Picks and Pans Review: Coverage

updated 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/03/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

Mandy Moore

[STARS 1.5]

Since her 1999 teen-pop debut, So Real, Mandy Moore has released three other albums, hosted her own MTV show, starred in films like 2002's A Walk to Remember and last summer's How to Deal and dated tennis phenom Andy Roddick. Pretty busy for a 19-year-old. But more isn't always Moore. Her fourth CD, which features 12 generic covers of' 70s and '80s pop-rock nuggets that are surely big faves at your local karaoke bar, feels like it was a rush job, a quick-and-easy way to get an album done for a girl who was too swamped to spend much time in the studio. How else to explain why Moore, whose career has been built on the loyalty of the TRL crowd, has made a disc that would have better befitted a sweet comeback vehicle for Olivia Newton-John? It's not that the singer totally embarrasses herself; it's just that she doesn't bring anything to gems like Carly Simon's "Anticipation" and Elton John's "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" that any American Idol finalist couldn't have done. At least Kelly Clarkson could have belted out Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move," rendered here as a cheesy disco-ish number, with enough lung power to really shake you up. Maybe in another 10 to 20 years Moore might possess the interpretive powers to make Coverage work. For now, though, it sounds as if a girl was sent in to do a woman's job.

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