WHO IS SHE? The onetime singer-songwriter who is undoubtedly far better known these days as Rebecca Pearson on the emotionally manipulative TV dramedy This Is Us. Speaking of emotional manipulation, Moore also survived a five-year marriage to the allegedly controlling roots-rocker Ryan Adams, though these days she’s hitched to the presumably more genial Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes.
WHAT IS THIS? His long-overdue seventh studio album and first new music since 2009’s Amanda Leigh — though she repeatedly stated she was working on music throughout her years with Adams.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? An older, wiser performer regaining her confidence. Moore digs deep and pulls no punches on these 10 tracks, re-evaluating her life, career, dreams and former marriage in no uncertain terms. Wisely, the former bubblegummer turned roots-popster also continues to evolve musically, setting her lyrics against a backdrop of stylishly understated California-rock co-written with hubby Goldsmith, produced by returning collaborator Mike Viola and rendered with plenty of ringing electric pianos, shimmery guitars and thumpy downtuned drums.
WHAT ARE THE MOST REVEALING LYRICS? “Not all pain is black and blue / Strongest people come unglued / When someone gets the best of you / Don’t let them take the rest of you.”
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? This Is Me. Or How Mandy Got Her Groove Back.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? After leaving your spouse, while driving to a new city and towing all your possessions behind you in a trailer.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Personal, authentic, therapeutic, rich, summery, inviting, bittersweet, graceful, empowered, earnest.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? I’d Rather Lose, When I Wasn’t Watching and Easy Target could be outtakes from a latter-day Fleetwood Mac album, while Forgiveness surely has Adams’ ears burning.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘This is the first Mandy Moore album I’ve ever wanted to hear again. And the first Mandy Moore album that made me want to hear her next Mandy Moore album.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? Whenever you need something to tide you over until Stevie Nicks and co. finally get around to making another album.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A TV MOVIE, WHAT STATION WOULD IT BE ON? The Lifetime Network.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? She’s already paid a heftier price than you ever could.