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He got his start out in the late 80s and early 90s playing in small clubs. He released his self titled Moby album in 1993 to critical acclaim. He followed it up with more acclaim in 1995 with his album Everything Is Wrong.
Then, in 1997 he attempted a genre shift that did not work in his favor. His third album, titled Animal Rights is his attempt at tackling the Punk Rock/ Alternative Metal (sources argue over the album's actual genre) movements. Critics laughed at his frail-sounding vocals and semi-pretentious lyrics, coupled by overly-long songs and repetitive riffs. The album sold so poorly that it sent Moby into a depressive stupor, drinking heavily every night in a desperate attempt to construct better songs.
This resulted in the release of his breakthrough album, Play in 1999. Though ignored by critics at first (they were still laughing at him for Animal Rights), eventually it received critical acclaim and became the best-selling techno album of all time. Then, just to give him more credit, in 2000 the album became the first album to have every single one of its tracks used in movie and television soundtracks.
After this he released two more warmly received albums, and then finally returning to his techno roots with his two latest albums. Play was featured on many "greatest of all time" album lists, and Animal Rights has become little more than a footnote in his discography. His reputation has gained him much respect from fellow musicians in many different genres.
Moby contains examples of the following tropes:
- After the End: "South Side"
- Album Filler: Though most people think otherwise, some of his tracks were literally just thrown in there for nothing more than padding.
- Bald of Awesome
- Careful with That Axe" His early shows featured him smashing his keyboards and turntables ONSTAGE! In some cases he would even throw his equipment into the audience, and somehow even receiving some of the said equipment back in playable condition.
- Creator Breakdown: After the failure of Animal Rights, he spent many sleepless drunken nights writing the songs that would appear on Play.
- Distinct Double Album: The album Hotel by Moby is another classic example. The first disc is mainly rock-oriented songs, all with vocals (except for the intro, coda, and Hidden Track), while the second disc is entirely ambient techno.
- Epic Rocking: Many of the songs on Animal Rights span past 5 minutes.
- Everything Is an Instrument: Just listen to an album and you'll hear a variety of different things most techno artists wouldn't dare to touch.
- I Am the Band: When on tour for Animal Rights he pulled this image.
- Metal Scream: Animal Rights was jam packed with this.
- Mood Whiplash: His albums tend to be almost jarringly diverse. Everything Is Wrong, for example, follows a euphoric rave song ("Bring Back My Happiness") with a seriously over-the-top Heavy Metal song ("What Love").
- Non-Appearing Title: "Natural Blues", "Down Slow", "The Rafters", "Look Back In", "18", "My Weakness", "Machete", "Signs of Love", "Sleep Alone", "Fireworks", "Rushing", "7", "If Things Were Perfect", "Everloving", "Inside", "Guitar Flute & String", "Porcelain", and "Temptation" to name a few.
- Self-Titled Album: His debut album in 1993.
- Stage Names: Real name Richard Melville Hall.
- ↑ Actually, just a remixed version of an old folk song called "Trouble So Hard" made famous in 1937 by a singer named Vera Hall.