Hotel

Moby became an international star by running decades' worth of music through his laptop studio, but Hotel may be his most personal and streamlined album yet. With the auteur eschewing samples and composing tunes first, songs like "Where You End" and "Dream About Me" (sung with sweet-voiced buddy Laura Dawn, who appears throughout) transmit singer-songwriter warmth and clarity through textures that effuse autumnal beauty despite their relative sparseness. Hotel is also surprisingly nostalgic: A handful of tracks are tributes to the New Wave Moby grew up on, including the dance-pop "Lift Me Up" and a codeine-tempoed cover of New Order's "Temptation." The slower stuff vagues out, and the bonus disc of ambient instrumentals ought to come with a controlled substance, but elegant relationship songs such as the torchy "Forever" suggest this talented softy has found a sensible way to come down from a multi-platinum high.

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