My fascination and devotion to Mandy Moore runs back several years, often confusing close friends and even more often being misunderstood by girlfriends who may think they have some sort of competition with a woman I simply have no chance of acquiring (or possibly even meeting). While Mandy Moore does rank at the zenith of my celebrity totem, I wish to clear up any false speculation concerning my affinity for her by declaring my attitude towards Miss Moore as strictly benign.
But don’t get me wrong. While the idea of my loins burning in hot passion for this young starlet is unfounded, she does have numerous qualities I find pleasurable in one way or another. Taking my love for Mandy Moore and investing it into careful thought, I present an analysis of Miss Moore’s positive qualities.
Mandy Moore’s Melodic Machinations
Above all else, Mandy Moore is probably best known for her musical career. Her voice is recognizable as the chief instrument in her catalogue of hits and less memorable (though equally enjoyable) tunes. What makes her voice so spectacular other than its simply beauty that breaks through my rib cage and directly tingles my heart, is the range she is able to reach.
She was first noticed by me for her soft, airy whispers of passion. This light breathing can be heard in the beginning of her cover of Blondie’s “One Way or Another” but this aspect is widely heard through her hit “Candy”. Towards the end, she massages our ears with “I know who you are. Your love’s as sweet as candy. I’ll be forever yours. Love always, Mandy.” This departure from the fuller verses gives us the impression that she is talking directly to us, and there’s something very sensual about a woman speaking heartfelt prose into our ears rather than sounding off for the world to hear.
Her full voice is present on the majority of her songs, including “Candy.” What Mandy has that other pop singers generally lack is the ability to “belt out” her lyrics in a powerful and moving way. Singers like Christina Aguilera focus on the use of a wide vocal range, Britney Spears focuses on reaching us through sexuality, but Mandy delivers raw power – a sweetness on the surface, a raging force beneath. Combine this with lyrics that actually mean something other than the blunt come-ons of Avril Lavigne or Jennifer Lopez, and you have msuic that will be relevent through the ages.
She is not only powerful and soft when necessary, but shows us the high notes when they are appropriate. While high notes are not her forte (and admittingly she could improve on this), Mandy will not shy away from them. As evidence I suggest watching her performance of “Suddenly Seymour” with Adam Pascal (best known from Rent). Moore fills the role of Audrey, a woman with a notoriously high-pitched voice. While Mandy does not carry this pitch nearly as high as Ellen Greene alongside Rick Moranis, she must be commended on her conservative approach rather than trying too hard and ruining the song in the process. We are left with a unique interpretation that is more or less on par with the original.
Another issue entirely is her song “Stupid Cupid” which stands out from her other tunes for the way she uses her voice -a way I find beyond description. Only a repeat listening of this song could do it the justice I’d fail to present here.
Although probably not Mandy’s creations, it is worth briefly noting the music beneath the voice. The songs in general have a very nice flow and beats that keep us listening. She falls into a safe genre between modern pop and easy listening – not offensive to parents, yet not weak enough to induce sleep (although some of her music could certainly be used to lull us into a great slumber).
I have mentioned the lyrics, but I wish to reiterate the beauty of these lyrics that speak of love rather than lust. The closest lyric to anything sexual in Moore’s repertoire is probably “First Kiss” with the line “our first kiss won’t be the last” – hardly anything objectionable. An argument could be made that “Candy” is a metaphor for sex, though I personally think the allegations of its prurience are overdone – even more so considering Mandy was roughly fifteen at the time of the recording. A case for Avril Lavigne having numerous sexual references is far easier made.
From Songstress to Actress
While Mandy’s background is clearly singing (even performing the National Anthem as a child), she has quickly bloomed as an up-and-coming actress in demand. All her roles are well done and her acting is very natural, playing parts close to reality in order to identify with her characters. Unlike Jeremy London, she does not push the boundaries into anything she cannot muster (e.g. London floundered in the sophomoric comic romp “Mallrats”) and focuses more on mastering the roles she was born to play – while simultaneously avoiding the typecasting that plagues many of Hollywood’s more established actors. Two roles in general deserve further comment.
