Out There

The way of rights

Animal Rights
Elektra Records

Some of the hype regarding techno guru Moby's new release Animal Rights is a bit misleading. A series of shockwaves followed a report that Moby had suddenly ditched dance music in favor of hard rock. Well, first off, Animal Rights is definitely not your average metal album. Secondly, Moby has been dabbling in hard rock for a while now (doing remixes for the likes of Soundgarden), and his own musical heritage is based on early punk and hard rock, so it shouldn't come as a total surprise.

A bit untimely, perhaps, but then that's the very definition of avant-garde, isn't it? What isn't being reported is the astounding quality of Animal Rights. This is the best conversion since Ministry dumped disco and became death metal cowboys. The album opens with a haunting ambient piece, "Dead Sun," then nosedives straight into ripping distortion with "Someone to Love" and "You." Ambient music, which Moby helped pioneer, resurfaces periodically throughout the album, as does some very listenable, difficult-to-classify pieces, such as "Old" and "Living." With Animal Rights, Moby declares that he's both bored with electronic music and still far ahead of everyone else in the genre.

Generations I--A Punk Look at Human Rights
Various Artists
Ark 21 Records

The idea of punk rockers uniting for human rights is just laughable--c'mon, these are people who pride themselves on spitting beer at one another and wearing dirty underwear. Nonetheless, a group of punks--including Green Day and Bad Brains--has united to produce an album that will promote awareness of and raise funds for international youth human rights issues. As the album cover indicates, they have chosen not Malcolm McLaren or even Old Skull as their rallying point, but Eleanor Roosevelt. If you can get past the absurdity of the theme and possibly the worst liner notes in history, the music on this CD actually offers some perks, such as "Generations" from Electric Dog House (former Clash man Joe Strummer's latest project) as well as "The Alien Song," featuring former X mistress, Exene Cervenka (now spelling her name in proper Czech as "Cervenkova"). X alumnus John Doe also makes an intriguing appearance with "Criminal." The Sally Struthers Award of this album, however, must go to Me First and the Gimme-Gimmes for covering Neil Diamond's "Coming to America." All things considered, A Punk Look at Human Rights is of questionable focus, but good heart. We always knew punks were a bunch of softies.

--Richard Baimbridge