If Things Were Perfect
by Moby

Album: Play (1999)
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Songfacts®:

  • Moby (from Rolling Stone): "Remember that band James? (check out "Sit Down") Before James became successful they put out some singles on Factory Records. One was called 'Hymn From The Village' and 'If Things Were Perfect' was the B side. For some reason I liked that title. So when I wrote and recorded this song, even though there's no relationship between the title and the song, I just gave it that name. I don't know why. Sort of an homage to James even though the song sounds nothing like James. I did meet (James vocalist) Tim Booth in a nightclub once and he was telling me he quit music to teach yoga. That's one of the spoken-word songs. That's the one that was directly inspired by walking around Chinatown, the two bridges area, at like 5 o'clock in the morning. That's the most New Yorky song on the record."
  • In a 2017 interview with Vinyl Me Please, Moby expounded upon the idea of feeling lonely in a big city, saying: "It's so odd to be in such a densely populated place and feel so remarkably isolated. And you know what, I very rarely get nostalgic, but describing that makes me feel really nostalgic. Like, not going to exciting parties, but that feeling of, like, walking on the Lower East Side around the public housing south of Delancey Street at two o'clock in the morning on a cold, rainy Tuesday. It's the weird, watchful eyes of all those windows in the projects and knowing that all those people are sleeping behind them. And then, like, walking down to the river and under the Manhattan Bridge. But yeah, that unique New York quality of emptiness and isolation was, and maybe still is, pretty magical. Yeah, I think that is really something I miss quite a lot at this point."
  • The "give me summer" vocal is sampled from Willie Hutch's "Hospital Prelude of Love Theme" from the 1974 Foxy Brown soundtrack. Moby used some digital trickery to transform the original lyric from "give me some" to "give me summer" in order to reflect the yearning for warmth on the wintry tune. He used a similar technique on the Play track "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?"
  • Play, the album that made Moby an international star, also earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album in 2000 (the prize went to Beck for Mutations).

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