Without a doubt, there has never been a better role for Mandy Moore than the one she played in “A Walk to Remember.” That film had me crying in the theater continuously, largely due to Mandy’s skills as an actress allowing me to really care for her character and ride the emotional rollercoaster she constructed with writer Nicholas Sparks and co-star Shane West. Moore’s character is so timid and sweet, she is like the younger sister we never had. And her solo in the middle of the film (“Only Hope”)? I was blown away with her voice and her sheer beauty, blushing with embarassment at how attracted I found myself to a celebrity. This song remains Mandy’s greatest single work.
Another wonderful job had us rooting against Moore in the cult film “Saved” which featured other great young actors Macaulay Culkin and Jena Malone. In this movie, Mandy took her Christian teenager from “A Walk to Remember” and inverted her, showing us just how sinister the “good guys” can be. To date, this is Mandy’s biggest departure from her wholesome movie image, although the “nude” scenes from “Chasing Liberty” could be mentioned, as long as we keep in mind there was nothing indecent and the brief rear scene featured a “stunt ass”.
Down to Earth
While I have never had the honor of meeting Mandy personally, I get the distinct impression from her movies, television appearances, and interviews that she is a legitimately sweet and (for the most part) innocent young woman. If this is nothing but an act, she plays this part best of all.
In the movies, Mandy tends to play the wholesome Christian youth, with just a tinge of rebellion – but not enough to get grounded by her parents. I am quite certain this reflects on her personality in real life, as someone who is approachable and sincerely concerned for those around her. I am uncertain of her religious views, but a liberal Christian upbringing would be my best guess.
Mandy’s personality shines in interviews, but the best example of her decency is probably her appearance on Ashton Kutcher’s MTV baby “Punk’d”. When faced with a dilapidated trailer, she feels the urge to inform the owner she is worried for his safety and health. Her concern is not judgmental, merely benevolent. When the trailer gets crushed by Mandy’s staff, the honest look of terror in her eyes tells me how much she really wished to help someone. In fact, the very notion that she appeared on a show under the pretense to help remodel their home shows to me she is a generally altruistic person. I rather doubt her pay was sufficient or that the publicity was the primary goal in signing on for such an endeavor.
A Young Aphrodite?
I would disappoint many people if I left out Mandy’s physical appearance. Her grace, beauty and elegance have stunned millions time and time again. No one has been hit harder than yours truly. A few notes on her general appearance, wholesome nature, and public attire.
The most alluring thing about Mandy’s clothing choices is the appropriate nature of them for a general audience. You will not find Mandy in low-cut dresses, you’re unlikely to see her belly, and you most certainly will not find her in a thong. More often than not she will be in a tasteful 70s style outfit or even a very plain and standard dress – relying on class rather than sex to sell herself. One might argue she is using sex to sell herself by not being sexy (in other words, using the “sexiness” of innocense) and this is a fair opinion, although there is in my mind a vast difference between explicit and implied sexuality. One is tasteful, one is not.
Along with the sensible clothing, Mandy is realistic about her figure. She is a naturally beautiful woman is works with the natural beauty rather than forcing herself into a body she was not born to wear. Mandy’s weight seems to fluctuate between thin and “average” and she makes no apologies for refusing the demands of Hollywood to be a stick figure. We can see her more as a girl next door or as a little sister rather than a cheap stripper, an approach that is far more commanding in its subtlety. To see Mandy anorexic or deathly pale would be a travesty.
Rather than give a general overall of styles that work for or against Mandy’s natural beauty, I will show my true devotion by expressing my feelings on each and every appearance currently available to me.
