Believe me, I adore playing an old school hit like nobody's business, but sometimes there's nothing better than putting on one of your favorite long players, enjoying it for what it is: a tip-top, start to finish "headphone masterpiece".
I will always hold a special place in my heart for Mandy Moore. I realized this a month or so back as I sat on a flight from NY to LA. "Today's in-flight movie is Because I Said So starring Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore." The fact that I sat up straight, turned off my iPod, and plugged my headphones into my arm rest to take it all in took me back to the summer of 2001, when I downloaded the then 16 year old's self-titled album Mandy Moore. Magazine after magazine, page after page, Mandy was getting praised for this 13 song, 50 minute set, and the word "mature" was being tossed around a lot. Prior to this album, Mandy was known as nothing more than that girl who sang that song about candy and drove around in one of those new Volkswagen Bugs in the video despite the fact that she was only 13 or 14 at the time. But with this album she upped the ante, granted she was only 16 at the time, but she had cleared her throat, sang clearly, and let her music and lyrics come from a place that felt genuine and relatable, as opposed to overblown and out of her league. On songs like 17 and Cry, Mandy acts her age, not her shoe size, keeping it, once again, genuine, relatable, and real; downplaying the sex put on display by her peers at the time, and choosing instead to shine a spotlight on what keeps many of us going: direct emotional conact, uncertainty, fear, and love. In other words, reality. And that is what truly makes this album shine. As noted by Amy Linden in her review of the album over at amazon.com, "This isn't great art, but it is enjoyable, disposable pop, and that ain't shabby."
KEY TRACKS: Saturate Me/17/Crush