Song of the Day: Moby – Pale Horses


Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show host John Richards, is “Pale Horses” by Moby from his 2009 album, Wait for Me, on Mute.

Moby – Pale Horses (MP3)

Moby has been making his brand of ambient dance (some may call it a precursor to Intelligent Dance Music while other may scoff at such a notion) for well over a decade and it continues to find new fans where detractors and observes thought there were none. Sadly, Moby is perhaps best known for his scrapes with Eminem and his penchant for licensing all of his music for commercials, television, and film use but in retrospect, he was ahead of the curve. Eminem is always up for a good publicity fight whenever he has something to promote and any movie-goer and avid TV watcher will tell you they often find the music they love — no matter how mundane or challenging — thanks to the rise of publishing and licensing agreements.

Wait for Me may not break new ground for Moby but at this stage in his career, the eggheaded one doesn’t need to reinvent, just recycle. While the wealth of the album is as warm and familiar as ever, it’s the little things that make Moby such an interesting listen. “Pale Horses” proves a fine example, reworking the ideas of Faithless and Tricky ten years removed from their millisecond heyday. Any artist with the staying power of Moby should be revisiting the neglected and forgotten and Wait for Me does just that.

Moby is hitting the world’s stages according to MySpace. Lucky for us, Seattle is a part of the world (though it often feels as if some musicians forget that bit of information) and those eagerly waiting to see Moby live will get their chance October 18th at Showbox SoDo. While you countdown the days, enjoy the video for “Shot in the Back of the Head” filmed by David Lynch:

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  1. Posted July 23, 2009 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Never understood the beef people had with professional musicians selling their music.

  2. Posted July 23, 2009 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    (In response [further stress] to icastico’s point): As a fan I used to think musician’s were considered to be “sell-outs” whenever I found out they sold a song or three to advertisers, etc. I viewed them as giving away their soul to the big money machine. I saw MY connection to that “soul” going to the big money machine as well. How ego-centric of me! This is THE MUSICIAN’S music not mine! They can do whatever the hell they want with their music!

    I eventually learned how to separate myself from my ego and come to the realization that I loved the song for how it made me feel regardless of what path road the song ended up going.

  3. Joselito
    Posted July 23, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I’m not against putting food on the table but artists have to aware of what their music is going to be used for. I love Band of Horses’ “Funeral” but hearing it as the backing track for a Wal-Mart commercial cheapened the song. On the other hand, hearing the Arcade Fire on the trailer for the “Where the Wild Things Are” movie makes me love “Wake Up” even more.

  4. Posted July 23, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Cheapens the song… really? Then wouldn’t any kind of commercial use, like selling it as a CD, cheapen it as well? The whole music industry is a commercial venture and now that artists are getting even less of a share from their labels, music licensing is one of the only ways to sustain oneself as an artist. Personally, if I have to hear music in a commercial, I’d rather it be good music. I think people are smart enough separate the music from the commercial content if they want to.

  5. Posted July 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink


    A big factor in why musicians move to licensing is, also, the fact that file sharing has taken away an element of control. The rules are very clear cut with licensing. While file sharing generally helps sales for underground artists, the more successful you become, the more it eats into your revenue for your work. Licensing works in the opposite direction…the more popular you become, the more you can make from licensing.

    If an artist can meet basic income needs through licensing, it opens up the option of distribution to fans through alternatives like “set your own price” electronic distro…

    (my blog let’s you do that for my stuff, btw -just click on my name).

  6. Jeanna
    Posted May 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    First Blog I have read recently that has drawn people with some insight into the conversation. It has always been interesting to me that the younger the fan the more “offended they are by musicians “selling ” their music for commercial purposes. Despite the fantasy, musicians really do have families and mortgages. Music is taken in by each ear and means wha ever it does to a person individually, who else listens or pays for it is no ones business but those who have worked for years to gain whatever “fame” they can grab and make what ever money they can make to allow themselves to live and continue entertaining people who enjoy listening to them. Just Sayin

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