.

"Play": Moby's Track by Track Guide to 1999 Global Smash

July 2, 2009 1:46 PM ET

This week Moby put out Wait for Me, a beautiful ambient record partially inspired by David Lynch (check back next week for the story behind the album). And almost exactly 10 years ago, the New York-based musician released an album that grew into a global phenomenon: Play. Read Moby's track-by-track breakdown of his 1999 smash here.

Before Play, Moby considered himself a "has-been" — albeit a has-been with fan mail from Axl Rose and Bono. And when the record first hit stores, critics and fans didn't rush out in droves. But when people got a listen to his effortless blend of atmospheric swoops, block-rocking beats and bluesy a cappellas nicked from 40-year-old field recordings, the tide turned. Bigtime. Now the album is known not only for its hits, but for its omnipresence.

"There's a little bit of confusion around the licensing. I'll do interviews and almost everyone says, 'So, you licensed every song off of Play for commercials,' " Moby tells RS. "I licensed some of the music to commercials, and to be honest with you, I regret having done that. Just because it's become an odd cross to bear. Mick Jagger in 1965 got endorsed by Coke and got on stage and drank Coca-Cola. People have been selling out for a long time. The irony is that now I don't license my songs to commercials and everybody else does. Once bitten, twice shy. I should have taken lessons from the cool indie-rockers who only license their music to countries where they don't speak English. The hip artists revered by your contemporaries? They license their music, they just do it in South Korea."

Dispelling the belief that his team simply rubber-stamped any and all requests to use songs from Play, Moby adds, "We said no to quite a lot of things. There was a Swedish commercial for Bernaise sauce and they wanted to use one of the songs. I was like, 'Oh no, I can't even stoop that low.' "

"Play" 10 Years Later: Moby's Track by Track Guide to 1999's Global Smash

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com