A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that unlike most pop singers these days, Mandy Moore delivers a clean album despite leaning heavily on relationship-related lyrics. She also manages to throw in some gently empowering messages for girls ("I won't hold anything back/and I won't hold anything in/And I might know how it ends/but I'm still willing to begin" or "I was a starling, anyone's darling, now I'm ready to be extraordinary"). The only line that might stop you for a moment is her declaration that she's "the one who likes to make love on the floor."
What's the story?
With classic country-rock instrumentation and an expressive voice turned way up in the mix, some tracks on Mandy Moore's WILD HOPE album evoke nothing more (or less) than a very strong night in the local karaoke bar. Clear, strong vocals blast through, around, and over backing tracks that end up sounding a bit canned and monochromatic despite accomplished performances. It's the voice, after all, that we care about. Mandy Moore delivers one emotional love letter after another -- whether love is lost, found, or in a holding pattern.
Is it any good?
The difference here, between Moore and some of her wanna-be-diva contemporaries, lies in the songs themselves. Artfully crafted with the help of heavy hitters like Rachael Yamagata and Lori McKenna, the songs are deep and poetic enough to carry their own weight. They're also perfect for the artist's strong, earnest delivery. Many of the lyrics have a gently empowering message for girls, as they negotiate the ups and downs of handling romantic relationships.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the ups and downs of romantic relationships and how to get through the hard parts without being self-destructive or mean to others. If you had a breakup, do you think you'd be able to be friends with the person later on? Would it help you feel better to express yourself by talking to someone or to write a song about it?