Stranger (Hilary Duff song)

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"Stranger"
Single by Hilary Duff
from the album Dignity
B-side "With Love"
Released June 25, 2007 (2007-06-25)
Format
Length 4:10
Label Hollywood
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Vada Nobles
  • Derrick Haruin
  • Logic
Hilary Duff singles chronology
"With Love"
(2007)
"Stranger" "Reach Out"
(2008)

"Stranger" is a song recorded by American singer Hilary Duff for her fourth studio album, Dignity (2007). It was written by Duff and Kara DioGuardi with the song's producers Vada Nobles, Derrick Haruin, and Julius "Logic" Diaz.

Background and release[edit]

In mid April 2007, in a post on Duff's blog, she told her fans that they could vote for what they thought should be the next single from Dignity.[1] According to a later post, fan feedback via votes was "overwhelmingly" in favor of "Stranger" as the next single.[2] Duff promoted the song with a performance on So You Think You Can Dance.[3][4]

In mid-2007, concurrent to the preparation of the radio release of "Stranger", Duff was featured in a bikini on the July covers of the magazines Us Weekly and Shape, and on the August cover of Maxim accompanied by the declaration that she had gone "from the queen of teen to breakout sex symbol".[5] The Associated Press wrote that the first two were representative of "a clear move [on Duff's part] to put her Lizzie McGuire past behind her", and that more provocative imaging of her would help her singles to garner mainstream radio play: "Ultimately, nature, time and genetics may help Duff in a way Disney, despite all its might, cannot."[5] Guy Zapoleon, a radio consultant and former programmer for top 40 radio, said such imaging would "definitely have a positive effect on the attitude of programmers, who are mostly male, as Disney tries to mature her image".[5]

The single was released to U.S. contemporary hit radio stations on July 10, 2007.[6]

Composition[edit]

'Stranger" was rumored to be about Duff and her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Joel Madden.[7][8][9] However, according to Duff, the song is actually about how she thought her mother feels around her father, who had an extramarital affair with another woman. Duff said she wrote "Stranger" to appear to be about one of her own relationships, because she didn't want people to know about the strained relationship between her parents.[9] "But I've realized that so many can relate to what I've gone through", she said. Another song on the album, "Gypsy Woman", was inspired by the same situation.[9] Duff told Access Hollywood that writing the song "was like therapy, you know. Just a total release of all the things you hold inside".[10]

Critical reception[edit]

A writer for BBC Radio 1 gave the song three stars, commenting on how it "continues the more grown-up, serious side of Hilary Duff"; he called the vocals "definitely more in the ballpark of 'husky' rather than 'impressive'" and said the Eastern sound owed much to songs such as the Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons". Although he stated he would prefer "Danger", another song on Dignity, to be a single, he said "Stranger" "[wouldn't] sound out of place on a Britney Spears album, which suggests to me that she's done a passable job of leaving behind her bubblegum past", and that it made him "[do] a fair bit of seat-dancing".[11]

A review from Music Focus called the track "unashamedly pop" and said that it was "one of the strongest cuts from Duff's latest album and pushes her into a maturer pop sound". They gave the song a positive review, adding that "Stranger" "need[ed] to be a success" and was "cool, confident slice of dance pop and some of Duff's best work to date".[12] Gary Lancaster of TeenSpot gave the song four stars, calling it an "example of how a modern pop anthem really should sound". He also called it "sleek and sophisticated" and a "catchy, chart worthy track".[13] The song was well received by Billboard reviewer Chuck Taylor, who called it "uptempo" and "dance-friendly", but said that "Top 40 is a tough call".[14]

Blender magazine included the song in the "Dangerously in Love" category on its year-end "Oh Yeah... 209 Songs We Like" list.[15]

Chart performance[edit]

But, due to the lack of promotion given to the song, it reached number ninety-seven on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 to become Duff's lowest peaking song on the chart, on which it spent one week.[16][17] The single received frequent airplay in U.S. nightclubs, peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart—it was Duff's third entry on the chart, and her second consecutive number-one single.[16][18] On the year-end Hot Dance Club Play Tracks chart, "Stranger" was ranked thirty-ninth.[19] It reached number eighty-six on the Canadian Hot 100,[17] and is included on the MuchMusic compilation album MuchDance 2008.[20]

