If it seems like Mandy Moore's new single, the acoustic-pop "Crush," showed up unusually close on the heels of its predecessor, that's because it did.
"'Crush' came really quickly after 'In My Pocket' because 'In My Pocket' did mmph," Moore said with a smile in MTV's Times Square office. "It did OK, but it didn't do as well as we thought it would."
With its four-on-the-floor dance groove, minor-key melody and pseudo-Arabic touches, plus an exotic video in which the 17-year-old appears as a brunet, "In My Pocket" was a "left turn," according to Moore.
"It might have been a little too much of a left turn in some people's eyes," she said. "I fully love the song today as much as I loved it when I recorded it and we released it. But people were like, 'That's not Mandy Moore, that's not a song I'm used to her singing, that's not how I'm used to seeing her in a video."
"Crush," which recalls Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" in its placement of Moore's breathy vocals over layered acoustic guitars and soft, syncopated beats, is a more conventional single.
The song was one of the first Moore recorded for Mandy Moore, which was released in June. At first she considered it just "a great album track," but as an increasing number of listeners praised it, she changed her mind.
"It was one of the songs on the album that, for real, I could say is me. Honestly, 100 percent, 'Crush' is me," Moore said.
Its cheery, psychedelic video shows a once-again blond Moore falling through the floor, taking a bath and hanging out with chimpanzees and a rock band.
"It's just me being my geeky self," Moore said. "It's me totally Mandy."
"Crush" has already begun to turn around the performance of Moore's album, which had fallen out of the top 100 of the Billboard 200 albums chart after selling fewer than 150,000 copies.
Next week, Moore's album will jump from #109 to #93. But the singer said she worried more about career longevity than about the sales of any single album.
"When the first-week album sales came back, I was a little bit surprised," she said. "I would rather sell 10 million copies in 10 years than sell 10 million copies in one year."
In addition to hosting her own MTV show, Moore has begun an acting career.
She plays a stuck-up cheerleader in the new comedy "The Princess Diaries" and will star in the drama "A Walk to Remember," due later this year. That movie will showcase the ballad "Cry," from Moore's album, she said.