. Mute Records. 2006. LDVDMUTEL14.
  15. ^ Keil, Jason (November 20, 2003). "Mallman remains focused on his own vision". OnMilwaukee. Milwaukee. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Moby – Natural Blues" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Moby – Natural Blues" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  18. ^ "Ultratop Dance – 18/03/2000" (in French). Ultratop Dance. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 7283." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  20. ^ "Moby: Natural Blues" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  21. ^ "Lescharts.com – Moby – Natural Blues" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  22. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Moby – Natural Blues". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  23. ^ "Íslenski Listinn: Vikuna 19.8.–26.8. 2000 33. Vika" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). August 18, 2000. p. 10. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  24. ^ "Chart Track: Week 10, 2000". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 11, 2000" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Moby – Natural Blues" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Moby – Natural Blues". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  30. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  31. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  32. ^ "Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 9. February 26, 2000. p. 87. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  33. ^ "Club Play". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 22. May 27, 2000. p. 39. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  34. ^ "Maxi-Singles Sales". Billboard. Vol. 112 no. 17. April 22, 2000. p. 37. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  35. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Moby – Natural Blues (Lulu Rouge vs. Stella Polaris Remix)". Tracklisten. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – Showtek & Moby – Natural Blues" (in Dutch). Ultratop Dance. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  37. ^ "Ultratop.be – Showtek & Moby – Natural Blues" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  38. ^ "Ultratop.be – Showtek & Moby – Natural Blues" (in French). Ultratop Dance. Retrieved February 25, 2018.

External links[edit]