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Alternative & Indie - Released March 6, 2020 | Verve Forecast

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 14, 2020 | Verve Forecast

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Pop/Rock - Released November 26, 2004 | Epic

Of all the major teen pop stars who ran wild at the turn of the millennium, Mandy Moore was perhaps the least successful, if she's judged merely on terms of chart success. Britney and Christina certainly racked up more hits and headlines than Mandy, and she never had a single as undeniably catchy and irresistible as Jessica Simpson's "I Think I'm in Love" (which Jessica herself never managed to top after she became a household name, either). So it would seem that The Best of Mandy Moore -- released in November 2004, at the end of her contract with Epic -- would be little bit more than footnote to the teen pop phenomenon of the early 2000s, and that may be true if success is only calculated on those aforementioned charts or cultural impact. So why is The Best Of so much more satisfying a listening experience than Britney Spears' Greatest Hits: My Prerogative, released just a few weeks before this collection? Well, part of it is due to the fact that Mandy is simply a better singer than Britney. Maybe she doesn't have quite as much charisma as Spears, but she can carry a tune and her voice doesn't grate over the course of a 14-track album like the way Britney's can. Then, there's the fact that these songs, since they weren't as widely heard as "Oops...I Did It Again" or "Genie in a Bottle," just sound fresher. And while there are no knock-out singles here -- although her biggest hit, "Crush," comes close -- there's a greater musical variety, and the chronological running order emphasizes that Mandy Moore is growing as a singer and recording artist, getting better with each subsequent album instead of stagnating like many of her peers. As a result, this turns out to be one of the better artifacts of the teen pop boom -- as an album, it's stronger and more enjoyable than almost any other teen pop record from its time, and by the time it's over, you're curious about where Moore will go next. [The Best Of also includes a bonus DVD, containing all of her music videos, plus selections from her Sessions@AOL live performance.] © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 2019 | Verve Forecast

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Pop/Rock - Released February 4, 2008 | Epic

Mandy Moore doesn't capture the headlines the way Britney, Christina, or, thanks to MTV's revelation of her status as the dumb blonde for the new millennium, Jessica Simpson do, but working under the radar is a good place for her to be. While greater attention was paid to her peers, Moore proved that she's a genuine, credible actress in A Walk to Remember and How to Deal, far outshining Britney's turn in Crossroads; she never succumbed to the Stripped antics of Xtina; and every career decision she'd made so far, choosing classy albeit glossy mainstream projects, displays that she has more smarts than Simpson. Where all the aforementioned divas were more or less hidebound to fashion and dance-pop, Moore decided to broaden her horizons and position herself for a long-term career with her third album, Coverage. With this record, she leaves dance-pop behind and heads toward mature pop -- and in a far more effective fashion than Jessica Simpson's Andy Williams revamp In This Skin -- by positioning herself, with the assistance of producer/engineer John Fields, as a pop/rock singer by covering classic singer/songwriters such as Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, and Elton John, as well as cult pop icons like XTC's Andy Partridge, Mike Scott of the Waterboys, Joe Jackson, and Todd Rundgren. Though the selections Moore and Fields have made are predictable -- each songwriter is showcased by one of his or her best-known songs, with the arguable exception of "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" for Elton and Bernie Taupin -- that does make sense, since it piques curiosity: listeners will want to know how does Mandy Moore sing "Can We Still Be Friends," "I Feel the Earth Move," and "Senses Working Overtime." The answer: pretty good, actually. Moore still has the problem of being a more likeable vocalist than a knockout singer, but she makes up for her lack of pizzazz through her hard work and good taste. While it is true that it is disarming to hear some of these songs cleaned and polished for mainstream radio, at times the reworking can be quite effective, as on the surging "The Whole of the Moon" (the best of the alt-pop reworkings) and the passionate take on Joan Armatrading's "Drop the Pilot" (the best singer/songwriter reworking). And while there is some awkwardness here -- mainly deriving from Moore's plain-spoken, earnest delivery and Fields' slightly fussy, slick arrangements not quite suiting the idiosyncrasies of these songs -- it's refreshing to hear an aspiring pop singer work with a strong set of songs by distinctive writers instead of cookie-cutter professional tunesmiths who only have the charts in mind. Moore and Fields still have the charts in mind, but they're trying to do something of substance within the modern mature-pop framework, and while Coverage isn't always successful, it is always admirable and likeable, and certainly puts Moore on the right path for an interesting, successful career. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 24, 2001 | Epic

