Play with Fire (Hilary Duff song)

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"Play with Fire"
Hilary Duff Play with Fire.png
Single by Hilary Duff
from the album Dignity
Released August 21, 2006 (2006-08-21)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2006
Length 3:02
Label Hollywood
Producer(s) Rhett Lawrence
Hilary Duff singles chronology
"Play with Fire"
"With Love"

"Play with Fire" is a song recorded by American singer Hilary Duff for her fourth studio album, Dignity (2007). It was written by Duff, Kara DioGuardi, Rhett Lawrence and and produced by Lawrence. The song was sent to mainstream radio in the United States on August 21, 2006, as the lead single from Dignity.


"Play with Fire" is an electropop and a techno song.[1][2]

"Play with Fire" was formerly called "Happy"[2] but the song's lyrics and instrumentals were changed, and "Happy" became a separate track on Dignity. The song is played during the first club scene in the 2006 film Material Girls, in which Duff stars.

According to Duff, "Play with Fire" and the other songs on the album are "more dancey" than her previous efforts and make use of more real instruments. "[I]t's fun and funky and different, something new for me. It's really cool", she said.[3] She also described the album's sound as "a little less pop-rock and more electronic-sounding. It has a lot of dance melodies."[4] The "teaser" release of the single in advance of the album was, as she put it, "to give listeners a chance to get into my new sound, which matches the whole dance/electronic rock sounding vibe."[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard magazine's Chuck Taylor described the song as being "less of the clichéd little-girl-playing-tough-pop/rocker than it is a truly intriguing exploration into darker, more experimental melodic structures that could attract a whole new crowd of late-night dancefloor minions to the Duff camp."[6] Allison Stewart, in a negative review of Dignity for The Washington Post, wrote that the song "boasts what may be the best kiss-off in months ("I don't have time for this, I'm off to play in Houston"), even if most of Duff's tween audience can't exactly claim it for everyday use."[7] Dave de Sylvia of Sputnikmusic also gave a negative review deeming the song as "awful".[8] David Sanford of gave the Richard Vission remix of the song a positive review, commenting the song is "perfect for those DJs who just can't admit to playing a Hilary Duff record."[9] Richard Vission created remixes of the song, and Billboard called the Richard Vission radio edit "a true work of art, refashioning Duff as a potential innovator — and heaven knows there are precious few of those these days ... It will be fascinating to see if this is an enchanting fluke, or if America is destined to at last see the arrival of its own Kylie."[6]

Music video[edit]

The "Play with Fire" music video was directed by Alex and Martin and filmed in Toronto, Canada in July 2006.[2] Alex and Martin have described the video as "real and surreal" and compared its visual effects to an amusement park house of mirrors. The directors said that they designed the video so that each frame is vital, writing "[f]or example, we could see a glass reflection close-up of Hilary vibrate and explode which then transitions to a completely different image behind her, then disintegrates into a new performing shot."[2] The video was inspired by the 1948 Orson Welles film noir The Lady from Shanghai, and Duff said that "[i]t's definitely different from what anyone had seen before".[10] According to Duff, the music video for the song was filmed before the song's completion because she wanted it to be the album's first single. On the night following the rehearsals and wardrobe fittings for the video, Duff returned to the studio and finished recording the song three hours later, before a thunderstorm knocked out some of the equipment. Producer Rhett Lawrence submitted the song to the makers of the video the next morning, less than three hours before shooting was due to begin. Duff said that the situation "kind of worked out perfectly".[11]

The music video premiered on August 15, 2006 on MTV's Total Request Live in the United States. It reached number five on the Total Request Live top ten video countdown and remained on the show for nineteen days, until September 14.[12] In Australia, the video premiered during the week of April 23, 2007. For the video, Alex and Martin were nominated for Best Direction of a Female Artist at the MVPA Awards, losing to Floria Sigismondi and Christina Aguilera for the video for Aguilera's "Hurt".[13] Jane magazine described the "trippy visuals" in the video as being "a million miles away from the rainy, suburban comfort and adolescent longing of the clip for [Duff's] 'Come Clean'". The magazine also noted Duff's "sexy silver dress" in the video, writing that "she seems to be announcing a new grown-up woman, one who is diving headfirst into her 20s with a mission to distance herself from her bubblegum past." Duff said, "I haven't really done the super-sexed thing. That's not really me. There's a different way, a cooler way to go about it."[14]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download — Richard Vission Remix
  1. "Play with Fire" (Richard Vission Remix / Radio Edit) — 3:12

Credits and personnel[edit]



Chart (2006) Peak
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[16] 31

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
United States[2] August 21, 2006 Mainstream radio Hollywood
Canada[17] May 15, 2007 Digital download (Richard Vission Remix) EMI
United States[18] Hollywood


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On Hilary Duff, 'American Idol,' Kate Hudson, Travis Barker, Shanna Moakler & More". MTV News. August 14, 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2006.
  4. ^ "New Duff album to debut this fall". United Press International. August 20, 2006. Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  5. ^ Widran, Jonathan. "Hilary Duff Talks About The Making Of Her New Album Dignity, And Her Songwriting". SingerUniverse Magazine. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Taylor, Chuck. "Play With Fire" Single Review. Billboard. November 21, 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2007.
  7. ^ Stewart, Allison. "Avril Lavigne and Hilary Duff: You Growl, Girls". The Washington Post. April 15, 2007, pg. N08. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  8. ^ Sylvia, Dave de. "Hilary Duff – Dignity". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  9. ^ Sanford, David. "Hilary Duff — Play With Fire (Remix)". Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  10. ^ Martin, Gloria. "Big-Hearted Hilary Duff Proves as Generous as She Is Talented". Hello! Canada. September 7, 2006, iss. 1.
  11. ^ Untitled [episode of Total Request Live]. August 15, 2006. United States: MTV.
  12. ^ "The TRL Archive - August 2006". Retrieved December 18, 2006.; "The TRL Archive - September 2006". Retrieved December 18, 2006.
  13. ^ "Best Direction of a Female Artist". MVPA. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  14. ^ Lyon, Joshua. "The baddest good girl". Jane. December 2006–January 2007, pg. 88–92.
  15. ^ Duff, Hilary (2007). Dignity (Liner Notes) (Compact Disc). Hilary Duff. Hollywood Records. 
  16. ^ "Hilary Duff – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Hilary Duff. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]