South Side (song)

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"South Side"
Moby - South Side.png
Single by Moby featuring Gwen Stefani
from the album Play
  • "Ain't Never Learned"
  • "The Sun Never Stops Setting"
Released November 7, 2000 (2000-11-07)
Recorded 1998 at Moby's home studio (Manhattan, New York)
  • 3:48 (album version)
  • 3:49 (single version)
Label V2
Songwriter(s) Moby
Producer(s) Moby
Moby singles chronology
"South Side"
"Find My Baby"
"South Side"
"Find My Baby"
Gwen Stefani singles chronology
"South Side"
(2000) South Side2000
"Let Me Blow Ya Mind"
(2001) Let Me Blow Ya Mind2001

"South Side" is a song written and recorded by American electronica musician Moby. It was released on November 7, 2000 as the seventh single from his fifth studio album Play. Initially recorded with No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani, production problems forced Moby to leave Stefani's vocals off the mix of the song included on Play; Stefani's vocals were then restored for the song's single release. "South Side" is one of Moby's most commercially successful singles, as well as his only single to appear on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at number 14.


In April 2005, Moby stated that "South Side" was inspired by his visits to Chicago and his love for its house music scene, but that its lyrics are intended to be unsettling and imply a connection between getting used to loud music as part of clubbing, and desensitization to violence.[1] Speaking to Rolling Stone on the tenth anniversary of its release, he described it as "essentially a song about abject amorality", as well as a "happy sing-along pop song about kids that become so inured to violence and become so desensitized that nothing gets through to them. It's about people who have become so over-exposed to stimuli that nothing matters to them anymore."[2]

During the recording sessions for Moby's fifth studio album Play, Gwen Stefani, lead singer of the rock band No Doubt, offered to perform guest vocals for "South Side".[2] Around the time of the song's recording, No Doubt had recently achieved substantial commercial success with their album Tragic Kingdom, and Moby reflected that he "couldn't figure out why she'd want to go into the studio with me, she was a big rock star and I was a has-been."[2] Moby was impressed by her vocal performance, but he struggled to produce an adequate mix of the song with her vocals, and ultimately left them off the version included on Play.[2]


"South Side" originally appeared as the fifth track on Play. It was released as the seventh single from the album on November 7, 2000.[3] By this time, Moby had managed to tap a friend of his to produce a new mix of "South Side", and for the single release Stefani's vocals were restored to the song, as originally intended.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Joseph Kahn and parodies hip hop and dance music videos. Scenes include Moby in garish fur coats and sunglasses, Moby and Gwen Stefani dancing in front of large neon signs of their names, and Moby "traveling" in a convertible with women and bottles of champagne, but the vehicle is not even actually being driven outside of the studio, the video also parodies artful videos with scenes of Moby and Gwen Stefani in a bare room, wearing drab clothing and holding a potted sunflower, visually parodying the New York "brick and plant" type of set commonly overused in videos and film.

Other elements observed in the video include Moby expressing discomfort for the fake gold "grill" insert used over his teeth to make him look more "gangsta". Eventually, he grudgingly adjusts it and walks off the set. Gwen Stefani is shown in one scene in front of the neon sign with her name wielding three-inch fingernails. Later, she interrupts the filming (to Moby's feigned disgust) to answer and talk on her cell phone.

Instead of a band, in the background of the video, six "musicians" at translucent computer workstations are shown, the workstation users are visually boring and a poor substitute for the presence of an actual band. The workers act as if they are playing and adjusting the electronica music samples in real-time on their keyboards during the performance, with no apparent enthusiasm whatsoever for the actual music being created, at the end of the video it shows a pot of mayonnaise and burning clothes falling from a rack.

The music video won the 2001 MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video.

Track listing[edit]



  1. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (25 April 2005). "Moby's infectious gems have no regard for genre". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on May 7, 2005. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Weingarten, Christopher R. (July 2, 2009). "'Play' 10 Years Later: Moby's Track by Track Guide to 1999's Global Smash". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ "South Side". United States: Amazon. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b "Moby – Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Moby Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Moby Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  7. ^ "Moby Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "Moby Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  9. ^ "Moby Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "The Year in Music 2001: Hot 100". Billboard. New York. 113 (52): YE-40. December 29, 2001. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  11. ^ "The Year in Music 2001: Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks". Billboard. New York. 113 (52): YE-82. December 29, 2001. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  12. ^ "The Year in Music 2001: Hot Modern Rock Tracks". Billboard. New York. 113 (52): YE-72. December 29, 2001. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 
  13. ^ "The Year in Music 2001: Hot Dance Maxi-Singles Sales". Billboard. New York. 113 (52): YE-49. December 29, 2001. Retrieved February 25, 2018. 

External links[edit]