Never in the field of human artistic endeavour has anyone sold out quite so utterly and completely as Moby has. Cleverly, he has done this at the precise moment in the history of human artistic endeavour when nobody gives a flying fuck about ‘selling out’ anymore. But hold! As with most human customs, there are excellent evolutionary reasons to be concerned about an artist’s outselling status.

The possession of a relatively obscure record, particularly one in a trendy, yet not overground, genre like electronica, increases ones self-confidence, which in turn leads to an increased self-assurance in the realm of sexual display. The ‘alpha male’ in taste terms may thus flaunt his record bag with brashness and aplomb, secure in the knowledge that its contents are beyond reproach: his goatee is perter and his thick-framed spectacles shinier, he makes in every sense a more attractive mate for his female counterpart, who will in turn ‘put out’ more readily for a boy who owns cool records (unless they’re by The Fall. Then it doesn’t work.)

But when a record like Moby’s Play becomes an ‘overground success’, the sexual-selection carpet is swept out from under its owner’s sandal-clad feet. Now the presence of the record in its owner’s collection says only, “I do not understand electronic music and desire easy-to-grasp ‘human’ signifiers”, or perhaps “I aspire to mid-range yet stylish car ownership.” Both of these are, basically, turn-offs.

Moby’s Play is so overground it is the ground. Every track has soundtracked a thousand adverts and “Porcelain” has been adopted by three Eastern European countries as a new national anthem. The lazy children of Generation Y, united in their criticism of the inescapability of teen-pop, have still flocked to buy this landmark in ubiquity, perhaps because it is the first ever ever in the whole world ever to bring REAL EMOTIONS to electronic music. It does this by a simple method. It takes an old blues record, loops it a bit, and puts some drumbeats underneath (nothing you could actually dance to, that would distract). Then the blues bit stops and some big synth chords come in, then the blues record comes in at the same time as the synth chords. How did he think of that one? It’s a miracle! Where Moby departs from this formula the results are equally mindblowing – on “Bodyrock” he sounds like Fatboy Slim without all that annoying ‘groove’ stuff or ‘beats’ or whatever it is those punk-ass ravers like to call it. On another one he sounds like Massive Attack without any ‘soul’ (Jesus! It’s the 21st century! Soul is SO 1970s), and on ‘Southside’ he addresses real situations without any of the irritating grit or lack of melody so-called ‘rappers’ would bring to the track.

People used to criticise Christian Rock not because it was overtly preachy or didactic but because it was a nerveless, nervous, enfeebled version of the ‘real thing’. They were, by and large, right. Moby is a committed Christian, and Play is, most certainly, Christian Techno.