Mandy Moore – Amanda Leigh

June 5, 2012 at 9:09 PM | Posted in Mandy Moore | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Mandy Moore – Amanda Leigh

1. Merrimack River
2. Fern Dell
3. I Can Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week
4. Pocket Philosopher
5. Song About Home
6. Everblue
7. Merrimack River (Reprise)
8. Love To Love Me Back
9. Indian Summer
10. Nothing Everything
11. Bug

♦ ♦ ♦

Amanda Leigh is the sixth studio album by American singer Mandy Moore, released on May 26, 2009. Amanda Leigh debuted at #25 in Billboard 200 selling 15,657 copies in its first week of release. This is her third highest peaking album to date. It quickly fell to #121 the week after.

I’ve become to appreciate Mandy a bit more since she starred as Rapunzel in Disney’s Tangled, so I though I should give this album a try. Merrimack River is a ballad, which imo is always a tricky way to start an album, but this song is pretty awesome and one of the actual highlights of the album. It’s a peaceful song in triple time and it makes an acoustic impression with the strings and guitar. It’s smooth, and it actually does almost flow like a river. Mandy’s vocals are pure and beautiful, and I like how the male vocalist harmonizes.

Fern Dell is more uptempo and it starts with an amazing guitar line that is rather catchy. The percussion gives a lot more spice to it, especially after Merrimack River. There are some musical explosions here and there with brass instruments and strings, but then it returns to the more acoustic sounding music. There’s a little repetition in the song, but it really kicks some ass.

I Could Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week was the first and only single of the album, and I think it was a pretty good choice since the lyrics are quite catchy (she names all the days in the week, so that really fits the title). This song is quite energetic as well, since Mandy is singing with a lot of attitude and the handclaps are uplifting. Could’ve been a bit longer though.

The next song is rather interesting as well, since it already opens with a nice piano chord piece. Still Pocket Philosopher is an interesting song for some mixed reasons. Positive because it has a little bounce in the folkish sounding music which makes it a lot of fun, but some of the lyrics are a bit cheesy (‘Hey, come on let’s play a song, or two, or three, or four…’). It’s almost like a song for a cartoon, especially when the flute comes in to play a little note. Her vocals reminded me of Rapunzel here x]

I always thought the arrangement of Song About Home was a little strange, mostly because of the flute parts and something that just sounds like wrong pitching, but it has a soothing feeling as well. Mandy sings in a relaxed and sincere way, which I really love about here voice. Her vocals are always spot on, and the choir is a very nice addition to the song as well. Although the pitch of the instruments sound a bit off, it gives the song something memorable.

So most of the songs on this album are rather soothing and ballad material, but that’s okay if you’re into that stuff (like I am). What I instantly noticed about Everblue is how nice Mandy’s vocals (including the nice male vocalist’s harmonizations), an acoustic guitar, deep bass drum and later on some strings, play each other off in this track. It doesn’t really have any highlights when it comes to the vocal use of melody, but the arrangement is very nice.

Merrimack River (Repise) is ofcourse an instrumental reprise of the first track and it’s really cute, it almost reminded me of a merry-go-round at the fair. It’s like a music box mixed with piano chords. Cute.

Love To Love Me Back is the next more uptempo country-pop song on the album and I really like Mandy’s airy vocals here, also how she transitions between her head and chest voice. She has great control of her voice. It’s a solid track, it flows really nicely and there’s something about the arrangement of acoustic guitar and percussion that just sounds really good to me (but maybe I just have a weak spot for country music).

A nice piano melody and bass line open Indian Summer, which is really pretty. But then Mandy’s first line is ‘I want your number‘, which just really blows it for me just like THAT. Sorry, that’s just so ugly in a ballad. It’s a very short song, very peaceful again, and I love how the chords comes in later on to give the music a little extra. So maybe not that bad after all.

The same chord opens Nothing Everything, so there’s a little connection between some of the tracks (love that concept). It’s a fun uptempo track, the male vocalist returns which is a really good thing, and I found the strings melody in the chorus rather catchy, just like the chords. There’s a large bridge in this song in which the vocalists just constantly sing ‘lalalala, lalalala…‘, and the thing I liked most is Mandy’s kickass adlibbing there.

Bug is actually the nickname her husband Ryan Adams gave her, so cute. It’s a midtempo guitar track, but some violin melodies add a little extra to it (and I love violins :3). It’s the simplest and shortest track on the album, and when you listen to the lyrics it’s also one of the cutest.

All I can think of after I listened to Amanda Leigh is that the album consists of some ingenious arrangements and beautiful vocals in every single track. Maybe not every track is perfect, but at least all of them have a unique quality. Even Song About Home, which is eventually one of the songs I listed as a favorite because even that pitching had a really enchanting quality. It’s a rather short album, but very sweet, I love Mandy’s style. She makes this nice folkish country-pop music and she finally stepped away from the Britney Spears copy-stuff. Yep, I like this album!

Favorite tracks: Merrimack River | Fern Dell | I Can Break Your Heart Any Day Of The Week | Song About Home | Love To Love Me Back

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

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