Editors’ Notes Mandy Moore is at peace. “I think for a long time I was really embarrassed with my past,” she tells Apple Music. “I signed a record deal when I was 14 and my first album came out when I was 15—I had no creative control and no say in the music that I was making. But I'm a 35-year-old woman now. I feel like I've had enough time to show people different colors.” With Silver Landings—the pop star turned actor’s first LP in 11 years—Moore is doing just that, teaming up with longtime collaborator Mike Viola and husband Taylor Goldsmith (of the LA roots-rock band Dawes) for a set of deeply introspective songs that bear influence from Laurel Canyon legends like James Taylor and Jackson Browne. “I wanted it to feel like quintessential Southern California pop,” she says. “Beautiful, clear blue skies, sunny, windows down, unimpeded by traffic, driving through a canyon or along the PCH, blasting a record that you really love, feeling positive about the future.” That last part is key: Written over the course of several years—with late assists in Nashville from Grammy winners Lori McKenna and Natalie Hemby—the album finds Moore in new light and a new position, overseeing and executing a creative vision that’s very much her own. “I've never made a record quite like this before,” she says. “I was the driving force, the captain of the ship. So there's a sense of ownership, of who I am, where I am, the choices I’ve made and what it took to get there.” Here, she takes us inside every song on the album.

I’d Rather Lose
“A bit of a wink and a nudge to the idea that I'm a bit of a goody two-shoes. But also just the world we're living in: I feel like it's increasingly polarized and divided, and I think the idea of truth is being called into question on a daily basis. There's a part of me that's like, I never signed up for this game. I don't want to play this game, because there's no way to win, and I'm not competitive enough to want to throw myself into this game. So you know what? If this is the case, then I'd rather lose if that's what I'm up against. I'm fine to take the L on this, and to walk away, because it just doesn't matter enough to me.”

Save a Little for Yourself
“It's taken me a long time to learn the lesson of this song, and I'm sure it's something I will constantly be learning and relearning and reminding myself of. But I thought it was an important sentiment to put out in the world, because I know a lot of people who want to take care of the world around them before acknowledging their own needs. In varying degrees, I still feel like this is something I suffer from. So I like the endured mantra of committing it lyrically to a record where there's no escaping this idea, because ultimately, if you're not considering yourself and taking care of your needs and saving something for yourself, you're going to be of no use and no good to anyone else around you.”

Fifteen
“I feel like this song had to exist on this record, because I had to make peace with this little girl that lives inside of me in order to continue making music, and really find peace with this time in my life. Because I didn't want to carry around this baggage anymore, of the embarrassment or the shame or the weird confusion I think I felt about this particular juncture of my life. It’s a therapeutic, full-circle moment. I can still acutely remember that time now, even though I feel very disassociated from it. When I started, I was always like fourth in line—like, there's Britney, there's Christina, there's Jessica Simpson, and then, sometimes, there was me. My role in that hierarchy—I never had that degree of musical success. This is a reason that I was able to have a totally different career, and an acting career. Those girls were so famous, and when you’re that famous, I think it's increasingly hard for people to see you in a different role. I kind of skated by unscathed.”

Tryin’ My Best, Los Angeles
“I feel like a true Angeleno, like this is my hometown. I am the first person to come to its defense when people want to mock Los Angeles. I get all of its downfalls. I am in agreement on the traffic. I am in agreement on it being a company town. All of those are fair criticisms, but I love it in spite of all of that, and I love it because of all of that. I've had a tricky relationship with it, because I feel like earlier in my life and in my career it was the obvious move to be here. I've gone through a real ebb and flow really trying to communicate my confusion and, should I be here? Do you want me here? Should I move and try my hand at something else? It’s lot of time spent in the car contemplating, 'Maybe Los Angeles is done with me and I need to try my hand somewhere else.' That song was my ode to this city that I've had not a love-hate relationship with, but a tumultuous one, where at times I just didn't know if she wanted me anymore. Now I see we've come to an agreement—things are in a much better place.”

Easy Target
“It’s like being fully aware of my place in the world, and feeling like an outsider and an outlier in many ways, and speaking more to the social media aspect of things. I think that's obviously changed a lot, even since I've released music, and really, the onslaught of Twitter and the Instagram community and these ways of being able to instantaneously connect with people and have this instant feedback and being able to drive your own narrative. More specifically, knowing just in more trying times, understanding who I am in the world. I get that I am an easy target. I guess all of us in one way or another are an easy target at one point in time—and being okay in that role.”

When I Wasn't Watching
“That line [‘A little lost, a little rough/The lack of answers all add up to who we are’] stems from just the utter confusion of not knowing where to start—wanting to make music again, but I felt like I had so much to say, and yet I was confounded as to how. I felt like I could go in a million different directions, and this was the first song written for the record way back in 2016, and then it was reimagined last year. Ultimately, that's what this song is talking about, and taking the confluence of the confusion and the mixed emotions and infusing that into the understanding of it's exactly where you should be, and all of that adds up to exactly where you should be.”

Forgiveness
“Making this record is a conduit for being able to go on the road; I wanted to make new music so I could tour, because I miss performing live. I knew that I wanted to make a record that I was excited and look forward to sharing with an audience every night, and there was certain subject matter that I didn't want to have to be miserable living in that headspace anymore. I spent enough of my life doing that. 'Forgiveness' was the closest I wanted to touch upon the past.”

Stories Reminding Myself of Me
“I can infuse as much of myself and as much of my life experience into a certain role, but ultimately it is not Mandy Moore. That’s the beautiful vulnerability of being an artist and being able to write and talk about those experiences, like having my feet up on the dashboard of a car and talking about a half-stoned afternoon. The things that people wouldn't necessarily associate with me are the things that I am most interested in being able to share. That’s ultimately why I'm so excited about bringing music back into my world in this fully realized way, because there is a huge part of myself that has been dormant that I have missed and I've missed being able to share.”

If That’s What It Takes
“This song is a balm. It was one of the last songs that we wrote for the record. But I am so unendingly grateful for the beautiful respite that is my husband and the world that we have found together. I wanted this to be an ode to that. There's no other song that I feel like covers that territory in quite the same way. All of the life that I've lived and the history that I have behind me are the reason that I found myself, again, in this place making this record. But I can't discount his influence personally and professionally—I wanted this to reflect that.”

Silver Landings
“I knew going into our Nashville trip that we needed a few more songs, but in particular, we needed a song that was going to close out the record. I didn't know that we were going to get the album title from it by any means. We walked into Natalie’s home studio and she started reading a couple of phrases. She was like, ‘Blah, blah, blah, silver landings. I don't know what that means, it’s nonsense.’ I was like, ‘No, I know exactly what that is, and that's the song we're writing.’ Literally an hour and a half later, we had the song written. She was so perplexed by this, but I knew there was something in my gut that was like, ‘This is what the album at large is talking about.’ I’m a very glass-half-full person, and I believe things happen for a reason, and ‘Silver Landings’ is the ultimate idea of grounded purpose in a silver lining, and the all-encompassing understanding of what this record is.”

SONG
I’d Rather Lose
1
3:45
 
Save A Little For Yourself
2
3:39
 
Fifteen
3
4:09
 
Tryin' My Best, Los Angeles
4
4:01
 
Easy Target
5
4:38
 
When I Wasn’t Watching
6
3:29
 
Forgiveness
7
4:36
 
Stories Reminding Myself Of Me
8
3:57
 
If That's What It Takes
9
4:06
 
Silver Landings
10
4:43
 

Music Videos

More by Mandy Moore

Featured On