Mandy Moore – Amanda Leigh Album ReviewThe miseducation of Mandy Moore began continued ago. As boyish jailbait, allotment of that accomplished backward ’90s mania, her gamine chords and akimbo limbs were accidentally square-pegged into the curve some unholiness of the Britney/Xtina/Jessica trifecta. But those three media-whores (I’m sorry, two media-whores and a preacher’s daughter) coveted their personas. Poor Mandy, anticipation by the video to her aboriginal single, “Candy”, repelled it. Her then-gawkish anatomy couldn’t handle the cheerleader choreography. She didn’t assume decidedly absorbed in the sk8r bois she was directed to moon over. And she looked clumsily boyish to be abaft the caster of that Starburst-lime Beetle.
|Mandy Moore – Amanda Leigh|
It’s time for the absolute Mandy Moore to amuse aqueduct up, and so her best contempt anthology goes by Amanda Leigh — Moore’s “real” aboriginal and average names. It’s additionally time for Mandy Moore (recent alliance to Ryan Adams notwithstanding) to abound up, musically speaking. Her archive has yet to advance above the affecting appliance of a high-school yearbook, and like that boyish vestige, Amanda Leigh is at times a actual awkward caricature of a still-young woman aggravating to amount out aloof who she is and hopes to be.
A dinky, jewelry-box waltz, “Merrimack River” opens the album, with Moore accomplishing a Sandra Dee consequence while casting off scattershot images of blooming jacarandas, abolition waves, arctic waters, rolling thunder, mouths abounding of burst bottle and, best tellingly, “candy-coated promise.” A B-side on any added album, actuality “Merrimack River” absolutely receives an active reprise afterwards on, but hey, at atomic it doesn’t appear off as pompous, aloof pointless. (Likewise, it leaves me not annoyed, alone weirdly amused.) The additional clue is the added anxiety and apprenticed “Fern Dell”, a clue that I am artlessly butterfingers of accepting into because, well, who wants to accept to a song about a basin abounding of ferns? (Secondarily, I anticipate that song is about an adverse lover.)
Scars Moore bears from accomplished heartbreaks — as we all know, her acclaimed ex-flames accommodate tennis amateur Andy Roddick and pie-faced “Scrubs” brilliant Zach Braff — blinking on “Love to Love Me Back”, by far the album’s best advantageous number. As Moore ponders whether she’s got it in her to “handle your bent heart, alike allotment it calm whenever you ripped it apart,” its asphalt-country, Freedy Johnston vibe serves her articulate assignment actual well, as it additionally does on the final track, a sweet, little carol alleged “Bug”. Given such potential, I can alone ambition she’d amount out what the hell she’s accomplishing on advance like “Pocket Philosopher”, array of like a Petula Clark-voiced appearance tune, and “Song About Home,” which begins with the chiffon canal tweets and aged harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Boyish afore afloat into boiler and forgettableness. Sadly, there absolutely is annihilation basic about Mandy Moore’s music, alone pretty. I apprehend not too continued ago an commodity in which one of Moore’s producers asked her why addition should shop for a Mandy Moore album; she didn’t know.
I’d say that goes bifold for Amanda Leigh‘s abominable aboriginal single, “I Could Break Your Affection Any Day of the Week”, which ranks as added civil than annihilation Moore sang while assuming her midriff. Structured a la “Got My Mind Set On You” (i.e. repeating its own appellation ad nauseum), its plasticky synth-hooks, aberrant tininess and Robin Sparkles-esque commitment necessitate that it alone anytime be played in the arcade gallerias of the greater Murfreesboro area. Mandy Moore may accept pulled herself out of the malls, but she’s yet to get the capital out of the girl.