Mandy Moore is one of the few Hollywood starlets who takes her career seriously. While some of her peers spent night after night partying at one of Hollywood's notorious hotspots, Moore has been making movies and recording new music. I listened to an advance copy of Moore's forthcoming new album "Wild Hope" this weekend. And let me tell you that this is no longer the clean & crisp pop starlet you think she is.
Moore, now 22, put her heart and soul into her upcoming new record "Wild Hope." Instead of relying on a hot Swedish producer to write more of the same catchy bubblepop, Moore decided to take full control and record an album that is less of a commodity and more of a personal affair. "It's somewhat of a foreign concept for me to care so much about a record," Moore says in a press release. "I really haven't had the personal involvment on anything in the past, not like I do with this one."
To put a fitting melody to her personal stories, Moore turned to an eclecting bunch of songwriters and producers. Recorded at Allaire Studios and produced by John Alagia, the man behind the board on John Mayer's 2001 debut "Room for Squares," people like Lori McKenna, Chantal Kreviazuk, The Weepies and Rachael Yamagata all lended a hand to "Wild Hope."
The result is a folk-inspired pop album that will surprise you. Yes, folk! This is nothing like the Moore you have heard before. Particularly, her vocals are remarkable. Her voice has matured and developed into something that is still pop but has a compelling country edge to it. Highlights are the single "Extraordinary," the gut-wrenching ballad "Gardenia and "A Few Days Down" that prominently displays her new vocal style.
This is one of those projects that poses a risk commercially, but delivers the goods artistically. Some of her younger fans might not appreciate this new sound, but it will surely interest many new listeners to hear the new Mandy Moore.
With the a brand-new sound, the time has come for Moore to also get rid of that clean-cut image. She should skip a shower, grow out her highlights or start riding a bad-ass motor cycle to fully complete her revamp.