Moby "Machete" (1999)
Label: V2, Mute, BMG
Moby had been the U.S. record biz's best bet for a pop crossover from techno, so he was signed to Elektra and released Everything Is Wrong in 1995, then waited for its pop-friendly house and happy-hardcore tunes to make converts. Three years later, he was without a label and nearly without a profile; he later said he made 1999's Play with the intention of pleasing himself, period.
Within two years, he'd sold all 18 of its cuts to advertisers and racked up 10 million album sales-not a bad turnaround at all. "Machete" departs from the album's two main templates-blues vocals over simple, breaks-driven compositions in the first half, dewy downtempo in the second-with loud guitars and a crying vocal from the producer himself, but when the Bongo Band break jumps in to bridge the chorus back to the verse, it ties the song with the album perfectly.