In 2018, Mandy Moore is one of the stars of This Is Us, NBC’s second most-watched television program (behind NFL Sunday Night Football) and a show that I refuse to watch because I hear it will make me cry. But in 2000, Moore was battling for the title as the era’s best blonde pop singer, and though her pop star has long dimmed in favor of TV drama, she, the orchestrator of “Candy,” should never be forgotten. Blessedly, per Billboard, Moore seems prepared to try her hand at musicking once more, as evidenced by a recent Instagram post proclaiming she is “getting back” to music. I am delighted.
Indeed, long before the Pearsons did some stuff that depletes all my friends’ lacrimal fluid reserves once a week, Moore was grouped with Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera as a competing pop princess. All four went on to add their own unique identities to our cultural zeitgeist: Simpson as a reality TV star with a promise ring, Spears as True Queen, Aguilera as the only one who could actually sing, and Moore as a no-longer-blonde respected film and television actress, despite her participation in the movie Chasing Liberty, which I have only just now learned to forgive. Moore’s acting career took off, and as a result she hasn’t released an album since 2009.
But “Candy,” released in 1999, is an oft-forgotten treasure. The lyrics—“So baby come to me/Baby, Show me who you are (yeah yeah yeah)/Sweet to me/Like sugar to my heart (oooh baby)/I’m craving (I’m cravin) for you/I’m missing you like candy,”—are as catchy as they are inexplicable, as is the one vague dance number in the music video:
Also noteworthy is her 2000 hit, “I Wanna Be With You,” which soundtracked a pivotal moment in the cinematic masterpiece Center Stage that same year. Also also noteworthy are all the songs Moore sang in the 2002 film A Walk to Remember, a movie I watched about eight times in 7th grade because I thought Shane West was a “very handsome bad boy.”
Moore made six studio albums before decamping for the silver screen, and I’m sure they contain many other good songs I will listen to while I eagerly await her next hit. I am very excited!!!!