Wild Hope is not a kid’s record. (Although you can imagine it might appeal to the sort of teenager like a girl I know who was in high school when she saw Almost Famous, heard Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” for the first time, and said, “What’s that?”) And it’s not a cheery record — note how Moore murmurs the words “come to an end” after the upbeat way she sings the title of “All Good Things.” The lyrics convey romantic disappointment and compromise; “You’ll still end up with most of me” is far removed from the everyday utopia of pop romanticism. The muted nature of her delivery means the bite of some of the lines hit you on the rebound, especially kiss-off moments like “In time you’ll fade/Into the nothing that you are” and the witty, cold “I’ll miss the version of you who loved me.” When I ask Moore about what prompted an album that isn’t what you’d expect from someone at 23, she says matter-of-factly, without any self-pity or play for sympathy, “The life that I’ve been living for the past eight or nine years. I signed a record deal when I was 14 and was put in an adult world and had responsibilities that no one else my age had. It’s why I hang out with people that are older than me. All my friends are in their 30s. I feel like I’m dealing with issues that my contemporaries haven’t been confronted with.”
If Wild Hope is Moore’s professional coming out, her lookee-what-I-can-do moment, it’s also an understated one. One of the future pleasures pop music promises is the chance to see what she does as she gets even more confident.
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