Mandy Moore Discography Rate - #31: In which we lose a song from 2002 ("Haunting & Strange...") | Page 38 | The Popjustice Forum

Mandy Moore Discography Rate - #31: In which we lose a song from 2002 ("Haunting & Strange...")

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by pop3blow2, Mar 18, 2019.

?

What's your favorite Mandy Moore album

  1. So Real

    4 vote(s)
    9.5%
  2. I Wanne Be With You

    1 vote(s)
    2.4%
  3. Mandy Moore

    17 vote(s)
    40.5%
  4. Coverage

    6 vote(s)
    14.3%
  5. Wild Hope

    10 vote(s)
    23.8%
  6. Amanda Leigh

    4 vote(s)
    9.5%
  7. Other (soundtrack, etc.)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. pop3blow2 likes this.
  2. Working on #38. It only has one 10, but only one score under a 6, too... which I found interesting.
     
    Music Is Life, berserkboi and vague like this.
  3. When you're looking for 2004 pictures of Mandy & your rate art comes up Google Image search....

    Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 12.22.36 AM.png

    #MetaMandy
     
  4. [​IMG]


    "It Only Took A Minute" | 7.653




    Rated 38th out of 84 total songs

    Rated 10th out of 13 from Mandy Moore



    Chart info or stats:

    The 85th most scrobbled Mandy song on Last.fm

    The 10th most scrobbled song from Mandy Moore on Last.fm





    Liner Notes


    Written by: Emilio Estefan, George Noriega, Jon Secada, Tim Mitchell
    Produced by: Emilio Estefan, George Noriega, Jon Secada, Tim Mitchell


    Track 8 on
    Mandy Moore released June 16, 2001




    "My own parade…"
    "Here I am, isn't that a vision"

    Let me be clear, I love self-titled all the way through. That includes "It Only Took A Minute", so none of this write-up is necessarily shade.

    One of the more interesting/anxiety filled parts of both participating in a rate and certainly hosting one, is how out of your hands the results are. Independently when we all listen to music, sometimes we likely compare an artist's work to both their other work & other artists, I’m sure (at least the kind of people who take parts in rates probably do. dddd). For the most part though, you don’t have to think about how, say the tracks of your favorite album, necessarily stack up against the filler from what you know is the most beloved album by an artist on a regular basis. Your personal occasional thought process is likely a little broader than that.

    And yes, I just called 'It Only Took A Minute' filler. It’s reeeeaaaalllly good filler (the kind other artists in her era would’ve killed for), but I consider it filler regardless.

    So, when when you start to see a song like this outlast some of the recent 10s you’ve lost and outlast pretty much of all of the amazing Amanda Leigh, it only takes a minute for you to generate some sudden animosity towards a song you've always liked, but not really loved... animosity you would've never harbored towards said song. As a host preparing a reveal, you wind up having the occasional one word internal monologue of, ‘Really?’ It's an interesting dissection of your own fandom.

    I mean all this in good fun. While this song is among my lowest rated from Mandy Moore, I actually really like it. Once upon a time, this would’ve a been an easy 9 plus in a rate. Time has lessened my love a bit, but when your weak spot on an album is song like this, well, there’s a reason that album is so beloved.

    I mean, the opening lyrics to my first post in this rate quoted the song… so, yeah; I quite enjoy the song.

    I should enjoy it, because there’s a lot of talent behind this song! Notably, it’s one the handful of songs produced by Emilio Estefan on the album. Emilio, is of course, the husband of Gloria & renowned in his own right, as both a songwriter & producer with Miami Sound Machine & production/writing on many other artists' albums. One of the most notable artists Emilio wrote & produced for was Jon Secada. Jon had a very successful career as an artist in the 90’s, producing a string of top 40 hits & Grammy award winning albums. He started to get even more involved in writing & producing for other artists in the 00’s, This included songs on Mandy’s album, Ricky Martin, & being a judge on Latin American Idol for its entire 4 season run.

    Growing up, my mom was a huge Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine fan. As such, we had all their records in my house. I've always been very acquainted with their work & have a super soft spot for them. (My mom was so excited when I took her to the Estefan's restaurant at Walt Disney World on her first trip there.)

    Likewise, Jon Secada's debut album was an album I bought when I was very young & loved. Like, when I say I loved it, I mean I played it to death... which was sort of big deal since male pop vocalists were not really my thing (some things never change!) His voice & songs were absolutely undeniable, though.

    'It Only Took A Minute' is a smooth mid-tempo that actually wouldn't have been out of place on one of Jon’s albums. At first, Mandy working with Emilio & Jon seemed like an odd fit on paper, but really since Mandy has such strong Florida roots, this all really lines up in an interesting way in her overall narrative. They wound up being a great choice for their songs on the album & tapped into a part of Mandy we hadn't seen before... or since really.

    We’ll get into this more in some future eliminations, but Emilio’s contributions to self-titled really stand out, but in a good way... and part of me always wished Epic would’ve just gone all in with having him & Jon produce the whole album.





    My Score: 8.4



    "Kicking up confetti leaves…"


    Sparkle In The Sky


    @Remorque (10)

    @vague (9.25):
    This chorus is always a bit sweeter than i expect it to be. this verses feel a lil bit moody (sound-wise, at least), then that sugary chorus pops up and it's always a surprise dddd. i do quite like this, still. (The whole song a bit all over the place in what it wants to be. I think that's by the design, which is why it works at all! But still, it makes for a fairly uneven listen.)


    @Robert (9), @Robsolete (9.5)

    @Music Is Life (9):
    I love the production on this, especially the violins and the guitar. And her vocals are great, and the melody is catchy. I just wish the lyrics were more interesting. (The lyrics are odd in this one! They fluctuate between being really interesting & really hokey.)


