Moby relates a heavenly message condemning dishonesty, gambling and adultery on the gospel-flavored “Run On.” He also acknowledges God as he mourns a brother’s death (“Natural Blues”). Six of the disc’s 18 tracks are strictly instrumental. Other odes to minimalism repeat just a few, inoffensive lines.
Any intended social statement about the evils of urban violence gets lost amid the particulars of “South Side,” a song about cruising the streets with “weapons in hand.” The CD’s liner notes include essays that condemn “fundamentalism,” “homophobia” and the incarceration of drug users. His writings support a woman’s right to an abortion, as well as his own vegan lifestyle (he doesn’t eat, wear or use animal products). He quotes Eastern prophets who erroneously elevate animals to the level of humans.
Born Richard Melville Hall, Moby reportedly adopted his stage name from the title of great-great-granduncle Herman Melville’s most famous novel. Many of Play’s tracks possess an eclectic, ethereal quality. Lyrics (when they appear at all) specialize in neutral messages. If only he had quit there. Apart from the off-kilter philosophizing he does off the record, what’s on the record is pretty solid.