Mandy Moore, Mandy Moore Epic Records

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Epic Records

Dear Mandy,

I thought things were going to be special between us, but I”m afraid it”s not going to work out. I imagined our future stretching out before us like footprints on the beach. After all, your video for “In My Pocket” was so vibrant full of colors, twirling flames, smiling Asian children, upside-down boxing and confident, yet not slutty, sexuality. How could I have known your following album, Mandy Moore, would be so disappointing?

Don”t get me wrong we”ve had our special moments. “One Sided Love” is a forward, accessible groove, but its message of demanding attention is too routine, as is the same middle-eastern sound from your first single. Where is this coming from? Why? Sometimes I feel like I just don”t understand you or your producers. “Yo-yo” is another such song, at first fun, but easy to see through after awhile: “I”m not a yo-yo/I”m not a thing you let go.” The album is a lot of fun at first, but I need something more serious in my life, someone more mature.

On moments like “17,” your sweet, melodic ballad (“Just this once I want to feel like I can do what I want when I hold tight),” I feel like I understand your youth, your hopefulness for the future. Underneath it all is a navet, and I feel like you”re just too young for me. “Crush” makes it all too clear, with the all-too-painful line, “I”ve got a crush on you/I hope you feel the way I do.” I”ve had a lot of fun, Mandy, and you”re very special to me, but Mandy Moore is somewhere between places.

You”re talented, have a sweet voice and exude sincerity not present in your peers, the cottage industries which are Christina, Britney and Jessica Simpson. But you”re between places, wanting to move forward into edgier, more personal music, yet still holding onto your fan base with trite, shallow material. I know you have to move forward, but I just can”t be there for that journey.

All my love,

Japiya

Grade: C+

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