Saturday, May 30, 2009
Album Review: Mandy Moore - Amanda Leigh (4 / 5)
The fall of the 90s saw the introduction to teen-pop, a genre that would only materialize for 5 years, but leave a very solid mark in its era. As the decade turnt, we saw the rise of Britney Spears, taking the world by storm with her debut single ("...Baby One More Time") then followed Christina Aguilera with her's ("Genie In A Bottle") then Jessica Simpson with ("I Wanna Love You Forever") then lastly Mandy Moore, obviously by the time Moore had burst onto the scene, there was no need for her.
In her very limited time in the spotlight she released 3 albums that failed to see their share of commercial success. The best of the three was, I Wanna Be With You which was infact a very good album that pretty much was overlooked and until now was the only album I owned of hers.
Fast forward to the beginning of the fall of the 2000s and Moore finally discovers bubble-gum pop is maybe not for her. Her last album, Wild Hope was her first departure from teen-pop exploring more folksy, rock-pop ventures. The album became yet another failure, although it did receive critical acclaim. 2 years later and Moore returns with, Amanda Leigh a complete transistion from bubble-gum pop to folsky, light-rock. No meddling with the elements.
Opening the album is a mellow ballad, "Merrimack River," which indulges in an angelic audio scenery, using nothing but an acoustic guitar. "Fern Dell," is probably the most creative I've ever seen Moore, think Lily Allen's "Not Fair," but a bit more dulcet and a more distinctive melody. Also incorporating the keyboard and drums, giving the song an acoustic edge.
The single, "I Could Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week" explores a more folksy country nature, which essentially sets the tone for the rest of the album. Handclaps and 70s reminiscent guitars-- this is a perfect folk-orientated song. Shame it wasn't a bigger hit. "Pocket Philosopher," is a tad cartoonish. It's a very animated number, limiting its instruments to piano and drums, kinda like Sara Bareilles' "Love Song."
"Song About Home," is another acoustic, mellow number - I love the melody in this, using the flute to round out that feat. "Everblue," follows up well, pretty much going in the same direction.
The second half of the album, is pretty much the same formula used in every track, strings, drums and keyboard to produce that folksy, mellow tone on the album. "Indian Summer," is the highlight of the bottom half --a very good vocal performance.
Amanda Leigh is a very successful transition into more adult contemporary pop. Maybe is Moore had started out this way, she would've seen more success. Just a thought.
Best: Merrimack River, Fern Dell, Pocket Philosopher, I Could Break Your Heart, Song About Home