On Monday, Hilary Duff released “All About You,” the second single from her upcoming album. As all of my Facebook friends know, I have not been able to shut up about the return of the Lizzie McGuire, and probably should be added to the payroll as her head-promoter. This is something that I have no shame about, because I know that she has released quality content that is worth celebrating. “All About You” sounds a bit like a Taylor Swift reject, which was then mashed up with the Lumineers, and that is not what I would call a bad thing. It has potential to be a summer smash, unlike the previous (yes, I admit it) snore-fest “Chasing the Sun.”
I have (non-ironically) been a Hilary fan since her 2007 album Dignity, which I think is one of the most underrated dance records of the 2000s. Like you, I did not believe that being a Hilary Duff fan was even possible unless you were a 12-year-old girl (or deaf), but Dignity proves that she is able to make a cohesive and mature adult album that is worth loving. Her voice is far from incredible, but you don’t listen to a Hilary Duff song with the hopes of hearing Mariah Carey-eque powerhouse vocals. Instead, you take it for what it is: positive, honest, danceable, and fun. I would like to take this opportunity to convert the non-believers and prepare everyone for the inevitable Duff takeover of 2014, by sharing what I believe are her best tracks, that have the potential to turn you into a fan.
This song is sassy, and has become my go-to car song when relationship troubles have got me down. With a synth-pop beat, the occasional strum of an acoustic guitar, and a overly dramatic violin solo, Duff takes you into her post-breakup struggle, and the eventual “FUCK YOU, I’M AWESOME” feeling that comes along with it. “After all the things you put me through, I’m finally getting over you” she affirms to her once lover, something that we all picture screaming in the face of those who screwed with our hearts. Alas, like all strong independent women, happiness is something that Hil was in control of the entire time.
2. “Gypsy Woman”
“Gypsy Woman” is often deemed by fans as the best from Dignity, which is something that I completely understand. The track was produced by Ryan Tedder (in an era where his songs were fresh), and samples some sort of Bollywood flavor, translating into a commercially acceptable pop jam. Upon release, “Gypsy Woman” was speculated to be about Nicole Richie stealing Joel Madden from Hilary, which makes my celebrity-gossip-loving-15-year-old-self giddy. However, she denied the allegations and instead explained that it was about her parent’s divorce. How can someone turn childhood trauma into such a danceable bop? Listen and find out.
Additional note: she samples Winston Churchill. I do not know why.
From her 2008 Best Of album (I know what you are thinking…), “Holiday” is what I would call the most adult-friendly song that Duff has ever released. It’s mature, and draws on emotions that most everyone has experienced: the nostalgia associated with a relationship that went south without warning, and the eventual acceptance that things are not ever going to be the same. The bridge is what dreams are made of (I did that on purpose) and always stops me in my tracks, demanding a sing-a-long. “Never thought you and me would be done in a minute, now I’m making new plans and you’re just not in them,” she sings twice for good measure. Love is good until it isn’t, and then it becomes good with someone else, and thankfully the Duffster is here to remind us.