The WaWa club mix of the song was premiered at the opening party of the Ibiza nightclub Space, which named it "Single of the Week" in its weekly podcast.[21] The UK single release of "Stranger" was to be on July 9, according to FemaleFirst.co.uk,[22] but it was moved back to August 20 to allow the remix to gain airplay in clubs,[23] and then to September 3,[21] when it received a download-only release. "Stranger" debuted at 102 on the UK Singles Chart.[24] In Australia, the song was the third most-added to radio in the week ending October 24;[25] it entered the Australian ARIA Singles Chart on November 12 at number sixty-eight on download sales alone.[26] It subsequently left the chart, and re-entered at number forty-nine.[27]

Music video[edit]

The video for the single was directed by Fatima Robinson and was shot in Los Angeles, California, including at a mansion in Silver Lake, between May 10 and May 12, 2007.[2][28] Duff said she was ill during the shoot, but that it went well because she liked the song and the director; she also said she thought it was her best music video to date.[28] The video premiered on Yahoo! Music on May 30, 2007[29] and had its "First Look" on Total Request Live on June 6, 2007.

The video begins with Duff's character running out of her home to look for her romantic partner, who drives away. It cuts to her waking up and finding a letter and a bracelet, and then shows Duff watching a woman seducing her partner. At a dinner party, Duff's partner kisses her and then flirts with the other woman. The video cuts to a scene at a lounge where dancers entertain the guests, among whom are Duff's partner and two other men. Duff's partner flirts with one of the dancers. Recurring shots of Duff wearing a hooded jacket are edited into the video. The second verse begins with Duff belly dancing[30] in a harem costume and wearing henna tattoos and beads; according to Duff, they took several hours to apply and reflected the "Indian type beat" in the song.[28] During the second chorus, the dinner party scene is shown again. Duff is introduced to the other woman, and she talks to other guests. The chorus plays again with Duff walking into a nightclub and teasing her partner, before dancing with another man. She then breaks into another dance routine with two other dancers. The final two choruses show Duff and her partner fighting, and Duff looking at a cellphone before leaving the house with a suitcase.

Blender magazine wrote, "Her dancing skills are still a tad stilted but she makes up for it with some key "despondent" and "perturbed" acting faces", also noting what it described as "shameless close-ups of a certain cell phone".[30] The Sun editorialized, "Nope this isn't the next big Bollywood star—it's Hilary Duff taking her image to a whole new level. The singer's reinvention from squeaky teen star to sexy pop starlet is obviously well underway [...] all well and good for Hilary—just as long as she doesn't do a Britney."[31]

Track listings[edit]

Spanish CD maxi single[32]
No. Title Length
1. "Stranger"   4:10
2. "Stranger" (Smax & Gold Club Mix) 8:47
3. "Stranger" (WaWa Club Mix) 7:04
4. "With Love" (Bimbo Jones Remix) 6:40
Total length:
26:41
Digital download — WaWa Club Mix
No. Title Length
1. "Stranger" (WaWa Club Mix) 7:07
Digital download — WaWa Mix (Radio Edit)
No. Title Length
1. "Stranger" (WaWa Mix) (Radio Edit) 3:12
Digital download — EP
No. Title Length
1. "Stranger" (Radio Edit) 3:08
2. "Stranger" (WaWa Club Mix) 7:04
3. "Stranger" (Smax & Gold Club Mix) 8:47
4. "With Love" (Bimbo Jones Radio Edit) 2:51
Total length:
21:50