    @Zar-Unity (8.5):
    Mandy has a cool singing style on songs like this one. It's nice how the song changes from an exotic verse to a semi ballad line. This almost doesn't work! The vocal effects are interesting on this song. This song sounds confused for whether it wants to be a energetic banger or a sweet semi pop ballad. It's more on the sweet ballad side with a little fire to it I guess. Not one of my go-to favorites but I still like this song better than some others on her self-titled. The main melody (the title of the song line) doesn't really grab me that much, as I feel like I've already heard Mandy sing this type of pop ballad earlier on this album but it's still pleasant to hear nonetheless.
    (Yeah, I totally agree here. A very uneven song with some interesting ideas, that all mainly work.. but still just a really good filler track.)

    @unnameable (8.5):
    what a perfect chorus. (I can't argue here. I just started instantly singing the chorus on demand in my head when I read this.)


    @VivaForever (8)



    Corner of your eye

    @LKane (7.2):
    The song has something, but again those sounds from India are just not doing nothing for me. (So, you're not digging World Music Mandy? Haha!)

    @ohnostalgia (6):
    I think this is where the self-titled album starts to lose steam. I’d rate this on par with some of the slower moments from So Real and I Wanna Be With You. (I like a lot of the back half of the album, but I actually agree with you some, here. The back half is not as strong. I probably would've unfriended anyone that told me that in 2002, but I'm older & more mature now..and can deal with my faves being criticism... Well, until I go into the Carly thread or if I ever hear anyone utter a negative word about Maisie Peters on this forum! )

    @RUNAWAY (6.5):
    and we’re back to the bland album tracks from albums 1 and 2 huh? I forgot this album was pretty much just a continuation of the ones before aside from the singles. (You & @ohnostalgia collaborating on some commentary? Ha!)


    @Sprockrooster (6), @tylerc904 (7.5), @ladylloyd (6), @chris4862 (7), @CasuallyCrazed (6.5)




    Still Undiscovered

    @Florencia. (5)





    For Your Viewing & Listening Pleasure



    Some Gloria, Emilio, & Miami Sound Machine!





    And Jon Secada, of course! (Both of these absolute classics produced by Emilio Estefan)



     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  5. [​IMG]


    "Turn The Clock Around" | 7.756




    Rated 37th out of 84 total songs

    Rated 9th out of 13 from Mandy Moore



    Chart info or stats:

    The 83th most scrobbled Mandy song on Last.fm

    The 8th most scrobbled song from Mandy Moore on Last.fm





    Liner Notes


    Written by: David Rice, JW Baxter, Nick Trevisick
    Produced by: David Rice, Nick Trevisick, Alexis Dufrense


    Track 9 on
    Mandy Moore released June 16, 2001




    "My own parade…"
    "We must have had the stars above and heaven on our side
    'Cause we fell in love before we even made it through the night
    But you were leaving town, and started another kind of life
    You walked me to the door and we tried to say goodbye"


    So, the forum’s beloved self-titled loses back to back songs for the first time is the rate. Of course it would be these two songs back-to-back from Mandy Moore.

    Much like other duality in the MandySphere, self titled is really a tale of two albums. The album is pretty much split between a pop album with some interesting world-music flourishes (the Emilio Estefan songs) and songs that sound like they were meant to transform Mandy into a pseudo Natalie Imbruglia-lite alt-pop princess. Of course there’s a couple of ballads thrown in for good measure, too, but the album did always seem to pretty much be of two minds. This makes it both interesting or schizophrenic, based on your pov, I guess. Maybe Mandy Moore is both and all the better for it.

    This could also prove that in 2001 Epic still didn’t know what to with Mandy. And I don't think they did. Both the label & Mandy wanted to give her music a new edge, but other were quite sure what that 'edge' was. I think Mandy sounded good & worked in both worlds on the album, but she seems more comfortable in this alt-pop princess mode, which makes sense. Some of the sonics in those songs on Mandy Moore aren't crazily removed from moments on Coverage... that album's sonics are just more cohesive & better thought out. (The beauty of having only two people in on the vision.)

    Early on in the rate we lost the song ‘Your Face’. Two of people from that song pop up again here: David Rice & Nick Trevisick. ’Turn The Clock Around’ couldn’t be more different than 'Your Face', though.

    ’Turn The Clock Around’ skates along on some slickly produced programming & acoustic instrumentation at a fairly nice clip. In fact, it’s basically the same BPM as ’Torn’ & several compositions on Mandy Moore remind me of that era of Natalie in many ways... falling into that AC pop vibe of the era. I love how clinical & nerdy someone got with Mandy’s Wikipedia page for this album & song:


    “The song lasts for three minutes and thirty seconds and is composed in the key of C harmonic minor and is set in the time signature of 4/4 common time with a moderate tempo of 96 beats per minute. Moore's vocal range spans over two octaves from Eb3 to G5.”

    Well, then. Now you know. Haha!

    While researching David Rice & the ‘Your Face’ write-up earlier in the rate, I found a fun Mandy nugget I did not know about & obviously decided to save for this wrie-up. I’m not not sure if this is the original composition & they altered for Mandy or if David Rice (the main songwriter on this track) decided to switch it up later, but on his 2007 album 80 Miles To Stand Up he recorded a version of 'Turn The Clock Around' with completely different lyrics. His version adds a much more story-based narrative to the song.




    Listening to his version really proved to me how amazing the melody to this song and even at 8.6, maybe I underscored a tad.

    I’ll give you a spoiler to my score on another song from Mandy Moore that falls into that ’Imbruglia’-lite sonic palette: ‘Crush’. I like this song a bit more & always have. I actually think it might’ve been a better single choice in some ways… but we’ll get to cross that bridge later in the rate I suppose.





    My Score: 8.6



    "Kicking up confetti leaves…"


    Sparkle In The Sky

    @VivaForever (10):
    Probably my most-played song on the album, and a definite 11 contender. It’s a slightly boppier Crush, so of course I love it. (Yes! This commentary make me so happy. )

    @Zar-Unity (9.7)
    Now this is where the album really starts to pick up for me! This is sort of like the last song but way better flow. This is such a sweet and beautiful pop tune. It totally works for Mandy's voice, with a little bit of quirky nature thrown in, which I love. Yes quirky Mandy didn't really start until this album. This is so well crafted for a pop song that you just got to love it! (There is a quirky sheen to some of this album that is both really of the era & really true to her personality I think. She's a quirky gal!)

    @ohnostalgia (9)
    A bit heavenly, isn’t it? (Yes! The lost single from the album we deserved.)

    @Music Is Life (9)
    I like this, it bops and the “do do dos” are great and catchy. But it feels more reminiscent of her first couple albums. Maybe that's just me. Still a great song though, and the lyrics are low-key relatable. (Some of the best lyrics on the album, in my opinion. Plus the way she sings them, she really sells it.)


    @unnameable (9)
    This song always paints a story in my head, it’s like an early Mandy movie in 3 minutes 44 seconds. (This is totally true This is song screaming a YouTube Mandy Movie montage.)


    @CasuallyCrazed (8.75), @Robert (8), @Robsolete (9.5), @vague (8), @Remorque (8)




    Corner of your eye
    @Sprockrooster (6), @tylerc904 (7.5), @ladylloyd (6), @chris4862 (7.5), @RUNAWAY (6.75)



    Still Undiscovered


    @LKane (3.8):
    I find this song to be mediocre.. a bit repetitive and boring… Sorry. (Even though I'm a mile away from you here, your score made me laugh for some reason. 'No fours for you this time, Mandy! 3.8'... haha!)

    @Florencia. (5)





    For Your Viewing & Listening Pleasure



    The high energy version from a Mandy's internet Shoutback concert in 2001. I gotta think this song was in the running to be a singe. I love this performance so much.



    Some Natalie, maybe not for the last time is this rate



     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  6. Turn The Wig Around only getting to #37?

    Do y'all even have ears?
     
  7. I guess because I’ve been on a mini Gloria kick the past few days, this also popped in head when I read your comment.

    Mandy Estefan connections all over the place, up in here!

     
    Music Is Life, vague, LKane and 2 others like this.
  8. [​IMG]


    "Nothing That You Are" | 7.811




    Rated 36th out of 84 total songs

    Rated 9th out of 12 from Wild Hope



    Chart info or stats:

    The 48th most scrobbled Mandy song on Last.fm

    The 9th most scrobbled song from Mandy Moore on Last.fm





    Liner Notes


    Written by: Mandy Moore & James Renald
    Produced by: John Alagia


    Track 9 on
    Wild Hope released June 19, 2007




    "My own parade…"


    “I hope you burn in Hell...
    Or do I?”



    So yeah, remember that ‘duality essay’ I wrote about Mandy a couple pages back? These two lines of lyrics would’ve sufficed for 'exhibit A' in the overall point I was trying to make. It really is Mandy in a nutshell.
    (Sorry, I can’t help but think of this Austin Powers scene:)



    I remember the first time I heard this song. I was quite taken by how it really showed a different side of Mandy. It was in turns angry, caustic, & still… with that one question lyrical tag: ‘or do I?’, it showed her confused humanity.

    Mandy was never 100% open about who the song was about. The obvious choices seemed to be Andy Roddick, but in typical Mandy sweetness, she never threw anybody under the bus. I never knew the complete ins & outs of their relationship (though I followed it more than I care to admit) but I think it was clear he broke her heart pretty badly & suddenly. If that’s the case, this song surely feels like a cathartic release of those relationship demons.

    Sonically, it’s one of a few songs on the album that really give me 70’s Fleetwood Mac vibes. I know Mandy is a huge fan of them & especially Lindsay Buckingham (I will never not swoon at this woman’s musical taste). The guitar solo that ends the song (by musician Mark Goldenberg) is very much ‘Go Your Own Way’-ish… and an absolutely perfect musical reference in concordance with the lyrics. Her mind.

    And this is where the song’s story devolves into some typical Mandy lore, that hopefully this rate continues to contribute to her annals.

    Wild Hope swooped in with a fair amount of buzz and hype in the first part of 2007. ‘Mandy goes indie’ & ‘former pop princess grows artistically’ angles were abound in music press & elsewhere. I think most people & even the industry wanted her succeed... to pull off this transformation from pop tart to indie folk/rock maven. Then ‘Extraordinary’ came out as the first single... and sort of flopped. I’m not sure what the expectations for that song was in the current pop climate of 2007, but regardless, as quick as the hype machine for Wild Hope had started it seemed to grind to a halt. Like previous Mandy projects, she seemed to be given little margin for error.

    And that was pretty much that.

    Wild Hope technically has two singles listed to its campaign. But did it really have two singles?

    Well, no. I mean, sort of... I guess. But yeah, no.


    "Somebody told me, they saw you somewhere
    Somebody hold me, 'cause suddenly I'm a little, cold"


    Weeks (and then months) passed with ‘Nothing That You Are’ supposedly the up-next single. It never really happened. By fall, super rare promo pressings of ‘Nothing That You Are’ were circulating, but there was never an official release. (Though some websites state it did actually receive release in September of 2007. This is ether dubious or the release/push was to small to even register anything. As far as I know, it was never available as a single fir purchase... digital or physical.)

    I mean, look at this wonderful promo single cover.


    MandyMoore_NothingThatYouAre.jpg


    Oddly, the song does feature in the bar of Mandy’s cameo performance on How I Met Your Mother. Filmed earlier in 2007, this probably gives the ultimate clue, that Nothing That You Are was indeed going to get a big push.

    The timing was super off though.

    By the time the episode aired at the end of September, promo for Wild Hope was pretty much non-existent (outside of Mandy’s touring) and sadly the song's title became a self fulfilling prophecy or the non-single the song became. If they were planning on synergy from Mandy's guest spot on How I Met Your Mother, it really should've happened a month or two earlier, in my opinion.

    Here’s the thing. I love this song, but despite all this drama, I’m not entirely sure it would’ve been a great single choice to begin with. I’m actually not sure what would’ve been a good single from the album in 2007 (‘Slummin In Paradise’, maybe? 'A Few Days Down', possibly?). If Mandy was wanting to be artistically jarring, I suppose the song certainly would’ve sufficed as a great choice… so maybe that was the plan. I guess we’ll never know. (I did notice that on Last.fm its among the least scrobbled songs from Wild Hope, so I think my instinct about it being a poor single choice is slightly validated.)

    In the end, none of this mattered. As such a fan of Wild Hope & having the actual wild hope as a fan that it was all finally happing for her music career... that makes the whole non-release of the single be more frustrating. We'll just never know.





    My Score: 9.3



    "Kicking up confetti leaves…"


    Sparkle In The Sky


    @Robsolete (10)

    @RUNAWAY (10)
    this song was my JAM back in the day, and it still is. It’s the perfect breakup song.


    @ladylloyd (9)

    @Music Is Life (9)
    Another great song from here, I really like the lyrics on this one, but the production kinda sounds too loud.

    @LKane (8.6)
    This song does have potential! Great drums.

    @Zar-Unity (8.7):
    Okay, now we have the more alternative pop rock Mandy with a angry and serious tone to her voice. This was a interesting new side to see from her that actually kind of worked for her, despite the songs earlier on this album sounding more uplifting and breezy. I love the instrumentation on this song and the main melody. It captures my attention and I want to hear what Mandy has to say. The change at 2:50 is great and further elevates the songs quality even more. One of the better songs on Wild hope without a doubt, but you have to be in a certain mood to hear though.

    @unnameable (8)
    full of fury, this is her Alanis moment


    @VivaForever (8)
    Wow, this is pretty good! Shows you how little I’ve listened to this album that I don’t remember it (or anything past the first three tracks), I guess.

    @Sprockrooster (8), @vague (8)



    Corner of your eye
    @ohnostalgia (6.5)
    I like the jingle jangle feel, but it’s not very memorable.

    @tylerc904 (6.5), @Robert (7), @chris4862 (7), @Florencia. (6), @Remorque (7)



    Still Undiscovered

    @CasuallyCrazed (4)





    For Your Viewing & Listening Pleasure



    Live TV performance



    Live Performance from her epic & iconic Chicago MSN concert in 2007. I'm there.
    (I will always mention this, because... it was a moment.)



    How I Met Your Mother (with the faint echo of Mandy in the background)



    Some Fleetwood Inspiration....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxa851vAJtI
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  9. Fuming.
     
    Music Is Life, berserkboi and vague like this.
  10. That sigh of 'oh, boy...' in my thread title was mainly directed at you. (Your power.)
     
  11. I feel like I'm going to need an 'oh, boy...' for most of the Wild Hope eliminations :(
     
  12. Working on #35. Maybe up later today (early tomorrow?)

    I will let you know that both Mandy Moore & Wild Hope are safe for the next elim... so that @Robsolete doesn't leave & ever come back!

    Our next elimination does have 5 TENS, though. The most so far.
     
  13. [​IMG]


    "Fern Dell" | 7.831




    Rated 35th out of 84 total songs

    Rated 3rd out of 10 from Amanda Leigh



    Chart info or stats:

    The 53rd most scrobbled Mandy song on Last.fm

    The 2nd most scrobbled song from Amanda Leigh on Last.fm





    Liner Notes


    Written by: Mandy Moore & Mike Viola
    Produced by: Viola


    Track 2 on Amanda Leigh released May 26, 2009





    "My own parade…"


    “Follow the kicks and punches with the rest
    Rearrange the furniture, hoping it would make more sense
    It didn't make a difference
    It only made a bigger mess”



    'Fern Dell' is a song built around the idea of first impressions & how they change & impact your world. Well, isn’t that a very Mandy topic for a song, I don’t know what is.

    It was one of the first songs written & recorded for Amanda Leigh. It’s actually the perfect time to finally bring Mike Viola into the discussion in the rate. He really is the other half of the magic here on Amanda Leigh. In fact, when I first started hearing about the project in late 2008/early 2009, my first impression of the potential album was that it sounded like it almost might be a Mandy/Mike duo-type album. Here’s the thing, that might’ve not been a horrible idea.

    As someone who just always wanted to see Mandy succeed, and taking into account how I’ve pointed how close to being ‘in the zeitgeist’ she was in several occasions, here’s where I've landed with the album over the years. In 2008, we saw the emergence of She & Him. I adored their fist album & dug their quirky throwback brand of music & style. There were others doing a similar thing around the same time:

    • The Bird & The Bee
    • Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
    • & I feel like I’m missing some others, but you get the point.


    There was a real mini-market for such a dynamic. Now, whether or not ‘Mike & Mandy’ would’ve flown as a concept is anyone’s guess. Not to be mean to Mandy, but it’s not like her name alone was a proven path to record sales. So, maybe, just maybe a duo type arrangement would’ve injected a current gimmicky trend into the album & given it some extra attention. I’m just posthulizing, here. It was clear from the first single & ensuing album title that Mandy & the label wanted the world to know this was her project. Still, Mike Viola features so heavily on some songs & in the overarching narrative of the album, my brain can’t help but wonder… (though to be fair, learning of Ryan's ensuing jealousy & control over Mandy's musical career the idea of her recording an album with another man seems insane in hindsight now.... and gives me This Is Us plot point teas to be honest. #MetaMandy)

    So, who is this Mike Viola?

    Well, he is a fairly loved & renowned veteran of industry. Originally a solo artist in the late 80’s & then as part of the band the Candy Butchers, he accrued a cult fan base in the industry. In the mid 90’s he started to lean more into writing & producing for other artists & projects. Notably early on ‘That Thing You Do’ for the Tom Hanks movie of the same name. He also worked closely with Rapsutina.

    In the last decade, since his work with Mandy, his resume is quite impressive including : Rachael Yamagata, Gin Wigmore, Jenny Lewis, Fall Out Boy, The Monkees, Kelly Jones, & yes…. Ryan Adams *sigh*.

    He was perfect fit for what Mandy wanted to do with Amanda Leigh and their harmonies/writing collaboration show how well connected they were on artistic level. The live performances that exist of them singing Amanda Leigh songs also shows the chemistry & mutual respect they had for each other. Mandy always seemed to speak glowingly of her time working on Amanda Leigh, maybe even more so than Wild Hope… and maybe as much a Coverage. Some of this could be that she was just in a seemly good place while recording most of Amanda Leigh, whereas Wild Hope had more emotional baggage connected to it.

    The lyrics to 'Fern Dell' are amazing, to be honest. There's not a lot them, but they all serve a very specific purpose & none are wasted. They somehow manage to be both deeply poetic & unsettlingly stark. The ‘ha ha ha’ laughing vocal bridge is not even fair, it's so perfect. It’s the kind of thing the Bealtes, Beach Boys, or Dylan would’ve done in their artistic hey day…. and still maybe not have pulled off as well as Mandy & company do here.

    The sonics of this song are mind boggling. I don’t even know where to start. It’s three minutes long & is basically a mini-musical crammed into one song. The song is a sonic & lyrical adventure from concentrate.The only three songs I can compare it to my personal musical world, would all be 10’s in their respective rates:


    There's probably others, but those are the few that spring to mind. There’s just a tension & anxiety to the song… that could easily spiral into a manic cacophony under less careful stewards. Mandy & Mike completely control the direction of the song. As such we end with a song that could easily be considered the best on Amanda Leigh and among the most creative musical accomplishments in Mandy’s 20 year career.




    My Score: 10



    "Kicking up confetti leaves…"


    Sparkle In The Sky

    @Zar-Unity (10)
    This is a powerful and passionately sung song much like what you have been missing since Mandy's Coverage album. I know that you must be as pleased as me to hear this part of Mandy return on Amanda Leigh! The production bits are quite good and let the song take you for a fun ride. Mandy sounded at her peak here! I suspect this one will become a PJ favorite out of this rate! This song has everything that a great pop song should have! (Ride is a really good analogy here! It really is. Her vocals are out of this world here. It did the most 10's so far, so you weren't to far off in your prediction of rate fave status... though I wish it had done better.)

    @ohnostalgia (10)
    Only true bumpkin singer-songwriter musical theatre kids understand. (Your mind! <3)


    @Music Is Life (10)
    BOP. I love the production on this, especially in the middle-8 and at the end. Seriously, this is great. (I love that Fern Dell has been granted 'Bop Status' on Popjustice. The world is a magical place.)


    @Robert (10), @Florencia. (10)

    @LKane (8.2)
    This is a cool song, fun to listen! (A three minute rollercoaster!)

    @chris4862 (8.5), @vague (9), @RUNAWAY (8)



    Corner of your eye
    @Sprockrooster (7)
    Loving the acoustic version a bit more. Who would have thought? (Yeah, that's a really nice version, but I like the epicness of the album version, personally.)

    @unnameable (7.5)
    I like the verses, but the chorus is a little weak. ('These are the thoughts that keep me up at night'... ha!)

    @tylerc904 (6.5), @Robsolete (6), @ladylloyd (6), @Remorque (7)



    Still Undiscovered

    @VivaForever (4)
    That ‘haha, haha’ chorus has me like that Julia Louis-Dreyfus gif. ‘Hahahahaha… what the fuck?’ (I think it's supposed to be disconcerting... though I think it had the wrong effect on you! Oh no!)

    @CasuallyCrazed (4.5)






    For Your Viewing & Listening Pleasure



    Acoustic Version from iTunes Special Edition



    Early Live Version with Mike Viola from Feb 2009.



    Live from Amoeba Records with Mike Viola (How does this 10 year old video on YouTube only have 997 views. Good gawd, there's no hope for humanity, is there?)



    Live from Highline Ballroom June 2, 2009

     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2019
  14. There's a handful of write-ups in this rate that deeply personal, even by the standards I've derailed into at times in this whole thing. #34 is one of those. It's about done, though, as I got most of it done last night in one fairly emotionally draining session.

    I'll likely have it posted late tonight or tomorrow. The next 4 reveals should be hammered out pretty quickly after that, so we'll be to the top 30 by next weekend, ideally. Things get even more interesting, then!
     
    Music Is Life and vague like this.
  15. [​IMG]


    "Hey" | 7.847




    Rated 34th out of 84 total songs

    Rated 4th out 21 from Soundtracks & Extras



    Chart info or stats:

    The 160th most scrobbled Mandy song on Last.fm
    (kiiii)





    Liner Notes


    Written by: James Renald
    Produced by: James Renald


    Released in 2004 as a MandyMoore.com exclusive streaming track





    "My own parade…"
    "And time, it took me time
    But I have left those memories back and far behind
    He called me yesterday
    Just to say hey!"


    The following write-up is why I love pop music, why I love all of you, & why Mandy is so important to me…. & so tied to my own journey through life in a constant & weird way.

    I’ve loved doing this rate, as emotionally draining (my own issues & ghosts, not any of you!) as it has been. It has been a cathartic & important thing for me. Even within that context, there were a handful moments when entering scores that made this whole undertaking worthwhile beyond my wildest dreams.

    One of these is ‘Hey’ coming in at #34. This wonderfully obscure, never officially released, totally random song that used to autoplay via Real Player on Mandy’s website in 2004… just made the top 40 in the rate I got to host for her. Whew! You all did me proud. Not only did it make the top 40, but damn near got an 11! @Zar-Unity sent in a ballot with two 11’s (I thought I loved Mandy). I messaged them back & was like: ‘If I can’t have two Mandy 11’s, you can’t either… so pick one!" They went with ‘Let Me Be The One’ which exited at #66. I'll admit, I soooooo wanted them to pick this one. I would’ve ascended had ‘Hey’ gotten an 11 in this rate.

    I love this little song so much, not just because it’s just a really well-written piece of pop, but also because of some personal reasons. This where I tear up a bit writing this post. Sometimes the boppiest songs balance out the darker parts of our existence. And this song has many layers in itself, & honestly in my life. Even more since I started this rate & got some more info about the writer.