A. The film “A Walk to Remember” delivered us Mandy at her absolutely most beautiful moments. Mentioned above is the scene where she sings “Only Hope” in her breathtaking dress and amazing hair. But even throughout the film in her simple ponytail and overalls, she has a quality about her that far exceeds that of ordinary women.
B. “Candy” has Mandy showcasing a variety of teenage hairstyles and outfits. This video features her wearing something like shoelaces tied around her arms, which was a serious fashion faux pas. The green skirt matching her “wild” hair is a great look, though she decides to go with the regular straight, blonde hair and a red tank top. This outfit fits her well, though can only be described as “adequate” rather than “amazing.”
C. When Mandy performed “Candy” live for MTV Snowed In, she had a crimped and wavy hairstyle which seemed meant for Julia Stiles or Melissa Joan Hart, but not Mandy. Hair notwithstanding, the pleather black jacket and red pants combo was a winner and did wonders in melting the hearts of those who attended that cold day.
D. She also performed “Candy” on Mad TV, with a sort of funky acoustic sound backing her up (which was excellent). The hair was like that of the blonde girl from “That 70s Show”. It worked. The faded pink jeans and off-pink top (with a doilie print) were “very Mandy” and added to the 70s look her hair conjured up in my mind. The only thing she was missing was Santana.
E. “Crush” has possibly the most seductive Mandy, with a black tank and pants combo and long blonde hair. This outfit mixed with her flirtatious manner is very hypnotic. The belt (rhinestones?) seems odd, yet flows with the ensemble nicely. Later in the video she is wearing a blue dress with a white sash, appearing something like Sigourney Weaver from “Ghostbusters”. Not a great dress, but could be worse. At the end, Mandy is wearing a red pleather jacket that screams Michael Jackson, and this completely kills the vibe of the black.
F. On July 18, 2001, Mandy performed “Crush” on “The Panel” in a very scaled down way. She was sitting, which I think took away from her voice. Her outfit is hard to decipher, due to her sitting, but the top is a pink blouse and she has the standard blonde hair. Very simple, very quaint. Nothing stunning, but nothing too clashing, either. A regular girl.
G. “Cry” starts with a very unflattering black dress, dark brunette hair, and dark eye makeup. The latter two work well together and really accentuate Mandy’s eyes (which is rare in other appearances). It is too bad the dress is frumpy and not very becoming of her. Also, it is very short and has an angled cut that confuses me, especially with the swirling backdrop. A dress like this should have made Mandy “Queen of the Night” but black dresses simply are not her thing. (In her MTV Diary, where she wears a much better red shirt, she complains of the shoes being slippery and she is afraid she will trip on the dress. Then Wilmer (Fez) shows up to save the day.)
H. She performed “Cry” at the MTV Asia awards show in 2002. I don’t know if her voice was going out or if the microphone was faulty, but her performance was not overly great. The dress was similar to the one in the video, only cut on the top to have spaghetti straps and the bottom is longer. This works better than the video. Her hair is still brunette at this point.
I. When “Cry” was performed at the Palace, she opted for a ruffled pink top (much more her color) and the blonde hair. Black pants, unlike the black dress, work in her favor here and really offset the pink to create something just spectacular.
J. “Have a Little Faith in Me” gives Mandy pouty lips and some unusual eye makeup that I really do not like. Her hair (brunette) is slightly wavy and also does nothing for me. In the beginning, she is wearing a loose-fitting, low-cut pastel pink top which is horrid and fails to take away from the other makeup monsters the artists created. About three more outfits are shown in the video, none really doing her justice. In one scene, her face is ruddy giving her almost a pregnant look. In another, she resembles Bjork. Whoever was in charge of shooting this video should, ironically, be shot.
K. The “I Wanna Be With You” video has a young and very angelic Mandy in a peach-colored top, that matches her flowing blonde locks and makes me wish she were a few years older in the video. The pants are grey sweats, which would normally seem strange, but match her top very nicely and even help her to congeal with the theme of the video (this song is from the excellent ballet film “Center Stage”).
