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So Real is the debut studio album by American pop singer Mandy Moore. The album was released on December 7, 1999, in the United States by Epic Records.[1] The album was released at a critical turning point in pop music - known as the teen pop revival - which saw other teen artists such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson release their debut albums that same year to commercial and critical success. Conceptually, the album addresses themes such as teenage love, romance and heartbreak, all of which were common subjects in teen pop music at the time. So Real became a moderate hit in the United States, reaching a peak of 31 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, as well as being certified Platinum by the RIAA, for shipments of over 1 million.

So Real
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 7, 1999 (1999-12-07)
GenreTeen pop, R&B, dance-pop, bubblegum pop
ProducerThe Wasabees, Tony Moran, Rogers & Sturken
Mandy Moore chronology
So Real
I Wanna Be with You
Singles from So Real
  1. "Candy"
    Released: August 17, 1999
  2. "Walk Me Home"
    Released: December 4, 1999
  3. "So Real"
    Released: March 9, 2000

The album spawned a Top 40 hit with "Candy" and went gold within three months in the RIAA.[2]



Moore's interest in singing grew after seeing the musical Oklahoma!. She was also encouraged to perform by her English-born maternal grandmother, who was her inspiration. After several public exposures where she sang the national anthem at several Florida sporting events, Moore recorded some songs that were overheard by a FedEx employee, who sent her CD tape to A&R at Epic Records. Moore was then signed and started recording her debut album. To start the promotion, she toured with the Backstreet Boys throughout 1999 and the album was released in December.[3]


The opening track of the album, "So Real", was also the third single released from the record overall, and the second in Australia. In its lyrics, Moore sings that what she feels about a guy is "so, so real".[4] The song was written by Tony Battaglia, Shaun Fisher and produced by The Wasabees.[5] Its second song and lead single, "Candy", talks about her feelings, that she misses and craves for her love like "candy". The melody and tune of the song has a marked resemblance to the 1996 song "Do You Know (What It Takes)", which was written and composed by Max Martin and Denniz Pop and recorded, co-written and released by Swedish pop star Robyn.[6] Actor John Goodman also appears on the track, playing the chimes.

"What You Want", the third song, Moore states that she can do what a guy wants, because she's the "girl of [your] fantasy". According to a track included on "Candy" CD single, the song was the first recorded by Moore under the label. "Walk Me Home", the second single released from the album in late 1999, is a ballad which Mandy seems to daydream about her lover and she asks him if he "would walk with [her] home". The song was compared with some Janet Jackson's ballads.[7]

"Lock Me in Your Heart" is a mid-tempo track where Moore asks her boy to "lock me in your heart and throw away the key".[8] Its sixth track, "Telephone (Interlude)" is a 15-second song which consists of a prelude to its seventh song, "Quit Breaking My Heart", where Mandy states that she likes her boyfriend, but he always breaks her heart, so he needs to "quit breaking [her] heart".[9] A Five Star's cover, "Let Me Be the One", is an up-tempo song which Mandy seems to be jealous so she tells her lover to let her be the one he gives his love to. "Not Too Young", the ninth track, is another up-tempo song, which Moore states that a guy is trying to get to her and he thinks he can do that because she's younger than him. However, she sings that she's "not too young to know the right thing to do, and one of those things is not to fall for you". In the Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken-produced track "Love Shot", Moore asks her boyfriend if can handle her, because she will not "stop in [her] love shot". The next song, "I Like It", which was co-written by the Backstreet Boys member Howie Dorough, is related to when one likes everything a person does and it feels right. Its twelfth track, "Love You for Always", is a mid-tempo track where Mandy wishes that she stays with her boyfriend forever, because she is going to love him for always. "Quit Breaking My Heart (Reprise)", which ends the album, is an acoustic-like track that repeats the chorus of its original song.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [10]
Entertainment WeeklyC−[11]

Reviews among music critics were generally mixed. Said William Ruhlmann of AllMusic, "fifteen-year-old Mandy Moore's debut album sounded like it was inspired almost entirely by listening to recent hit albums by 'N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears," citing stylistic similarities between album tracks "So Real" and "Let Me Be the One" to the Backstreet Boys' "Backstreet's Back", and saying that Moore's "occasional growls" were similar to Spears' "...Baby One More Time". Ruhlmann stated that Moore could "carry a tune", but "with no particular distinction", saying that aside from her singing, the music was "mediocre".[12]

Commercial performanceEdit

Initially, the album debuted at number 71 on the Billboard 200, selling 30,000 copies in its first week, significantly lower than expected by Epic Records. The first single from the album was not a major hit, as it peaked just outside the top 40 at #41 on the Hot 100. The album reached No. 31, being the highest, and sold 950,000 in United States and was certified Platinum by the RIAA, for shipments of over 1 million.[13][14]


