There was a time, around the turn of the century, when Mandy Moore the pop singer and Mandy Moore the actor existed simultaneously, touring with *NSYNC and starring alongside Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. But as she outgrew both bubblegum pop and bubblegum roles, so to speak, her simultaneous careers became richer, her talent deeper. Moore's albums, especially, showcased a sophisticated singer-turned-songwriter invested in pop music's history, for which she never really got much credit.
Moore is now the star of the NBC family drama This Is Us (she covered a Linda Ronstadt song for that show's soundtrack, too) and the voice of Rapunzel on Disney's Tangled: The Series, but it's been a decade since she released the album Amanda Leigh.
"When I Wasn't Watching" was co-written with longtime collaborator Mike Viola, Dawes frontman (and husband) Taylor Goldsmith and Jason Boesel, the former drummer of Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, and Conor Oberst's Mystic Valley Band. The song sways with a Stevie Nicks energy—fringe and ruffles all the way down—as Moore reflects, with a resilient Nicks-ian bittersweetness, on who she became while not paying attention to herself: "My favorite version of me disappeared/ Through longer days and shorter years / So where was I when this was going down?/ Assumed the world would come around."
Moore's new album will be released sometime in 2020, via Verve Forecast.