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
France[40] June 25, 2007 Digital download (WaWa Club Mix) Angel
Germany[41]
Italy[42]
Spain[43]
United States[44] July 10, 2007 Mainstream radio Hollywood
France[45] September 3, 2007 Digital download (WaWa Mix Radio Edit) Angel
Germany[46]
Italy[47]
Spain[48]
United Kingdom[49]
United Kingdom[50] Digital download (EP)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Hilary Duff blog post". hilarynews.com; original post on hilaryduff.com only available to members of her official fan club. April 13, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Hil's blog update". hilarynews.com; original post on hilaryduff.com only available to members of her official fan club. May 2, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  3. ^ Staff. "So You Think Hilary Duff Can Dance". IGN TV. July 9, 2007.
  4. ^ Pisarra, Drew. "'So You Think You Can Dance': Overdosing on 'Hairspray'". New York Magazine. July 13, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c Newman, Melinda. "Hit Disney Acts Find No Love at Top 40". Associated Press. July 18, 2007.
  6. ^ "Available for Airplay - 2007 - 7/10 Mainstream". FMQB.
  7. ^ Bercovici, Jeff. "Hilary Duff Settles Score — In Song!". Radar. March 7, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  8. ^ Greene, Andy. "Hilary Duff - Dignity". Rolling Stone. April 2, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c Gardner, Elysa. "The focus is on Hilary". USA Today. April 2, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2007.
  10. ^ "Hilary Duff: All Grown Up & Coming Clean". Access Hollywood. May 18, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  11. ^ "Chart Blog - Hilary Duff - 'Stranger'". BBC Radio 1. June 30, 2007. Retrieved July 14, 2007.
  12. ^ "Hilary Duff - Stranger". Music Focus. July 4, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  13. ^ Lancaster, Gary. "Review - Hilary Duff". TeenSpot.com. July 19, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
  14. ^ Taylor, Chuck. "Stranger - Hilary Duff". Billboard. 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
  15. ^ "OH YEAH... 209 SONGS WE LIKE - Dangerously In Love". Blender. December 25, 2007.
  16. ^ a b "Hilary Duff - Artist Chart History - Singles". Billboard.
  17. ^ a b "Hilary Duff - Stranger". aCharts.us.
  18. ^ "Hilary Duff - Billboard Singles". Allmusic and Billboard.
  19. ^ "Hot Dance Club Play Tracks - Stranger". Billboard. December 31, 2007.
  20. ^ "MuchDance 2008". MuchMusic.
  21. ^ a b "WAWA v Hilary Duff 'Stranger'". Teen First. August 22, 2007.
  22. ^ "Hilary Duff 'Stranger'". FemaleFirst.co.uk. May 24, 2007. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  23. ^ M, Fraser. "Chart Blog - The Etiquette Of Remixes". BBC Radio 1. July 9, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
  24. ^ "CHART LOG UK: NEW ENTRIES UPDATE". zobbel.de. September 1, 2007.
  25. ^ "hit list; most-added songs on radio". Herald Sun. TVGUIDE, pg. 10.
  26. ^ "Chartifacts". Australian Recording Industry Association. November 13, 2007.
  27. ^ "Top 50 Singles Chart". Australian Recording Industry Association. January 6, 2008.
  28. ^ a b c "Hilary Duff blog entry - May 12th". hilarynews.com; original post on hilaryduff.com only available to members of her official fan club. May 12, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  29. ^ "Video premieres". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
  30. ^ a b "Blender Blog - Hilary Duff Tries to Belly Dance". Blender. Retrieved June 26, 2007.
  31. ^ "Duff in the buff for new song". The Sun. August 3, 2007.
  32. ^ Stranger (Spanish CD maxi single liner notes). Hilary Duff. Hollywood Records. 2007. 50999 5 01376 2 6. 
  33. ^ "Hilary Duff Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Hilary Duff. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  34. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Hilary Duff – Stranger". Top Digital Download. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  35. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Hilary Duff – Stranger" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  36. ^ "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update". The Official Charts Company. Zobbel. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Hilary Duff Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Hilary Duff. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  38. ^ "Hilary Duff Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Hilary Duff. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  39. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Hilary Duff – Stranger". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  40. ^ http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B002B2WB3E
  41. ^ http://amazon.de/gp/product/B002B2R3AA
  42. ^ http://amazon.it/gp/product/B008QGUC44
  43. ^ http://amazon.es/gp/product/B008QAW3WY
  44. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20070817203726/http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=69239
  45. ^ http://amazon.fr/gp/product/B0025N7TYA
  46. ^ http://amazon.de/gp/product/B0025U89KG
  47. ^ http://amazon.it/gp/product/B008QLFW8A
  48. ^ http://amazon.es/gp/product/B008QE7O2E
  49. ^ http://amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0022Y81AI
  50. ^ http://amazon.co.uk/Stranger/dp/B002B7B4TQ

External links[edit]