Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mandy Moore -- Wild Hope.

Pure Chewing Satisfaction?

In a world of narcissistic celebrities where the career lines between pop star and actor are blurry at best, Mandy Moore is a breath of fresh air playing the other side. She has a self-deprecatinIt's like waiting for a tooth to be pulled... nearly as bad as the real thing.g dark sense of humor that endears her even more to the 16-35 crowd, as she releases more albums, stars in more films, and gets more ink in the tabloids. While many celebs try to sell that angle, it usually comes off as disingenuous. In Moore's case, you sense that it's actually sincere and her way of keeping herself grounded. Moore even went so far as to offer to refund money (if she could) to fans who purchased her first two albums (''I feel bad that people wasted their money on such trite, blah pop music"). She also recently kicked it up a notch, BAM! (Emeril style) by saying she's neither a good actress nor a good singer. By in large an overstatement to say the least, but she must be her own worst critic and ego checkmate at the same time.

Moore has a natural enchanting charm (or is that the Neutrogena?) that makes you want to like whatever she does, even if the overall product is mediocre at best or even downright worst. While I haven't seen Because I Said So, I imagine I would feel pretty bad saying that it's (probably) a movie best left never revealed. One also can't help but feel sorry for her when she's linked romantically to perennial Douche of the Year contenders such as Zach Braff and Wilmer "Fez" Valderama. Her (former) record company Epic didn't help her cause by releasing a greatest hits album in 2004, after just 2 and a half albums and a covers compilation (Coverage); saving ipods everywhere from the lDon't forget DJAM, he's a KEEPER!aborious chore of utilizing its shuffle function.

Moore's latest music effort, Wild Hope, can be best described as Care Free chewing gum. Nothing you have to hurt yourself thinking about too much, even enjoyable, but unfortunately there's not much flavor left within minutes of the first chew. Wild Hope is breezy like Natalie Imbruglia, Jewel, Paula Cole, or Sarah MacLachlan tunes. It's also nice to hear a female pop artist not snarl bitterly like Kelly Clarkson's recent review of her stay in Negative Town, or dumb it down five shades like Avril and Pink in Sparkle Motion Land. Moore's seamlessly moved on from the teen pop demographic to the adult alt-pop arena, all without alienating her largely teen fan base. Moore co-wrote all of Wild Hope w/ the help of Rachel Yamagata, Chantal Kreviazuk (Clarkson/Lavigne), and Lori McKenna (among others). While the songs are all fine and dandy, there's nothing remarkable or striking about them that commands an album purchase or many repeat listens for casual fans. Moore's voice, while pleasing to the ear, just doesn't have enough separation between her and every other female pop singer going these days.
Nobody, not nobody, is bigger than BICE!
Wild Hope moves back-and-forth from pop/light rock/country genres, offering at least something for everyone. Most songs lack the huge chorus critical for radio commercial success. “Ladies Choice” features nice string and piano arrangements and sounds like it could’ve been a quality b-side to Clarkson’s “Breakaway”. The title track gets grounded in the land of blah, never really taking the listener anywhere. “Gardenia” is a pretty slow piano ballad, but Moore reveals “I’m the one who likes to make love on the floor”, which is pretty hott. The slightly laughable, “She likes chocolate in the morning, she drinks her coffee late at night” in the country rock tinged “Can’t You Just Adore Her” will make its fair share of eyes roll. “Latest Mistake” and “Slummin’ In Paradise” are catchy summer pop singles likely to have the most commercial success. Country/folk song “Most of Me” may be the strongest song here. Throughout Wild Hope, Moore showcases her strong focus on melody and pop instincts, even if the results fall just slightly off the mark.

Say what you will about Mandy Moore's music, Stunning by compari-duff-sonI for one will take any future slightly bland and not so adventurous Mandy Moore effort over a White Stripes album any day of the week, especially on days when both have free sendspace files hitting my inbox1, er...albums hitting the shelves at Wal*Mart. While Moore comes off as a jack-of-all-trades/ master-of-none, Wild Hope is solid step in the right direction for Moore trying to put some air between her teen pop days. 7 years ago who would have predicted that of Britney/X-tina/Jessica/Moore, she would be the one flying under the radar toward the most long-term career success?

Rating: 3/5 or half a smiley face


1Editor's note: "We have no idea what you are talking about, do they have the internet on computers now?"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandy Moore's career highlight

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you clearly have stars in your eyes my friend :)

i imagine that your white stripes comment might incite some controversy if anyone else reads to the end of your very thorough review...


12:50 PM  
Blogger Yale Bloor said...

Gorilla...great post, I'm trolling E-Bay for a Mandy 8-track...on the side why slag Detroit band? There are plenty of other posers out there...just remember back in the day when your mama used to do things your girl friend still won't Detroit rocked, remember the Rockets, Almighty Strut Band, The Motor City Madman, probably not,but Jack is carrying the torch so instead of impressing your little shoe gazer buddies..remember music has done more for the big D than our boy Kawami ever will...Peace

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yale Bloor, don't blame Gorilla, blame me, as I wrote the review (didn't this happen on Avril too?). I usually don't "slag" Detroit bands, but have no problem slagging Nashville bands. Praise in the form of gratis hookers & blow has been rolling in from my little shoe gazer buddies since the Mandy Moore review was posted. Thanks for reading.


6:50 AM  

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