Single Review: Mandy Moore “So Real”

So Real
Album: I Wanna Be With You
Year: 2000

While promoting her latest album, “Coverage,” Mandy Moore said she was “embarassed” by her two previous albums. She called it “bad pop, tacky, and terribly overproduced.” No disagreement there. “So Real,” the second single from the repackaged album, “I Wanna Be With You,” uses every promotional tactic possible to get the horny male crowd. And oh, the ‘tweens, too. But mostly the horny male crowd who want Britney Spears.

Promotional tactic #1 – She’s jailbait. Take full advantage of it.

“So Real” is full of inapproriate sexual innuendos, one lyric being “It’s my innocence that makes you yearn/for that perfect gift you can’t return, no” To punctuate it, she growls in the background to hammer home the image. It’s an attempt to capitalize on the Britney Spears Lolita image. However, this song demonstrates how sexualized young women are in the music industry. Perhaps unbeknownest to her, she was degrading herself.

Promotional tactic #2 – Imitate Max Martin, shamelessly.

Since Epic probably didn’t have the money to get Max Martin. Instead, they hired the Wasabees, who copy Max Martin’s every note. A drum machine thunders in the beginning, while a processed Moore coos “ooh ahh ooh ahh.” After every verse, her “oh-o-ohs” are echoed and during the bridge, the music calms down then builds up again to a glossy finish.

Promotional tactic #3 – She’s an average teenager.

Her MTV feature in 1999 highlighted that she studies, drives around with friends, she wants to learn how to drive, etc. For her marketing, to appeal to the ‘tweens is crucial. However, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera, all were playing the same pr card. After the fourth time, it rings false. There wasn’t anything unique about her image or music to set her apart. It’s unfortunate, though. With better marketing and music, she could’ve been an actual competitor in the teen pop craze of 1999.


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