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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while the lyrics on this album reflect a more mature Mandy Moore, they don't delve into explicit discussions of sex, substance use, or other adult behaviors. Their only offense may lie in an ambiguous approach that could prove boring to some: "Follow the kicks and punches with the rest / Rearranged the furniture, hoping it would make more sense / It didn't make a difference, it only made a bigger mess."
What's the story?
Singer and actress Mandy Moore has come a long way from her early days as a bubblegum-pop princess alongside the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera -- and her new album, titled AMANDA LEIGH, proves it. To write most of the record's songs, Moore collaborated with singer-songwriter Mike Viola, frontman for a band called The Candy Butchers. As a result, every song on the record is a singer-songwriter-y tune with more mature, introspective lyrics than today's typical teen anthems that chronicle the ups and downs of romantic relationships: "Earth doesn't come along now, does it? / Present perfect tense / So you made yourself a new world / Where even strangers make more sense."
Is it any good?
Amanda Leigh is about as far away from modern pop as it gets, sounding a lot more like something from '70s folk icon Joni Mitchell (whom Moore claims to idolize) than Spears or Aguilera. Though Moore's vocals may lack the memorably unique quality of Mitchell's, their pure, sweet qualities (especially on "Pocket Philosopher" and "Fern Dell") lend themselves to the super folksy tone of the album. Still, the end result is so far removed from most contemporary records that all but die-hard music enthusiasts may have a hard time appreciating it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different career and life paths taken by teen singers like Mandy Moore, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Why do some young stars like Spears eventually have trouble with relationships and substance abuse, while others like Mandy don't? Does becoming famous at a young age ultimately hurt or help teen stars later in life?