Hilary Duff (album)

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Hilary Duff
Studio album by Hilary Duff
Released September 15, 2004 (2004-09-15)
Recorded 2004
Length 58:50
Label Hollywood
Producer
Hilary Duff chronology
  • Hilary Duff
  • (2004)
Singles from Hilary Duff
  1. "Fly"
    Released: August 9, 2004 (2004-08-09)
  2. "Someone's Watching Over Me"
    Released: February 21, 2005 (2005-02-21)

Hilary Duff is the self-titled third studio album by American recording artist Hilary Duff. It was released on September 15, 2004, by Hollywood Records. Duff cited the album as being more mature than her previous albums, stating "Basically, I'm not Lizzie McGuire anymore". The seventeen-track album saw Duff collaborating with the same producers she did on Metamorphosis, saying that it was more comfortable for her that way. Recording sessions for the album took place during May to August 2004, partially between filming of Raise Your Voice (2004) and The Perfect Man (2005), both in which Duff had starring roles.

It received generally negative reviews from music critics, many of whom compared the album to the music of Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson. The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 192,000 copies in its first week. To date, Hilary Duff has sold 1,800,000 copies in the U.S.[1] It became her second consecutive number one debut in Canada and produced two singles that were not major hits. It was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Hilary Duff was number sixty-five on Billboard magazine's year-end top albums chart in November 2005.[2]

The lead single from Hilary Duff, "Fly" pemiered on August 26, 2004 on MTV's Total Request Live. The song was officially released as a single on October 19, 2004, it peaked outside the top twenty on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream chart but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] "Fly" was the only single released in the United States. The second Australian single, "Someone's Watching Over Me" was released on February 21, 2005 to promote the film Raise Your Voice, achieving moderated success; only charting at number 22 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

Background and development[edit]

According to Duff, the album chronicles her experiences over the year before its release: "some of its good, and some of its bad, and a lot of its, like, a big learning experience", she explained.[4] She expressed an interest in recording lyrically more aggressive material ("Well, I'm not going to be singing about lollipops because I no longer relate to lollipops")[5] than the songs on Metamorphosis (2003) and wanted the album to reflect that, according to her, she is a normal sixteen year-old. "Basically, I'm not Lizzie McGuire anymore", she said.[5] She said the album deals with issues she would not discuss publicly and provides "some answers",[6] but she disagreed with people who believed the album presented a different side of her, saying "I think it's just more me this time because I got to really do it how I wanted to."[7] Duff called the album "different [from]" Metamorphosis and "much more mature", particularly in its "sound", but not to the point where it would be inappropriate for children; "I just think that other people will relate better", she said.[8] According to her, she was more "involved" compared to the production of her first album and "confident enough to make suggestions" about the style of the album: "If I thought it needed to be more heavy, more rock, I said so".[9] Its U.S. release date, September 28, 2004, was Duff's seventeenth birthday.[7]

Three songs — "Fly", "Someone's Watching over Me" and "Jericho" — were used in Raise Your Voice, a drama film released shortly after the album in which Duff starred as an aspiring singer who attends a prestigious performing arts summer school. Duff has described "Fly" as "an uplifting song" about "how people are scared to open up and show who they are inside because they're afraid of what others are going to say".[10] Her character performs "Someone's Watching over Me" at the film's climax and "Jericho" during the end credits, with the other characters performing the instruments. The album's release in Japan includes three bonus tracks: an acoustic version of "Who's That Girl?", a cover of The Go-Go's' "Our Lips Are Sealed" recorded with Haylie for the soundtrack to Duff's film A Cinderella Story ("We really wanted to work together, and my label knew that, so we found this song and we're like, 'Yes! We have to do this!'", Duff said[11]), and a cover of The Who's "My Generation" in which the lyric "I hope I die before I get old" was changed to "I hope I don't die before I get old". Duff began performing it in concert after a suggestion from her manager, who was a fan of the song.[12]

