In keeping with the newfound seriousness of her music and film careers, the soundtrack to Mandy Moore's How to Deal is considerably less fluffy than the music for her previous cinematic effort, A Walk to Remember. Indeed, How to Deal includes exactly zero tracks by Moore, opting for a mix of alternative and classic rock, including the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize??," the Music's "Take the Long Road and Walk It," and Cat Stevens' "Wild World." With the exception of Skye Sweetnam's decidedly teen-y song about William Shakespeare, "Billy S.," the album makes no acknowledgement of Moore's teen pop past, although it does feature girl power in various shapes and forms, including the Donnas' "It's on the Rocks," Beth Orton's "Thinking About Tomorrow" and "Wild World," as well as Liz Phair's "Why Can't I?"; ironically enough, this song is the closest to teen pop the album gets, save for "Billy S." The soundtrack also has its share of slightly saccharine ballads, such as John Mayer's "Not Myself," Aslyn's "That's When I Love You," and "Promise Ring" by Tremolo, but these are balanced out somewhat by the swooning, Jeff Buckley-esque "Waves" by Marjorie Fair and the breezy electronic pop of Echo's "Surrender." All in all, How to Deal is a solid soundtrack that should please fans of the movie.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares