Though today Mandy Moore may be better known for her career as an actress – she is the voice of Rapunzel in Tangled and plays Rebecca Pearson on the television series This is Us – she is also an accomplished singer/songwriter. Fans of This is Us will have been exposed to glimpses of Moore’s work on the show, since her character Rebecca is also a singer, but her albums offer a better picture of Moore as her own vocal artist. Silver Landings, released in 2020, is her seventh studio album.
The music itself eludes categorization into a single genre, instead audibly combining elements of pop, rock, and folk both from now and decades past. Indeed, both the musical style and the lyrics seem to be reflective of Moore’s career up to this point. For instance, her song “Fifteen” is in reference to her early success (she was fifteen when her debut single “Candy” launched her into the spotlight in 1999). The deliberateness of this album an especially notable treat for listeners, given that Silver Landings is Moore’s first album in over a decade; her last album, Amanda Leigh, was released in 2009.
Most of the album is upbeat in a relaxed and laid-back sort of way that seems evocative of the ends of long summer days, but one of my favorite songs is actually the slower ballad “If That’s What It Takes.” To the slow strumming of guitar, Moore sings “As the years keep slipping away / We’ll be the birthday cake / While the world turns itself inside out / We’ll be the butterfly / When they’re burning the carnival down / We’ll stay on the Ferris wheel / Oh baby, if that’s what it takes.” Another one of my favorites is the more upbeat but still reflective “Stories Reminding Myself of Me.” The line “Turning a corner so bittersweet” from the refrain seems representative of the entire album.
Overall, the feel of Silver Landings is one of a mature and varied musical style, with the album offering listeners a balanced plate of sonic influences. Moore deftly changes the timbre of her voice to match the lyrics and mood of the song, going from cool and detached to a warmer and richer sound. I found the album to be both mood-lifting and relaxing to listen to, which makes it a welcome escape from the current world.
If you are familiar with any of Mandy Moore’s previous work as a singer or as an actress (or even if you aren’t), I would recommend her newest album, Silver Landings.