Never let it be said that Mandy Moore, her label, and team of producers didn't work it. Once So Real failed to make headway, they retooled it as the "special edition" I Wanna Be with You, which wasn't a real hit, but it was a step in the right direction. Then, with her official second album, they finally got the formula right. Mandy Moore manages to pack more hooks, melody, beats, clever production flourishes, and fun into its 13 tracks than nearly all of its peers -- remarkably, it's a stronger album, through and through, than either of Britney's first two albums or Christina's record. That doesn't mean that it has singles as strong as those albums; even if the surging "In My Pocket," the faux-sitar spiked "You Remind Me," and hip-hop ballad "Saturate Me" are all fine tunes, meant to be played on the radio, they aren't as distinctive as "...Baby One More Time" or "Genie in a Bottle." Also, although Moore isn't a bad singer, she's not particularly charismatic, and the production team isn't as gaudily, enjoyably crass as Max Martin. So, why is Mandy Moore such a good record? Because of consistency. This may not hit tremendous heights, yet everybody involved is working so hard that they've managed to come up with a record that's consistently satisfying. It doesn't stretch the teen pop formula much, just enough to give the record character, and Moore delivers the songs sturdily, never taking the forefront, but blending into the lush, layered production, so the music just rolls forth as a whole. And that whole sounds great -- immaculately crafted, precisely polished, exactly what a teen pop album should be. Of course, it would have been greater if a couple of the songs were genuine knockouts, but usually this genre sacrifices consistency for dizzying peaks and it's refreshing to hear a teen pop record that plays like a record, instead of singles-n-filler. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2019 | Verve Forecast

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Pop/Rock - Released May 8, 2000 | Epic - 550 Music

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Pop/Rock - Released October 25, 1999 | Epic - 550 Music

Fifteen-year-old Mandy Moore's debut album sounded like it was inspired almost entirely by listening to recent hit albums by 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears. Tracks like "So Real" and "Let Me Be the One" clearly echoed "Backstreet's Back," and Moore's occasional growls were straight out of "...Baby One More Time." But the singer seemed to have aimed at a slightly younger demographic: Her initial single, "Candy," pointedly described love in terms of sugar treats, as if she weren't sure whether she wanted to be at lovers' lane or a snack bar. Naturally, all of the songs adhered to the second-person form of address, in which the singer was continually exhorting "you" and "boy" to do something of a romantic nature ("Walk Me Home," "Lock Me in Your Heart," "Quit Breaking My Heart," "Let Me Be the One"). But things always remained chaste, whether she was declaring, "My innocence won't be denied" in "So Real" or suggesting the "uncharted territory we'll discover" before quickly adding, "You'll always be my dream lover," in "Lock Me in Your Heart." Meanwhile, of course, the downbeats, as high in the mix as those of any disco track, slavishly propelled the songs to mid-tempo rhythms. Moore can carry a tune, but with no particular distinction, and since the songs were generic expressions of the type, the real questions seemed to be, could she dance, would her videos be good, and how would she be marketed? As So Real was being released, "Candy" was moving up the charts purely on sales points, since radio had become resistant to adding more teen queens, while MTV had yet to bite. All of that had more to do with whether Mandy Moore would succeed than did the music, which was mediocre, but typical. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 11, 2020 | Verve Forecast

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Pop - Released May 10, 2019 | Epic - Legacy

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 17, 2019 | Verve Forecast

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 1, 2019 | Verve Forecast

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 11, 2020 | Verve Forecast

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 8, 2017 | This Is Us

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 14, 2020 | Verve Forecast

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Film Soundtracks - Released November 14, 2018 | This Is Us