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Animal Rights

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Editors’ Notes

Forever confounding expectations, just as techno was gaining momentum in the mid-90s, Moby turns to his alternative rock roots with an album strongly based in skrotchy-distorted electric guitars and breast-beating impassioned industrial strength screams. (In the ‘80s, he played in the hardcore punk group the Vatican Commandos.) 1996’s Animal Rights belongs alongside Nine Inch Nails and Foo Fighters, despite a few gentle ambient moments dropped  in the mix. “Dead Sun” begins like the Moby album you were expecting and “Anima” has the mildly surging orchestrated keyboards and tinkled piano notes that have since become a trademark. But track two, “Someone to Love,” harshes the mellow, and most of what follows is torrential. Mission of Burma’s now classic “That When I Reach for My Revolver” is played straight. “Come On Baby” sounds more like a postured threat than a come-on. “Soft” is anything but. “Say It’s All Mine” calls and responds from spoken pieces and a nervous breakdown of a chorus. Guitar solos, a traditional rhythm section, verse-chorus-verse-chorus. The conventionality is the surprise.

Customer Reviews

Underrated and personal record looks better in retrospect

I've been championing this album for 10 years now, and the world at large remains unconvinced, but this is Moby's singlemost definitive artistic statement. Renowned for his easy-listening techno side and simple pop pap, Animal Rights is likely a shock to most who hear it, but this is Moby performing the type of music that was his first love - punk-edged rock songs, some at a breakneck hardcore pace, and others in a sludgy mode more akin to the alternative rock of the '90s. Deemed too uncommercial at the time (Moby was riding a crest of hype from his jack-of-all-trades breakthrough, Everything Is Wrong), the American label thought it best to soften his attack by dropping a couple of tracks (the blistering "My Love Will Never Die" is worth seeking out) and rounding out the record with samples of the ambient album that originally came with limited editions of the record in the UK, plus a soothing ambient B-side called "Alone." This is the version present here, and it's still worth a listen, because at the time Moby was creatively on fire, known for his stylistic diversity, his politics, his religion, and his vegetarianism more than for his multi-platinum potential. His current pop aspirations find him making oversimplistic and vacant collections like Hotel, but back in 1996 with Animal Rights, he was still artistically ambitious, trying everything he could to see what stuck. Sadly, the popular reception of this album squandered his rock side, and though he went on to the milestone Play after this, he seems to have laid this side of him to rest. Hopefully a new generation of listeners will give this record a chance and bring out the animal in Moby once again. (By the way, the photo on the cover of the album, baby Moby in the arms of his grandfather, is an indication of its personal nature, a far cry from the literally faceless portrait of the former maverick on Hotel.)

When Moby Grew Up

Everyone seems to think that "Everything is Wrong" was the album that Moby really came into his own, but this was the one that blew me away. Moby sings all his own music on this one, much like "Hotel", but whereas "Hotel" was a contemplative, soul-searching CD, "Animal Rights" is all about rockin' your socks off. Some of the songs are such hard rock that you'll wonder if it really is Moby. Well, it is, and boy... he is good at it. Just when you can't take the rock anymore, Moby throws in a lovely introspective musical arrangement to cool you back down, and with his great sense of timing, these songs always hit at exactly the right moment. Steer clear of commercial Moby successes like "Everything is Wrong" and "18", and do yourself a favor, buy this one or "Hotel",,,these are what Moby is all about.

Not The Best But A Much More Personal Album

This record came out right after Moby's mother died. And even without that fact it is still one of my top 3 Moby albums. I originally bought the UK import 2 Disc version with a second CD of all ambient music. The songs on "AR" are more in tune with Mo's early punk roots. With songs like "You" and "Say Its All Mine" being my two favourites. In this US version "Anima" is exclusive. If you're a Moby completist look for the b-side on the "Come On Baby" remixes called "Love Hole". It's amazing and one of the best rock songs Moby has to offer. Tripp

Biography

Born: September 11, 1965 in New York, NY [Harlem]

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Moby was one of the most controversial figures in techno music, alternately praised for bringing a face to the notoriously anonymous electronic genre and scorned by hordes of techno artists and fans for diluting and trivializing the form. In either case, Moby was one of the most important dance music figures of the early '90s, helping bring the music to a mainstream audience both in England and in America. Moby fused rapid disco beats with heavy distorted guitars, punk rhythms, and detailed productions...
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