Published Mar 06, 2020It's hard to hear Mandy Moore's soft, sweet-sounding voice and not think about the many roles she's played over her 20-year career. In 1999, a fifteen-year-old Moore released her debut, So Real, and, driven by the smash single "Candy," was seen as the next big pop star. But that didn't work out.
A few years later, she was making pre-teens sob in the tragic romantic drama A Walk to Remember and her acting career started to pick up. Over the next two decades, Moore swung between releasing albums — her pop sound becoming less bubblegum and more folky — and starring in various TV shows and movies. Most recently, she has a leading role in This Is Us and makes people ugly-cry weekly.
On Silver Landings, a '70s-inspired, soft-rock affair washed in the California sun, Moore is focused on being authentic. It's her first album in 11 years and first since her divorce from Ryan Adams, a relationship she has described as having an "unhealthy dynamic" and she is keen to rediscover herself. "I'm a firm believer in things happening for a reason, and it took the last ten years of my life to get to this point. I really feel like it was worth it," Moore said in a recent New York Times interview.
Across Silver Landings, Moore reflects on the all of the roles she's played and the roads that brought her to where she is today. On the sappy single "Fifteen," she thinks about her pop star days and the summer she spent opening for *NSYNC and on the equally saccharine ballad "If That's What It Takes," present-day Moore is happy and dizzyingly in love with her husband, Dawes' lead singer Taylor Goldsmith, who plays throughout Silver Landings. Elsewhere, Moore's meditations touch deeper. She self-soothes on standout tracks "I'd Rather Lose" and "Tryin' My Best, Los Angeles" and reminds herself that everything she's been through has only made her stronger.
On "When I Wasn't Watching," a shadowy tune with a driving rhythm, Moore makes a confession that feels like a summary of what she went through during her 11-year absence from making music: "My favourite version of me disappeared." Silver Landings shows Moore unburdened and the joy she finds in being honest is both heartening and inspiring. As she sings on "Stories Reminding Myself of Me," "The silence was deafening and it feels so good to sing." (Verve Forecast)