“Beautiful” – Moby

Video

While I think this is one of Moby’s best songs (though much of it musically is very reminiscent of “Southside”), the video is something else entirely. A crucial scene from Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm” is re-imagined, but ends in a far sadder, grimmer way. While the concept may strike you at first as quirky in a bad way, stay with it. Yes, the storyline is predictable and has played out many times in all kinds of films, novels, and TV shows, but the use of people in animal costumes actually makes the climax more shattering and horrific for some reason I can’t put my finger on. One of the best music videos I have ever seen.

“Temptation” – Moby

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Another case of “it’s singer, not the song.” The original version of “Temptation” by New Order is really good, but what’s hard to discern behind the upbeat techno rhythms is a rather despairing song about the helplessness of addiction. I believe Moby sensed this and in his version, slowed the song down considerably, condensed the lyrics, and took the pathos of the song VERY seriously. The subdued nature of the vocals by Laura Dawn only magnifies the horror of the lyrics. Reminds me a lot of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.”

“That’s When I Reach For My Revolver” – Mission of Burma

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From 1981, comes this influential and terrific post-punk song from Boston’s “Mission of Burma.” Moby recorded a fairly straightforward cover of this for his “Animal Rights” album in 1996, which hit the Top 50 in England in that year.