Mandy Moore - Wild Hope
Release Date: June 19th, 2007
The lives of pop princesses are generally fairly short lived. By the nature of the gig, its more about partial nudity and shaking what your momma gave you over actual substance and talent. So as those things fade and the public gets tired of yet another copy of a copy of a copy, there's nothing for the pop princess to do but disappear for good. Unless, of course, this princess proves herself to actually have some talent.
That is the case with Mandy Moore. After four years, the singer returns with an album that is altogether different from anything she's ever done before. Having already attempted to break herself from the expected mold via 2003's covers album Coverage, Moore took her time to create what is easily the best work of her career with Wild Hope. With the help of such artists as Rachel Yamagata and indie duo The Weepies, Moore co-wrote every song on the album, which bounces effortlessly between upbeat indie-pop tunes and more subdued folk inspired tracks. The result is an honest record, that, in spite of a few cliche missteps, is an overall success.
The album kicks off with lead single "Extraordinary," which sets a nice tone for the album and makes sure the listener knowns that this is a different Mandy Moore than they're used to. Its acoustic-driven accompaniment is the perfect match to Moore's airy vocal delivery. "All Good Things" and "Slummin' In Paradise" keep a similar feel musically and vocally. In contrast, the folky "Most of Me," showcases not only some of the strongest vocals and lyrics on the album, but also makes it clear that Wild Hope is not a one trick pony. With its arpeggiated acoustic line and lap steel lead guitar, its most definitely one of the albums best songs.
After a few more upbeat numbers (including the especially bitterly toned "Nothing That You Are"), the gorgeous title track, with his soft instrumentation and whispery vocals, is yet another indie-folk gem. Lyrically it is also one of the strongest on the album. After the honest rocker "Latest Mistake," comes "Can't You Just Adore Her?" an honest alt-country song where Moore paints herself as just a girl who wants to be loved. The waltz inspired (and appropriately title) "Ladies Choice" follows, as Moore finally allows herself to push away this guy who caused her so much pain. But it is the closer, the beautiful piano driven "Gardenia," where Moore shows us the reason for the whole album: getting to know herself better. The song is moving and honest, and Moore shines vocally throughout.
Wild Hope is a difficult album to sum up. Those who are fans of female singer/songwriters with an alt-country/indie pop twist will probably enjoy this album. The hardest thing for most people, though, will prove to be getting past the fact that its a Mandy Moore album and the idea that the girl who was lumped in with Britney-Christina-Jessica back in the day can be something more. I encourage the doubters to give it a shot--you may find there's hope for the pop princesses yet, wild thought it may be.
This review is a user submitted review from agloriousruin. You can see all of agloriousruin's submitted reviews here.