Effortlessly genial and impossibly well-scrubbed, Mandy Moore is almost shimmery enough to overshadow her middling vocal talent on Coverage. Taking on familiar songs, though, always unearths the rough edges beneath the polish, especially when they sound flat wrong emanating from the mouth of America's peppiest nineteen-year-old. Listen to Cat Stevens' "Moonshadow" or the Waterboys' "The Whole of the Moon," on which Moore wails, "While you filled the skies/I was dumbfounded by truth" about as convincingly as a flight attendant. Other tracks that were rendered indelible by previous vocalists — Carly Simon's "Anticipation," Joe Jackson's "Breaking Us in Two" — sound little better than American Idol outtakes here. The irony is that in denaturing these songs, Moore truly makes them her own.
- Mandy Moore
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