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Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Few Favourite Albums: Coverage - Mandy Moore (October 2003)

An Introductory Note

More than a few people will be surprised to see this particular album among my favourites and will probably assume that my mental state is somewhat on the decline! Never a fan of the Music Police I take heart in the fact that I like what I like and I'm not overly bothered if others sit and grumble, turn up their noses and wave their fists toward me in despair!

Some might assume that this is some kind of guilty pleasure but I personally do not have such things. As I have said if I like something then it's my own personal choice, you don't have to agree with me but don't write it off without actually listening because there's nothing worse than musical snobbery that's rooted in ignorance (I would confess to having been guilty of that myself in the past but have been doing my best to rectify such sad behaviour!).

 Coverage - Mandy Moore
Epic
Produced by John Fields
Released October 2003
US Chart #14


 
Tracklist
1 Senses Working Overtime (Andy Partridge) 4:10
2 The Whole Of The Moon (Mike Scott) 5:03
3 Can We Still Be Friends (Todd Rundgren) 3:40
4 I Feel The Earth Move (Carole King) 3:10
5 Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters (Bernie Taupin and Elton John) 4:51
6 Drop The Pilot (Joan Armatrading) 3:46
7 Moonshadow (Cat Stevens) 3:01
8 One Way Or Another (Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison) 3:34
9 Breaking Us In Two (Joe Jackson) 4:28
10 Anticipation (Carly Simon) 3:23
11 Help Me (Joni Mitchell) 3:31
12 Have A Little Faith In Me (John Hiatt) 4:03

CD/DVD Edition
DVD contains an Interview with Mandy Moore and Have A Little Faith Promo Video.

Personnel
    Mandy Moore – vocals   
    Jim Anton – bass
    Kevin Augunas – bass (electric), engineer
    Tommy Barbarella – synthesizer, piano, organ (Hammond), piano (electric)
    Michael Bland – drums
    D.J. Bonebrake – vibraphone
    Ken Chastain – bass, percussion, tambourine
    Julius Collins – vocals
    Dorian Crozier – percussion, drums, engineer
    Evan Dando – guitar (acoustic)
    Christina Ehrlich – stylist
    John Fields – bass, guitar, guitar (baritone), guitar (electric), French horn, keyboards, vocals, and string arrangements
    Dirk Freymuth – guitar
    Loren Gold – piano
    Billy Hawn – percussion
    Eric Heywood – pedal steel
    Kenny Holmen – flute, sax (tenor)
    Dave Jensen – trumpet
    Kathy Jensen – sax (baritone)
    Ameena Maria Khawaja – cello
    Noah Levy – drums
    Matt Mahaffey – piano, drums, Chamberlin, effects, Minimoog
    George Scot McKelvey – guitar
    Josh Myers – string arrangements
    Danielle Nesmith – violin
    Mike Ruekberg – guitar (acoustic)
    Phil Solem – guitar (acoustic), guitar, mandolin, vocals
    Audrey Solomon – violin
    Steve Strand – trumpet
    Danny Wilde – vocals
    Dan Wilson – vocals
    Jordon Zadorozny – guitar

Singles On Coverage
Have A Little Faith In Me
Released July 2003
US Pop Chart #39

Drop The Pilot*
Released October 2003
Did Not Chart

*Couldn't find any artwork for this at all, even on Discogs!

Senses Working Overtime (Live Sessions@AOL)
Released January 2004
Did Not Chart


*********

Coverage is the fourth studio album from Mandy Moore and her last (apart from a Best of) for Epic Records before departing the label in 2004 due to "creative differences" - roughly this can be translated as Moore having been with the label since she was 15 years old, cutting her teeth touring with the likes of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC and being promoted along the same lines as Britney Spears and Christine Aguilera, basically didn't want to continue with that route, preferring to adopt a more musically mature sound that spotlighted songwriting and proper musical instrumentation. Epic were not so keen on this new direction and she was released from her contract. 

This new direction would come to fruition with her 2007 release Wild Hope (The Firm Music) and 2009's Amanda Leigh (Storefront) on which she co-wrote all of the songs.

Now, I have not always been a fan of Covers albums because there's too many of them around these days and some tend to be a bit sloppy and unimaginative. What I liked about Coverage is that here was an artist who was trying to find her real place within the music industry (although she was already branching out into film etc) rather than continuing to fit into the template her label wanted. 

Her choice of songs for the project was interesting (all songs are drawn from the 1970s and 1980s) and whilst they maybe didn't all work out, the fact that she was willing to give it a go was impressive enough to me and proof that she was doing the right thing in moving away from that manufactured pop stuff.

The album did receive very mixed reviews but that was always going to happen when a "Bubblegum popstar Princess" breaks out of their mould! The album did reach #14 in the Billboard 200 Chart (her highest chart placing for an album) despite selling a disappointing 315,000 in the USA (it wasn't released worldwide and I seem to remember picking up an Import copy).

About The Tracks*
(Access to the original songs can be found by clicking on the links)

The opening track, "Senses Working Overtime" is a cover of the English band XTC, released in 1982 and written by Andy Partridge. "The Whole of the Moon" is a cover of the band The Waterboys, originally released in 1985. "Can We Still Be Friends" is a cover of singer Todd Rundgren. The lyrics describe a relationship to which Rundgren and the woman to whom he is singing have given great effort, but simply cannot work. The song is generally assumed to be about Rundgren's breakup with long-time companion Bebe Buell in 1977. "I Feel the Earth Move" is a song written and recorded by pop singer-songwriter Carole King. "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" is a 1972 song from the Elton John album Honky Ch√Ęteau. It was written by Bernie Taupin and is his take on New York City after hearing a gun go off near his hotel window during his first visit to the city. "Drop the Pilot" is a song written and originally performed by Joan Armatrading. It was the first single to be released from Armatrading's 1983 album The Key. "Moonshadow" is a song from the album Teaser and the Firecat, released by Cat Stevens in 1971. "One Way or Another" is a song by American new wave band Blondie. Written by Debbie Harry and Nigel Harrison for the band's third studio album, Parallel Lines (1978), the song was inspired by one of Harry's ex-boyfriends who stalked her after their break-up. "Breaking Us in Two" is a cover of singer Joe Jackson, while "Anticipation" is a song by Carly Simon. It was the most famous track from her 1971 album of the same name. "Help Me" is a love song written, produced and performed by Joni Mitchell, from her 1974 album Court and Spark"Have a Little Faith in Me" is a song written and performed by John Hiatt that appears on his 1987 album Bring the Family.

* Borrowed and edited from Wikipedia

It's been a long time since Moore has put new music out but there are plans afoot for more. For the time being though she can still be heard singing every now and again on This Is Us in her role as Rebecca Pearson. The show has won various awards and had numerous nominations including a Golden Globe Nomination for Mandy Moore in 2017.

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