    Without getting too personal (like Mandy hasn’t already made me spill my soul here a few times!) my life went off the rails in 2001…. and by 2003 I was in a very dark place. I was in an awful rut, that I just couldn’t get out of. I had an engagement with my teenage love end. Around the same time, I had quit a good job to start my own business…which flopped very hard. I spiraled into a deep depression, that I just couldn’t get out of. I was in my early 20’s, broke, emotionally bankrupt, & felt like a complete failure. Too many things went wrong too fast for me to process or really get any proper perspective. I had gotten very insular over the course of a couple of years & the generic platitudes of the few friends & family around me like 'things will work out' or 'you're young, you'll figure it out', were not helpful. Already a bit introverted & suffering from social anxiety, these set-backs only made fall further down a dark rabbit hole of self harm, disorder, & general nihilism that wasn’t healthy. In short, I wanted to die. A lot. Looking back, I really should’ve sought help & I’m probably lucky I made it out without doing something really bad.

    During this time is when Coverage came out & I retreated into pop music like never before, as some sort of solace from the pain. Ever since I was kid, plugging myself into music was the best way I coped & in my early twenties it became more important than ever. (Who am I kidding? It’s still how I cope.) My Mandy fandom was one of only a few beacons that gave me hope, at this time. That she covered a bunch of random songs from the 80’s only added to the emotional gravity of someone like me, a music nerd who knew & loved all the artists she covered on the album, needed to latch onto her for some sort of sanity. To say it saved my life is a bit dramatic, perhaps. But many days it kept me grounded, if nothing else.

    Here's where this story takes a sad turn & adds a whole other layer of poignancy for me.



    "'Cause that's when he walked on by
    For almost a year, I followed
    And I don't regret a single day"



    Recently in the rate we lost ‘Nothing That You Are’ from Wild Hope & I purposefully didn’t mention Mandy’s co-writer. I was saving that for here.

    ‘Hey’ was written by James Renald. In his own right, a brilliant artist from Montreal, Quebec. A prolific songwriter with a deep love of 70’s R&B, pop & jazz fusion, he met his other half in Antnoine Sicotte in the early 90’s. The two had similar tastes, began writing songs, & formed the pop duo Sky. In 1998 they started recording their debut album Piece Of Paradise. The album is very solid collection of late 90's pop/r&b, with signature James Renald hooks & lyrics that are quite interesting for what many considered 'basic' pop songs. The album became a hit in Canada, eventually going platinum & producing 4 top 40 hits… including the #1 hit ‘Love Song’ (which is pretty brilliant slice of millennial pop.)




    The label even a made a minor push to break them in the US, to mixed results. The aforementioned ‘Love Song’ did scrape into the top 40. Actually, they used to play it fairly often on the Satellite Radio Muzak channel of the department store I worked at, so I was fairly familiar with it... and once I learned of Jame's 'Mandy connection' in the the early 00's, I tracked down their physical album (which I still own actually.)

    James Renald had always suffered from bad social anxiety & depression. The new pop star lifestyle of being thrust into limelight did not work well for him & he started having consistent anxiety attacks. Right as the group was taking off, James quit. He receded back into the behind the scenes world of music, mainly writing.

    It was here that his song, ‘Cry’ would land in the hands of Mandy Moore, who lost her mind over how good the song was. Listening to his music & lyrics, it makes perfect sense why Mandy connected so well his songs. He had a knack for great pop hooks, but there was a bittersweet darkness that brimmed his lyrics. Her & James formed a sort of friendship & started collaborating more, which was actually kind of a big deal considering how private he was. He even lent background vocals to our recent rate loss from Mandy Moore: ‘Turn The Clock Around’. Over the next few years developed a closer artistic relationship, that eventually led to them even writing together.

    He’s a hugely important person in the Mandy story, so much so that every song he wrote for or with Mandy made the top 40 in this rate. Talent.

    One of those songs, of course, being our elimination here, of ‘Hey’.

    "I find a piece of him in corners of my mind"

    ‘Hey’ was originally written & recorded when Mandy was between labels after departing Epic based on the failure of Coverage. When you went to MandyMoore .com in early 2004, the song would autoplay. I flat out adored it. Keep in mind, that I will admit in 2004 Mandy Moore could've sang the US capitals to a 4 on-the-floor beat and I would've been on board! On the surface, is just a messy little one-off demo that Mandy threw up on her website, almost in show of rebellion to being free from Sony. I honestly was nervous about even including it, since the quality is dubious, but I knew some of the more hardcore Mandy fans from the early 00's might have fond memories of it autoplaying from her site... so I hoped for the best. I sorta doubted it would last past 10 or 12 songs into this rate, but obviously there is more magic in this song than I even I ever truly realized.

    In the fabric of Mandy's work, 'Hey' has all legitimate seeds of sounding special, though. It always sounded like a mix of self-titled & Coverage… and that was the exact thing I wanted from Mandy at the time. If you listen to Jame's other Mandy songs & his work on Sky's first album, you really hear a lot of what his sound & ideas were. He's in the background, here too, providing some stellar harmony vocals for a pretty rough demo.

    The melody here is ace & the stuttering guitars add an anxiety to the song that it calls for, because the lyrics here are amazing. They are about moving forward, but not just in some 'boy, I'm done with you' generic kind of way. There's a real sense of how the process of moving on happens in phase s & in ongoing. I love songs that like (Vanessa Carlton's 'Fairweather Friend' is another that comes to mind that does this well. Relationships seldom just end, there's this painstaking process of phases.)

    Regardless of all that, mired in my depression, the upbeat production and lyrics about moving ahead through change really spoke to me. I needed it more than Mandy or James would ever know… and played this this song every day at her site for months. It really did help me start my own personal healing progress in 2004 after several years in the wilderness. I will be forever grateful to his song for that reason.

    So now, via this avenue I’ve been given, I send my gratitude to the beyond. As I was starting preliminary research for this rate earlier this year I sadly learned that James Renald took his own life late last year. It wasn’t actually announced by his family until April (I suppose they had their reasons). It literally popped up in my newsfeed on one of the days I was working on one of the Mandy Annual pre-rate posts & I just sat there, stared at the screen, & cried a bit. You should really take a minute & read a bit more about him here: https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/0...-sky-remembered-for-writing-lyrical-pop-hits/

    Over the past serval years it appears that his depression & social anxiety had become debilitating, and slowly he just cut himself off from people even more that usual. Based on my own past, this just really got to me. It just made me sad that this amazing artist wrote an odd little song for Mandy that helped get me through me bad stuff back in the day, only to seemingly be haunted my similar demons himself that he could never shake. I always struggle with reading about anyone who commits suicide, but there's a whole other level of sadness when it is someone who you don't really know personally, but derived some sort of joy from. Whether it be a comedian, actor, artist, or musician... those are hard to swallow because you the idea that they brought joy or comfort to others and could find none of their own is just fucking crushing.

