Single Review: Mandy Moore “I Wanna Be With You”

I Wanna Be With You
Album: Center Stage Soundtrack/I Wanna Be With You
Year: 2000

Halfway through “Center Stage,” Jody Sawyer (Amanda Schull) finally has an actual conversation with her crush, bad boy dancer Cooper Nielsen (Ethan Stiefel). They engage in small talk and he asks her to dinner. As they drive on a motorcycle back to his place, the prerequisite love ballad (“I Wanna Be With You”) plays.

The song and movie are cheese. But it’s high-class, top of the line cheese. Produced by Keith Thomas and written Shelly Peiken (Christina Aguilera), Thomas, and Tiffany Arbuckle, “I Wanna Be With You” is a falling in love-with-the-first-time song. The single is from the point of view of the naïve Jody who worships Cooper. When she goes out with him briefly, she is head over heels. As one character observes: “she is this close to getting your name tattooed on her ass.”

Like with most love songs, it focuses on passionate declarations. Moore sings that “we know what I came here for/so I won’t ask for more” in the first verse. Then, she says in the chorus “I wanna be with you/if only for a night/to be the on who’s in your arms to hold you tight.” Like many pop songs from 2000, it’s as sweet as cotton candy. It may not have any nutritional value, but it provides the necessary sugar rush.

Moore’s voice also has improved a little. Although she managed to have shake off some vocal tics (nasal delivery, hiccupy notes), she seems as though she’s uncertain of her voice.

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