Mandy Moore

Wild Hope

Back when Britney was more “Lucky” than “Crazy” and Christina was a “Genie,” not “Dirrty,” the “Candy”-sweetest of all pop princesses was Mandy Moore. Her career took a different trajectory—hit movies, not Grammys and gossip—and now she’s a 23-year-old with a back catalog that’s mostly embarrassing. Fortunately, she’s taken a page from another teen sensation, LeAnn Rimes, who matured as an artist by taking control of her music. Moore co-wrote every track on Wild Hope, produced by John Mayer mixer John Alagia. She and her creative partners have crafted a set of rich songs: lyrically smart, judiciously orchestrated, subtle in their hooks. Lead single “Extraordinary” grabbed me on the first listen; “Slummin’ in Paradise” and “Latest Mistake” on the second; “Gardenia” on the third; “Looking Forward” on the fourth. (Now playing in my mental iPod: “All Good Things,” in all its Hammond organ glory.) She channels Rimes on vocals, too, stretching her range with surprising strength. Mandy Moore long has been a young woman worth admiring. With Wild Hope, she’s become an admirable artist.