    It was important to me that James Renald really get his own moment to shine here in the Mandy rate, since he was involved in so many great moments in her career. I’ve included some more of his music with Sky below… and he of course will pop up a couple of more times in the reminder of this rate, as he was pivotal in a couple of other Mandy classics.

    I also just feel the need to take an extra moment here & again tell you all how much I love you all for taking part in this Mandy journey. Even though I'm just some random Mandy Moore fanatic on a pop music forum, if you ever need someone to talk to because you're just feeling down, you can send me a PM and I'll try to lend an ear.

    Be well.



    My Score: 10



    "Kicking up confetti leaves…"


    Sparkle In The Sky


    @Zar-Unity (10 but 11-esque!)
    Oh my god! This is such a wonderful tune by Mandy! Very unexpected and apparently this was from her website many years ago but it never had a proper release in better audio quality. This sounds very promising as what Mandy could have done for a new and exciting musical style on a new album later on. This type of colorful and well produced, more upbeat pop rock would work so well with her voice! I have both been inspired by discovering this song from this rate and and very impressed by Mandy! The closest musical pop style that I could think of that would sound the most similar to this amazing song would be some songs from Mandy's 2003 Coverage album, but those songs are still very different sounding because they are modern covers of older hit songs. Some of which have a fun poppy rock sound to them. But this song is perhaps even more fun sounding to me than any of her pop rock styled covers off of that album.


    What a hidden gem this was and I can't believe that I didn't know about it sooner. A big thank you to our amazing host for including this song in the rate. I was almost about to award this song with my 11, because it is so special to me. But that would be crazy right? There are indeed many other Mandy songs that could easily get my 11 as well but I feel like it would have been cool to award my 11 to a song that surprisingly captivated my heart today and got me so inspired thinking about what Mandy could do with an amazing pop style like this with a full album to work with. But ultimately my 11 must go to the best quality Mandy song, not just the song that I feel the most in love with at the moment.

    @Music Is Life (10)
    What a fucking bop. The production kinda feels like a mix between Coverage and Wild Hope which I guess makes sense. The lyrics are great too. Love this. Should've been on Wild Hope.


    @VivaForever (9)
    Just to say hey’? Kylie found shaking! This is a superbop and would have slotted in perfectly on self-titled.

    @chris4862 (9)
    It’s a shame this never made it onto an album, it’s easily one of her best.


    @Robsolete (9), @ladylloyd (9), @vague (9), @RUNAWAY (8.5), @Sprockrooster (9)




    Corner of your eye
    @LKane (6)
    Too bad these are bad quality songs from youtube.

    @unnameable (6.5)
    pleasant little bop, but I didn’t miss anything by never having heard this before. The middle 8 is amazing.


    @CasuallyCrazed (7.25), @tylerc904 (7), @Robert (7), @Remorque (6)



    Still Undiscovered

    @ohnostalgia (5)
    Pretty obvious demo. The lyrics remind me of Ryan Adams, even though the timeline is all wrong :/


    @Florencia. (4.5)





    For Your Viewing & Listening Pleasure

    Some more tunes from James Renald's duo Sky

    "Some Kinda Wonderful"



    "Push"



    "America"




    And of course, our elimination here: Mandy's: 'Hey'






     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 9:17 PM
  16. Started on the next elimination write-up. I imagine it will be less controversial than a few of the last ones... and certainly less emotional than the last one.
     
  17. Wow, way to kill off my 10s people.

    And yes I can confirm that Love Song was a massive hit in Canada. It got played just as much as hit songs from the Backstreet Boys and N’Sync. I could sing you the chorus right now, actually.
     
  18. My score is missing in "Hey"? I remember thinking that it was a shame that I could only listen to it in a bad quality youtube video.
     
    pop3blow2 likes this.
  19. [​IMG]


    "Split Chick" | 7.897




    Rated 33rd out of 84 total songs

    Rated 8th out of 13 from Mandy Moore



    Chart info or stats:

    The 89th most scrobbled Mandy song on Last.fm

    The 13th most scrobbled song from Mandy Moore on Last.fm





    Liner Notes


    Written by: Jenifer Freebairn-Smith & Mike Elizondo
    Produced by: Matthew Hager


    Track 12 on Mandy Moore released June 18, 2001





    "My own parade…"


    I gotta run along and sing my song
    I'll kiss you and I'll miss you and be back before too long



    What a curious little song this is. I’ve always thought that, since the first time I gave Mandy Moore a spin. It’s actually one those Mandy songs that really proved to me that she was way wonkier than the general public and industry, really gave her credit for.

    Sometimes you listen to an album when you get it and you try to pick out the singles, etc. While listening you also many times very clearly can hear which songs are filler or high quality ‘deep cuts’. To me, 'Split Chick' landed solidly in that last column the very first time I heard it... and I love it. It was never going to a be single, but the amount of creativity that went into this little deep album cut always brought me a bunch of joy.

    I suppose my in incoming adoration for this song will be unsurprising, since it was the namesake of a special essay I wrote in the rate! Still, it’s a weird little song, both sonically & lyrically. It’s also a song, I would’ve been convicted Mandy had a hand in writing, had I not had the liner notes to very clearly tell me she wasn’t involved in that process. It’s just feels like a sort of ‘statement song’.

    Perhaps part of the songs endearing strangeness, is that really a sort of one-off odd team of people made it.

