At this point, who can honestly say that they haven’t heard Moby's last album, "Play"? Even if you didn't purchase the album, download it from Napster, hear it at a party, or see one of the videos on MTV, you couldn’t escape it: every single track was licensed for commercial use, and many of them were used in major advertising campaigns, on soundtracks, or as backing tracks in television shows. Like it or not, "Play" insinuated itself into your pop-consciousness, and easily became Moby's most popular and best-selling album ever.

And I guess he's hoping that we want more of the same, because his latest, "18" is such a carbon copy of Play's formula that it could have easily been titled "Play It Again". There are the thumping electronica club tunes ("Extreme Ways", "Another Woman"); tunes that use loops of old gospel and blues vocals as their centerpieces ("In This World", "In My Heart", "The Rafters", "I'm Not Worried At All"); the quiet, haunting numbers ("One of These Mornings", "Sleep Alone", "Harbour"); the lush, orchestral instrumentals ("Fireworks", "18", "Look Back In"); and, of course, the radio-friendly pop single ("We Are All Made of Stars"). And virtually none of them would be out of place in a car commercial. Sure, some would only work for Volkswagen or BMW, but there are a few you could slap onto an Oldsmobile ad with no ill effects.

So what else can I tell you? You've all heard "Play". If you want more, then by all means, rush out and buy "18" right now; if you didn't care for "Play", then stay the hell away. Never before can I remember a musician who positions himself as a DIY industry outsider producing something as artistically predictable as this record. You decide for yourself whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Chris Pace

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