Hilary Duff: A Treatise

I’m going to admit something that probably won’t shock you if you read this blog often enough.

I’ve been listening to Hilary Duff. A lot.

Her new album, Dignity, comes in the wake of her break-up with Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden. They were always sort an odd pairing from the beginning, in my opinion: squeaky-clean Hilary and tatooed punk-rapper Joel? I’m not seeing it. But according to Seventeen magazine, they were very cute and very in love.

Not anymore. The first song on the album, the sitar-influenced “Stranger,” claims: “Nobody believes me when I tell them that you’re out of your mind / Nobody believes me when I tell them you’ve got so much to hide.” Duff goes on to explain that she knew the relationship was over when the way he looked at her changed. From Duff’s view, the subject of the song was affectionate and caring in public, but distant and reluctant in private. “I can see what’s going on this time / There’s a stranger in my life.”

The first few tracks on the album are great. After “Stranger,” we get the title track, which is a big-fat diss to Joel’s new gf (who’s got the preggers?!) Nicole Richie. After insisting that all this girl can do is pay for things, Duff complains, “You’d show up to the opening of an envelope / Why does everybody care about where you go?” before launching into this paparazzi-laden indictment:

It’s not news when you get him in bed
It’s not news when somebody slaps you
It’s not news when you’re looking your best
C’mon…give it a rest

Duff goes on to describe how she’s ready to hear the hard things (as long as they’re spoken “With Love”) and, moving on, she asks a poetential suitor: “Were you born in ’74? / Are you the kind of guy that I should ignore?” because he’s “Danger”ous. I’m just glad I was born after ’74, or I might be offended by this.

The rest of the album is mixed….some really lame tracks (like the misstep “Gypsy Woman”—when Hilary says “she can swallow knives,” are we to take this as a veiled fellatio reference?), but it ends on a high note.

I used to hate Hilary Duff, although once I accidentially watched an episode of Lizzie McGuire and I kind of liked it. I like Dark Hilary better than Light Hilary. And although her lyrics are still somewhat insipid, her music has a more mature sound to it that is fun to dance to (in the bar or in the shower) and even more fun to sing in the car.

So if you see me tooling around Phoenix in my little Scion and my lips are moving, don’t worry. I’m not crazy. I’m not talking to myself. I’m singing along with Hilary.

(For more insight into this break-up, see also my posts on Good Charlotte’s break-up album Good Morning Revival

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