    The writers were Jenifer Freebairn-Smith & Mike Elizondo. Jennifer has few other credits I can find on Discogs, but has written songs for soundtracks & renowned folky bumpkin pop artist/songwriter Maia Sharp. Actually, one reason this rate has been fun is that I’ve uncovered some new things in my research. One being that Maia Sharp actually produced the only album for Jenifer Fairbairn a few years ago… and that album actually contained a song by none other James Renald from the last write-up. Small world in this rate.

    The other two parts of this sonf area bit interesting too. Mike Elizondo was a goto songwriter, producer, & musician on a bunch of huge 00’s artists & songs. This included songs as diverse as 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’ & Eminem’s ‘Real Slim Shady’. Yeah. He also produced Fiona Apple’s albums Extraordinary Machine. He's still er active today, seemingly all the way up to working on an Echosmith album a couple years ago.

    The final piece of the puzzle in this fascinating puzzle is the song's producer: Matthew Hager. You may remember him from earlier in the rate. He co-wrote ‘When I Talk To You’ with Mandy… the first song she ever wrote on an album. He’s had a successful career writing & producing for many artists from Justin Timberlake to John Taylor (from Duran Duran). He will be known to some PJers as the guy wrote & produced ‘Make History’ (a big Radio Disney hit for Alyson Stoner & performed by her as part of the Camp Rock Live Tour). He is also now one half of the band (turned duo) Halo Circus featuring PJ Big Flop Girl extraordinaire Allison Iraheta. They are also married.

    I mean, for just a little album track from Mandy Moore, there’s a ton of talent behind this song… and it has all kinds of fun pop tributaries running to & from it.

    Of course, with a song this random, I have my own pop3 mythos to dump into the stream.

    In 2001, the album I was most obsessed with was Nelly Furtado’s Whoa, Nelly! If you all think I can go on about Vanessa Carlton & Mandy Moore…. well, imagine that for a minute in the early 00’s I was equally (if not more) obsessed with Nelly Furtado. More specifically Whoa, Nelly! & Folklore. I basically consider Whoa, Nelly! the best debut pop album ever recorded. So, you have been warned of walls of text I might spill the next time a rate for her happens (that poor rate host…ddd.)

    Why do I bring this up? Well, in 2001 I fairly or unfairly compared everything in pop to Whoa, Nelly! It was my litmus test for greatness in the current pop landscape of the early 00's. I really felt that Nelly had come to burn shit down, subvert expectation of POP, & did so in extraordinary fashion (of which she never gets enough credit for.... but I digress.)

    'Split Chick' helped Mandy pass muster on the 'Nelly Scale' for me. As a whole, the album Mandy Moore sat pretty comfortably with Whoa, Nelly in my headspace in 2001, but 'Split Chick' solidified Mandy’s legitimacy in some ways. There was a very rebellious vibe to the track & her vocal delivery… like she was getting ready to burn it all down (sweetly!) Nelly Furtado became the anti-Britney, in some ways, just from the idea of what kinda eccentric pop music could be made, sell, & make it to radio... especially by solo women. The little laughs & parts where Mandy speak in track, are very Whoa, Nelly! Even sonics, lyrics, & the weird little drum breakdown in the middle were all very ‘alt-pop’ zeitgeist of the moment. There were changes afoot in what ‘pop’ was & it made me happy to see Mandy was in on it. (I guess rather unironically the aforementioned Mike Elizondo also worked with Nelly on Folklore, so maybe my thought process isn't as crazy as maybe it reads...)

    Oh, and I love that 'Split Chick' & her first composition (When I Talk To You) end the album. Mandy was making a statement. Yeah, she was getting ready to burn it all down…sweetly.


    “Buh-bye"...



    My Score: 9.6



    "Kicking up confetti leaves…"


    Sparkle In The Sky

    @Zar-Unity (10)
    I love this one! What a jam! Definitely one of the most catchy songs on her self-titled! I feel like this one comes in a bit too late on the album but when it finally does come on, the album gets my attention in full force again! Every part of this song works well and Mandy just sounds on top of the world as a pop star. Yes, go go Mandy! Again, this should have been a single. The melody and vocal effects are so much fun! This is one of
    those rare types of pop songs that you will never hear again from Mandy after this album and you'd not hear anything like it before this album. This is part of what makes her self-titled album special, but more on that later for my write up on this special album. (I love you praises, here! I think it would've been odd single. but wouldn't have put it past Mandy wanting this song to be one. It's very much a statement.)

    @Music Is Life (10)
    BOP. I love this, it's so much fun. The lyrics, the vocals, the production, the middle-8, the “ahh's”, all of it. It's great. Love the spoken bits as well. “Haha, goodbye” would've made for a better closer. (I actually might tend to agree with you about making this the closer.)

    @CasuallyCrazed (10)

    @unnameable (8)
    Mandy’s girl power anthem is fun and intense. (Yes, it is! I could certainly insert one of my favorite and overused words to describe it. I called it joyously manic.)

    @VivaForever (8), @Sprockrooster (8), @tylerc904 (9), @Robert (9), @vague (8), @Remorque (9)




    Corner of your eye
    @ladylloyd (7), @chris4862 (7), @Florencia. (6), @RUNAWAY (7.25)

    @ohnostalgia (7.5):
    *giggle*


    [​IMG]



    Still Undiscovered


    @LKane (4.8)
    Nope... I don't like this. There's no way to help this song. (You and your partner in crime below are on your own, here!)

    @Robsolete (4)





    For Your Viewing & Listening Pleasure




    A Random Split Chick Inspired Mini-Playlist!


    The Real Slim Shady: Co-wrtten by Mike Elizondo. Don't think that the Marshall Mathers & Mandy Moore double M connection has never crossed my strange little mind. ddd



    Halo Circus: 'Oh, Money'. Cowritten & produced by Mathew Hager



    Jenifer Freebairn: Blown Apart. Nice folky melodic pop.



    Queen of early 00's Wonky Pop. Split Chick & Trynna Find Way were often played back-to-back in my world in 2001. They are oddly connected to me.

     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 6:33 AM
  20. Oh good! I was hoping my Canadian coalition could offer confirmation. (Well, that's a fun tongue-twister.)

    Fixed it! Sorry about that. Your commentary was there, but attached to the wrong person's score.
     
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