"Candy" was released as Moore' debut single on August 17, 1999.[15] The song received generally favorable critical reviews from, mostly praising its composition. It performed only moderately well on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking just outside the top 40, at #41. It entered the chart on #88 and reached its peak in its eighth week on the chart.[16] Despite this, the song is the most successful single ever recorded by Moore, at least internationally. It received more success abroad, peaking at #6 in the UK and #2 in Australia. The music video, which was directed by Chris Robinson, had a cameo by the girl group PYT and also featured a young Scarlett Johansson briefly.

"Walk Me Home" was released on December 6, 1999 as the second single in the US, the song failed to chart when it was first released. Then, in 2000, the song was re-released to promote her second studio album I Wanna Be with You, but it failed to chart again, though it peaked at #38 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. "So Real" was released on June 13, 2000 as the final single. The song was released only in selected markets such as Australia, New Zealand, France and Japan as the second single from the album. The song was less successful as her debut single, but peaked within the top 30 in Australia and Top 100 in France. It was also recorded in French under the name "C'est Si Facile".[17]

Track listingEdit

1."So Real"Tony Battaglia, Shaun FisherThe Wasabees3:51
2."Candy"Tony Battaglia, Shaun Fisher, Jive Jones, Denise RichJIVE, Charlie, The Wasabees3:56
3."What You Want"Tony Battaglia, Shaun Fisher, Skip MaslandThe Wasabees3:42
4."Walk Me Home"Tony MoranTony Moran4:23
5."Lock Me in Your Heart"Tony Battaglia, Shaun FisherThe Wasabees3:31
6."Telephone (Interlude)"  0:15
7."Quit Breaking My Heart"Tony Battaglia, Shaun FisherThe Wasabees3:53
8."Let Me Be the One" (Five Star cover)Ian FosterThe Wasabees3:50
9."Not Too Young"Tony Battaglia, Obie MorantThe Wasabees3:52
10."Love Shot"Carl Sturken, Evan RogersSturken, Rogers4:24
11."I Like It"Howie Dorough, Mike Lorello, Tony Moran, Denise RichTony Moran4:26
12."Love You for Always"Tony Battaglia, Shaun FisherThe Wasabees3:22
13."Quit Breaking My Heart (Reprise)"Tony Battaglia, Shaun FisherThe Wasabees1:01
Total length:44:27


Credits for So Real adapted from Allmusic.[18]

  • Mandy Moore – primary artist
  • Tony Battaglia – composer
  • Dakari – guest artist
  • Shaun Fisher – composer
  • Jive – guest artist
  • Billy Lawrence – guest artist
  • T. Moran – composer
  • David Rice – composer
  • Mark Stevens – composer


Chart (1999) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200[19] 31
U.S. Top Album Sales[20] 31

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (2000) Peak
U.S Billboard 200[21] 116


Country Providers Certification Sales
U.S. RIAA Platinum[22] 1,000,000[23]


  1. ^ "So Real: Music". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  2. ^ RIAA certification searchable database - "Mandy Moore" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. Recording Industry Association of America
  3. ^ Christina Aguilera: A Biography - Mary Anne Donovan - Google Books. 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  4. ^ "Playlist". 2000-07-21. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  5. ^ "So Real - Mandy Moore | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  6. ^ "YouTube - Robyn - Do You Know What It Takes". Retrieved 2008-12-01.
  7. ^ "Walk Me Home - Mandy Moore | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  8. ^ "Lock Me in Your Heart - Mandy Moore | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  9. ^ "Quit Breaking My Heart - Mandy Moore | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  10. ^ William Ruhlmann (1999-12-07). "So Real - Mandy Moore | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  11. ^ Vincentelli, Elisabeth (2000-01-07). "So Real Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
  12. ^ "Mandy Moore - Biography". Billboard. 1984-04-10. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  13. ^ "Ask Billboard: The Black Eyed Peas, Linkin Park, Mandy Moore". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  14. ^ Andrew Leahey (1984-04-10). "Mandy Moore | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  15. ^ "'He's Just Not That Into You' Cast: Then & Now". Fox News. February 6, 2009.
  16. ^ "Mandy Moore - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  17. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mandy Moore - So Real". Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  18. ^ "So Real - Mandy Moore | Credits". AllMusic. 1999-12-07. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "RIAA Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  23. ^ Trust, Gary (2009-06-05). "Ask Billboard: The Black Eyed Peas, Linkin Park, Mandy Moore". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-04-05.