The bittersweet continuing saga of Moby’s life and career in music.
Resuming where his debut memoir, Porcelain (2016), left off, the author chronicles his days following the 1999 debut of “Play,” an album he recorded in his cramped Manhattan loft that the defeated musician considered a “flawed and poorly mixed swan song.” His career progressed despite an album tour clouded by addictive indulgences, but it was enlivened by encounters with Natalie Portman, Richard Branson, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, and Madonna. Folded into a narrative that frequently dips back to a childhood forever altered by his father’s suicide is the saga of an often melancholic, pensive, lonely man eager for human connection and commercial success. Moby offers moving tales of his “bucolic incarceration” at summer camp, losing his virginity, and the joys of learning the guitar, forming his own band, and DJ-ing in the 1980s. As his fame grew and subsequent albums flourished, so did his desire to release himself from the anxieties of stardom and from the grips of a music industry in which feeling worthless could become all-consuming. At one point, he writes, “I laid down…sobbing and apologizing to God and my dead mom for being such a disappointment.” Though dalliances with women, booze, and drugs, however soul-destroying, tempered his inner malaise, Moby writes of continually fooling himself with the “basic math” of a life equation that never added up to true contentment: “If you added wealth and fame and awards and sex and alcohol, that had to guarantee I would never again be a sad, scared boy from the suburbs.” The narrative plays out with the same episodic flow and emotional turbulence as Porcelain, and fans of the musician will feel his palpable sorrow in his moments of self-pitying misery. But they will also acknowledge his pride and elation when, after years of abusing alcohol to numb his psychic pain, the author fully embraced a substance abuse recovery program to heal inside and out.
A must-read for Moby followers and surely a cathartic and revelatory writing experience for the author.