Duff herself co-wrote three tracks on the album: "Mr. James Dean", "Haters" and "Rock This World", the first two of which, along with "The Last Song", Haylie co-wrote. Hilary said she refrained from co-writing the entire album because "I don't know if I'm secure enough with myself to do that".[13] She has characterised "Haters" as "tongue-in-cheek" and said people would know what it is about when they heard it,[6] and it attracted substantial publicity when rumors circulated that it was about actress Lindsay Lohan, with whom Duff was alleged to have been feuding.[14][15][16][17] The Scoop, a gossip section of the website MSNBC, quoted an insider who had said, "Hilary thinks that Lindsay has been directing negativity at her for too long."[18] Duff denied that the rumors were true, saying she did not know Lohan and would not write a song about her.[19] She said that at the time she wrote it she was feeling she had to openly discuss her personal life because "people make accusations and there are lies and rumors constantly ... people are so negative. They love to read what's coming out next on Page Six [of the New York Post] and I just felt like it was appropriate." She said she felt "normal girls" could relate to the song because of the "petty stuff" that occurs in schools.[7]

Duff told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2005 that because she was under the control of a record label during the making of Metamorphosis and Hilary Duff, she wasn't able to incorporate the sound she wanted into her recordings. She said the production "[had] been mastered and sounds really pretty ... If I could change it, I would, and it would sound [less pop]. My name is Hilary Duff, and I don't know why I don't get to make Hilary Duff music."[20]

Recording and production[edit]

Duff recorded the first three songs for the album between the shooting dates of Raise Your Voice and The Perfect Man, two films in which she was involved.[21] Subsequent songs were recorded on the weekends during filming of The Perfect Man and on the nights after concerts on her summer 2004 tour. The album's outro track, "The Last Song", was recorded in her dressing room. "It was so ghetto", Duff said of the experience.[6]

When discussion regarding her second album began, Duff said she wanted to work with the same team of producers and songwriters with whom she worked on Metamorphosis. "[They] made me feel so comfortable and so secure with myself. I loved working with them. I have a great relationship with them. I talk to them [all the time] ... They knew what was going on in my life, what I was going through ... and how I feel inside", Duff said.[13] For songs she did not co-write, Duff discussed her experiences and feelings with the writers and ask them to write songs about them.[13] Members of the creative team behind Metamorphosis who returned for Hilary Duff include Charlie Midnight, John Shanks and Kara DioGuardi (who collaborated on the commercially released singles), Andre Recke, Marc Swersky and Duff's sister Haylie. Hilary said, "I do have a lot to say, and I have a lot going on inside that sometimes is buried and hidden because I'm working so hard, and I don't have time to think about it. But if we sit down and we talk about it and I tell her how I feel and she writes, it'll be good."[22]

Several producers and songwriters who did not contribute to Metamorphosis worked on the album, including Andreas Carlsson and Desmond Child ("Who's That Girl?"), British songwriter Guy Chambers ("Shine"), Julian Bunetta and James Michael ("The Getaway") and Ty Stevens ("Rock This World"). Ron Entwistle is co-writer and co-producer of "Weird", which Duff said is "about someone that she's still obsessed with. And everything he does is like he says this, but he does this ... She's not really sure who he is or what he does, but she likes it."[12] Kevin De Clue contributed to "The Last Song" and "Mr. James Dean" (both co-produced by Haylie), which Duff has named her favorite track on the album and described as "very funny"; in the song, she tells an ex-boyfriend that he'll "never be James Dean". Duff neither confirmed nor denied whether the song was about fellow singer Aaron Carter, and she said "it was definitely an experience that I went through that was interesting and I learned a lot from that time in my life."[7] In "Hide Away", co-produced and co-written by Shaun Shankel, Duff discusses a relationship that isn't working because she is in a position where her life is "figuratively under the microscope".[12] Diane Warren wrote "I Am", an empowerment song in which Duff lists positive and negative aspects about herself; she has said it is about being comfortable "with all those feelings ... being who you are". David Campbell arranged and conducted strings for the tracks "Someone's Watching Over Me" and "Who's That Girl?".[23]

Duff's management team considered for recording a song titled "Since U Been Gone", which Lukasz "Dr. Luke" Gottwald and Max Martin had originally written for Pink. According to Gottwald, Duff's team passed on the song because some of the notes were too high for Duff's voice. "Since U Been Gone" was later recorded by Kelly Clarkson, for whom it became a major hit.[24]

Singles[edit]

"Fly" was the lead and only single with a music video from the album. It is also the only single released in the US. The music video directed by Chris Applebaum, combines black-and-white backstage footage with color shots of Duff performing the song. The video premiered on MTV's Total Request Live on August 26, 2004.

"Someone's Watching over Me" was released in Australia as a second and final single from the album. The music video was the shot from the 2004 movie "Raise Your Voice" where Duff plays the lead role.

Other notable songs[edit]

Duff said during the time the album was released that she was considering "Haters" as the second single,[6] but she later changed her mind and decided she wanted "Weird" to become the next single.[25]

Towards the end of 2004, several radio singles were released to promote the album. "The Getaway" was issued in the U.S. in November 2004 and in Canada in January 2005,[26] and "I Am" was released to Radio Disney in December 2004;[citation needed] shortly after, promotion for "Weird" began in Spain.[citation needed]

Promotion[edit]

Duff embarked on a concert tour of North America,[27] and several of her shows in Canada sold out in minutes.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[29]
Entertainment Weekly D−[30][31]
People 2.5/4 stars[32]
Robert Christgau (dud)[33]
Slant 1/5 stars[34]
Stylus D+[17]
USA Today 2.5/4 stars[35]
The Village Voice (negative)[16]

Reviews were mixed to negative. Ken Barnes of USA Today, which gave Metamorphosis a negative review,[36] commented positively on the album and said it exemplified "a more wholesome brand of rock-flavored pop aimed at teens". Barnes praised the "unstoppably rousing choruses" in some of the songs and said "Duff avoids overextending her thin but pleasant voice, except for a bit of Avrilesque syllable stretching", while he criticised the high number of tracks and the preponderance of "hackneyed self-affirmation messages".[35] Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine categorised Hilary Duff as "a virtual companion to Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography, from its rock/dance-pop fusion to its earnest demeanor" and "a varied, ambitious album ... it feels like the soundtrack to the life of a smart, ambitious, popular teenager trying to sort things out".

A review of Hilary Duff in The Village Voice was far less praising; it said "Duff's role in the tween-rock firmament is playing pious Lisa Loeb opposite Simpson's post-diluvian Courtney Love ... despite liberal amounts of gold-dust guitar glitter, blow-dried backing vocals, and even the post-crash-Skynyrd 'Rock This World', Hilary Duff is too often the vanilla-bean fantasia AOR chauvinists take all girl-pop for."[16] Stylus magazine wrote that Duff's attempt to follow "the [Avril Lavigne] template that she previously softened" yielded "mixed results ... to a certain extent, [she] is a prisoner of her image and her attempts at Chrissie Hynde-intensity fall far short of even Ashlee Simpson's gravelly vocal cords." Its critic described the album's length as its "simple problem", saying that with "a little quality control ... this could easily be as strong as any other teen-pop album released this year."[17]

In response to Duff's "announcement" that "she's a complicated rock & roll adolescent on the order of Avril and Ashlee", Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Uh-huh. And Betty from the Archie comics is Patti Smith", noting Duff's "tiny" voice is "buried under layers of generic cheese arrangements."[30] Sal Cinquemani of Slant called the album "a seemingly endless string of three-and-a-half-minute pieces of pop crap – and I like pop music", and wrote that although Duff "can't be held responsible for most of the album's insipid lyrical content", "when [she] gets in on the action things feel contrived".[34] The New York Daily News named it the worst teen pop album of 2004, saying it was "[n]eck-and-neck for junkiest CD of the year with her arch nemesis, Lindsay Lohan [Speak]".[37]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 with 192,000 copies sold in its first week of release, which was lower than the first week sales of Metamorphosis.[38] IGN Music said that partly because of the album's high debut, "at this very moment Hilary Duff is perhaps the reigning queen of bubblegum pop theatrics"; it also said that Duff's image was "undergoing an overhaul" through photo shoots in magazines such as Blender, possibly making her less "squeaky clean" than her predecessors Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.[39] Unlike Metamorphosis, Hilary Duff went no higher on the Billboard 200, and the RIAA certified it platinum a month after its release.[40] Hilary Duff was number 112 on Billboard magazine's year-end top albums chart in December 2004[41] and number sixty-five on Billboard magazine's year-end top albums chart in November 2005.[2] in its second week, slipped to No. 6 selling 95,500, down 51% over the first week of release[42] the following week the album continued in No. 6, selling 83,775 and falling 12% over the past week.[43]

The album debuted at number one on the Nielsen SoundScan chart in Canada, as Metamorphosis had done,[44] and it was released in Australia in October. It debuted in the top ten on the ARIA album chart, surpassing the top twenty peak of Metamorphosis[45] and rising to its number-six peak position in November. "Fly" was released as a single in the same month and did not perform as well, reaching just outside the top twenty.[46] Duff embarked on a two-date tour of Australia in late October, supported by Popstars winner Scott Cain.[47] In Canada, the CRIA certified the album three times platinum for 300,000 copies.[48]

In February 2005, popdirt.com reported that because of the failure of "Fly" in the U.S., Hollywood Records would not be releasing further singles from the album. The website said that "The Getaway" was planned as the follow-up single in January, but its release was cancelled after sales of the album went into a "sudden drop". Executives at the label decided that money should be invested in a new album – which became Most Wanted – instead of additional promotion for Hilary Duff, according to the report.[49] Shortly after, Duff fans grouped together to launch the "Hilary Duff Attack Day" Project, a campaign designed to persuade Hollywood Records executives to release another single.[50] Organisers of the campaign, which was endorsed by nearly twenty Duff fansites, instructed fans to buy a copy of the album on April 4 so that the consequent increase in weekly sales would lead to the release of another single. The campaign's online project page said, "The Hilary Duff album has plenty of great songs that would make great singles ... If every fan would buy a CD that day, the sales would increase considerably and we will show the record company that the Hilary Duff CD is amazing, and that another single is in need!"[51] No single was released after the planned "Attack Day". By June 2005, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the album had sold 1.5 million copies in the U.S.; in comparison, Metamorphosis had sold 3.7 million.[52]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Fly"   Shanks 3:43
2. "Do You Want Me?"  
Gerrard 3:31
3. "Weird"  
  • Midnight
  • Swersky
  • Spider
2:56
4. "Hide Away"  
  • Shankel
  • Midnight
3:48
5. "Mr. James Dean"  
  • Haylie Duff
  • De Clue
  • Andre Recke
3:28
6. "Underneath This Smile"  
  • DioGuardi
  • Shanks
Shanks 3:39
7. "Dangerous to Know"  
  • Midnight
  • Wendy Page
  • Jim Marr
  • Midnight
  • Marr
  • Page
3:34
8. "Who's That Girl?"  
  • Child
  • Midnight
  • Carlsson
3:27
9. "Shine"  
Shanks 3:29
10. "I Am"   Diane Warren Shanks 3:44
11. "The Getaway"  
Bunetta 3:37
12. "Cry"  
  • Midnight
  • Swersky
  • Charlton Pettus
  • Midnight
  • Swersky
  • Pettus
3:48
13. "Haters"  
  • Hilary Duff
  • Haylie Duff
  • Midnight
  • Swersky
  • Midnight
  • Swersky
2:59
14. "Rock This World"  
  • Midnight
  • Denny Weston, Jr.
  • Ty Stevens
  • Hilary Duff
  • Midnight
  • Weston, Jr.
  • Stevens
3:46
15. "Someone's Watching Over Me"  
  • DioGuardi
  • Shanks
Shanks 4:11
16. "Jericho"  
  • Midnight
  • Bennett
3:55
17. "The Last Song"  
  • Haylie Duff
  • De Clue
  • Haylie Duff
  • De Clue
  • Recke
1:25
Total length:
58:50

Charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart 6
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[54] 71
Canadian Albums Chart[55] 1
Dutch Albums Chart[56] 16
Japanese Albums Chart[57] 5
Mexican Albums Chart 6
New Zealand Albums Chart[58] 14
Spanish Albums Chart[59] 14
US Billboard 200[55] 2

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Sales/shipments
Australia Platinum[60] 70,000+[60]
Canada 3× Platinum[61] 300,000+[48]
Japan Gold[62] 100,000+[62]
United States Platinum[63] 1,000,000+[63]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Edition Label
Japan[64] September 15, 2004 Limited edition (CD) Avex Trax
France[65] September 27, 2004 Standard edition (CD) Warner Music Group
Germany[66]
United States[67] September 28, 2004 Standard edition (digital download) Hollywood Records

References[edit]

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