Mandy Moore has disappeared off charts for some time now, and not without reason. Her first six albums, cover and compilation included, had the bubblegum pop sound that everyone tries to escape once they find their branches in the various genres of music. Very few artists have, though, ever really escaped it themselves. And for this, it is worthwhile listening to Wild Hope, Mandy Moore’s seventh album.
Wild Hope is not a recent album, it released in 2007, which, as difficult as it is to believe, was over half a decade ago. For any young artist, a change in record labels is a sure sign of impending breakthroughs, good or bad. Moore signed with Sire Records, but eventually ended up recording with EMI USA, citing “creative differences” as the reason. Not only did she co-write all songs on the album, she worked with artists like Rachel Yamagata, Michelle Branch and The Weepies, all of who are my favourites and extremely versatile song-writers.
Moore changed her hair, and more importantly, her music and the way she viewed it. Her original sound had been what had brought her fame almost a decade prior to the release of the album, and as proud as she must have been of it, she commented that anyone who bought that album should be given a refund. The release of Wild Hope created a newer image for Moore, who was critically lauded for her music and was compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple, even Joni Mitchell. The album may not have been as successful as her albums before, but it spoke a great deal about Moore’s maturing into a more sophisticated vocalist and artiste as opposed to a teenage starlet.
Speaking of the album itself, it had three singles as part of the release
- Nothing That You Are
- All Good Things
All three of the singles were exceptionally made, with superior vocals and intimate lyrics. They are introspective and do not lack the depth that most of her work before did. “Extraordinary” is especially pretty, with a catchy tune and a very optimistic, upbeat meaning to it. “Nothing that you are” is an emotionally charged break-up themed song, as a lot are in the album, but it is one of my favourite tracks on the album. The songs that also caught my attention were:
- Most Of Me: This was one of my favourites because of its introspective quality and the vulnerability in the song. This song must be the top priority in the album.
- Gardenia: Another song that is quiet and thoughtful. The only difference is, unlike the whole album, drums do not play a major role here. This song is only vocals accompanied by a piano.
- Slumming In Paradise: This song is cheerful and upbeat, and the vocals are backed by Jason Mraz, which should be a reason, if nothing else, to listen to the song.
- Ladies’ choice: I love this song because it was co-written by Rachel Yamagata and she is one of my favourite female musicians. The mix of her melancholy sound and Moore’s optimism is a flavor that I will not soon forget.
It takes a great deal of effort to move from one genre to another, especially when one gives you the prospect of assured fame. Not only was this album, and her consecutive work, a bold step, but also a fascinating album at that. Do not judge pop artists so; after all, even The Beatles made songs like “I want to hold your hand” before they created an “Eleanor Rigby”.