Some see Mandy Moore’s name and automatically recoil. As someone who grew up in Orlando, however, I take a little bit of pride in the fact that she went to school across the street from me and we had mutual friends. Still, Moore herself apparently has called her past music “just awful.” Since 2003, she has been trying to rehabilitate her image by taking on seemingly, slightly subversive movie roles and making “adult” albums, either of covers or her own original songs. Her most recent album is Amanda Leigh – maybe she’s establishing a Sasha Fierce type character, I don’t know. The album itself isn’t my type… but it seems to scrape at something that is. When I heard the song “Love to Love Me Back” I realized what that means.

A couple years ago, Minnie Driver released Seastories, an album with a lot of songs about love, self-knowledge, and forlorn hopes. I actually like this album probably more than I should, but I like her voice, some of the mysterious lyrics, and the stories she alludes to (and by the way, ending a sentence with a preposition is perfectly fine according to real linguists). I’m not a big lyrics go, so when I come across a song whose lyrics catch me and bring me along for a story, I get interested. Anyway, it turns out Driver was singing in jazz clubs before she was ever an actress — and she writes her own music these days.

Moore’s latest album seems like it’s a really, really weak copy of Seastories. And that’s the only point of my post. Side point: I strongly recommend Seastories.

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