L. Mandy did an acoustic version of “I Wanna Be With You” for the Craig Kilbourn show on August 8, 2000, which seemed to please Craig. She is blonde and sitting on a stool with a black dress (one that seems to work somewhat). Her vocals do not follow the way the song is on the album at all, but once I adjusted, I really enjoyed it. Not sure if I liked the large golden hoop earrings. Normally, I don’t, but this is more of that “Mandy look” she seems to pull off.
M. I have no idea what was going on during the “In My Pocket” video. Mandy is trying to go for an Indian look, I think, with her flowing pink robes. Sadly, she adopts the hairstyle Gwen Stefani briefly had with the hair pulled up to the top of her head and then brought back. This style has never worked for anyone, not even Mandy Moore. Ignoring the hair (which is blonde), this is a very hot and steamy Mandy and her facial expressiosn accent the outfit to give a great look of Southeast Asian seduction. Incidentally, this is one of her more fast paced and livelier tunes.
N. Mandy brought “In My Pocket” to the Rosie O’Donnell show. The hair is back to the standard longblone (thankfully) and she is wearing a black see-through shirt (mesh?). This shirt is smoking hot, her hair is perfect, and I have never seen her dance this much in any other place (and the dancing is very nice). This is brought down slightly by her use of black and white striped pants. They are not horrible, but tend to stand out too much and distract me from the artist herself. These pants belong on the Black Crowes, not Mandy Moore.
O. Mandy appeared in the music video “On the Line” alongside members of ‘NSync and BBMak. Ignoring those poseurs, Mandy is looking fine. Long, blonde hair with natural curls at the end. Jean shorts, dark blue top. She may as well be the G-Rated version of Daisy Duke. I’d take a ride with her in the General Lee any day of the week.
P. Mandy wore a very nice number to “Punk’d” (see above). She has jeans, a snug white T-shirt that says “Boston”, a little gray cap, and the short brunette hair. She has the appearance of any girl from high school who wasn’t too preppy yet knew how to make herself look as great as possible. If you were me in high school, and Mandy was in my school, this girl would be way out of my league. Exquisite.
Q. The “So Real” video features the original Mandy Moore – young, blonde, tight white t-shirt and blue jeans. Other than the “young” part, this is a girl who is full of energy and just wants to take on the world. Very happening. Towards the end, she puts on a green shawl with a pink skirt. I think I like this, although it doesn’t say “I’m tough and want to wrestle” the way the white shirt and jeans do.
R. When Mandy does her duet with Adam Pascal on “Suddenly Seymour” she wears a black sun dress (if that makes sense), which seems little more than a nightgown from the top up (the bottom is ruffled). Her long brunette hair is up in a loose bun (the only time I’ve seen her do this), and this whole look makes her seem very fragile or unprotected. If this is the look they wanted (it would fit the musical), they succeeded greatly – and Mandy looks fantastic as usual.
S. Lastly is the “Walk Me Home” video with Mandy’s large red lips and yellow shirt. Somebody was thinking “primary colors” on this one. She also, in another scene, has a white see-through top, eye makeup that fits an “ice princess” and porno gloss lip balm to complete the look. This is hot. I am very unclear on what pants she is wearing with the yellow top – it looks like gater skin with peacock eyes all over the tropical green. Interesting, to say the least, though not alluring in any sense of the word. Yet another scene features a white sweater and brown (corduroy?) pants. Another great look for young Mandy. My only real complaint is the overuse of makeup. The trick of makeup is to appear as if you’re not wearing any, and it’s quite obvious how much is caked on her eyes and lips – a look that is never flattering and even sort of disturbing on younger women. But I digress.
Let’s face it. There simply can be only one Mandy Moore, and with any luck her career will continue to head skyward. I wish her only the very best and look optimistically into her future, where I will be along fro the ride, if only from afar. Moore has given me ,and many others, a career to remember.