Album Review: Mandy Moore, “So Real” (1999)

Sometime last year, I was browsing the bargain bin at Half.com when I came upon Mandy Moore’s debut album, So Real. Even though I wasn’t a fan of Mandy’s music or anything, I thought I’d buy the album since it was only 75 cents. A few days later it arrived in the mail, and it was pretty much what I expected.

The problem with So Real is the material that was presented to Moore. She actually has a nice voice, but most of the songs on the album are horribly produced and poorly written. That was the same problem with Jessica Simpson’s debut album, Sweet Kisses.

This is probably due to the fact that both of their managers/labels didn’t really believe in the artist they had and were basically trying to cash in on the Pop Princess trend that was popular back in ’99. Which is unfortunate for Moore, who is stuck singing lame lines like, “I’m the only one who rocks your world”, and “lock me in your heart and throw away the key” throughout the album.

So Real starts off with some annoying sound effects at the beginning, and then Moore comes in saying, “Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah…now give it to me”, in a breathy voice. Yeah…this song is really bad. The synthesized music sounds like karaoke and the lyrics are pretty terrible. Moore sounds really young in this song, too, but she was only 15 when the album was released.

I have to admit I did like Candy back in the day. It’s really catchy and fun to sing. There’s a lot of “oooh yeah’s” and rhyming that could’ve ended up annoying, but isn’t, and the song is so cute that you just have to like it.  What You Want begins with Moore singing, “I love to love you”, and every time I hear it, it kills me because I can’t remember what it’s sampled from. Anyway, this is a bouncy song in which Moore is willing to change herself to be what some boy wants. That’s probably not a good message to send out to the young girls who listen to Moore’s music.

The album slows down here, as the first ballad, Walk Me Home, is presented. I like this song. It’s a sweet song about Moore having a crush on a guy, and Moore sounds really good here. The lyrics aren’t all that interesting, but like Candy, it’s a cute song that’s worth listening to. Quit Breaking My Heart is another ballad. I’m finding that I like the ballads a lot more than the other songs on this album (much like Sweet Kisses, which I mentioned earlier). This one is about a guy who broke Moore’s heart, and how it’s “tearing [her] apart.”  Again, the lyrics aren’t complex or anything, but the song has a good melody, and Moore sounds nice.

So far, most of the songs have annoying beginnings. On Lock Me In Your Heart, some guy starts the song off by chanting, “Mandy, Mandy the sound of your voice is sweet as candy.” Why is that necessary? This song isn’t so bad. If you overlook the lyrics (some of which are quoted in the beginning of the review), the song sounds OK, and is worth a listen.

I always skip the next three songs. Let Me Be The One is just kind of annoying. The whole chorus consists of the line, “Let me be the one you give your love to”, and the background music, again, sounds like karaoke. The production costs on this album must have been really low. I hate listening to Not Too Young, but I do have to admit that I like the lyrics. Here, Moore tells an older guy that she’s “Not too young to know/The right things to do/And one of those things/Is not to fall for you”, and let’s him know that getting with her “won’t be that easy.” Yeah, it’s cheesy, but also kind of cute.  I NEVER listen toLove Shot, so I don’t have much to say about it. It’s probably the worst song on the album, both the lyrics and the music. Just skip it. I Like It was written by Howie Dorough, and I’m guessing it was originally supposed to be for him or The Backstreet Boys, which would explain why the lyrics in the liner notes still say “girl” where they should have been changed to “boy”. Anyway, this song isn’t as annoying as the songs before it, but it’s not too good either.

Love You For Always is probably my favourite on the album. Like the other songs on the CD, the lyrics aren’t good, but I like the beat, and Moore’s voice sounds really good here, too. The song is pretty much light fluff, but is fun to sing along with, and just really cute (I know you’re probably wondering how many times I’ll use cute to describe the songs on this CD, but that’s the only word I can think of to describe most of them! Sorry!).

The album ends with an unnecessary reprise of Quit Breaking My Heart.  It’s just a minute-long acoustic track of Moore singing the chorus of Quit Breaking My Heart.

Sadly, So Real isn’t a great album.  Mandy Moore certainly has a nice voice and considerable talent, but it’s wasted on these badly written, horrible pop songs that were manufactured for her.

Rating: 2_stars.svg

Track List
1. So Real
2. Candy
3. What You Want
4. Walk Me Home
5. Lock Me in Your Heart
6. Telephone (Interlude)
7. Quit Breaking My Heart
8. Let Me Be the One
9. Not Too Young
10. Love Shot
11. I Like It
12. Love You for Always
13. Quit Breaking My Heart (Reprise)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkVsJGl5d6E]

*This is a brittpinkie “classic” review. I have edited this review for content and formatting, though retained my original opinion of the product.

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