Story by Abigale Racine
Many 90’s kids were divided by this single question commonly exchanged on the playground swing sets: are you Team Avril or Team Hilary?
Divisions and alliances were formed. Sk8er Boi ties and Kohl’s Lizzie McGuire clothing line was donned to school to prove your devotion to your favorite teen idol. These were dark times back in 2004. “Why did you have to go and make it so complicated?”
Although my third grade self was emotionally-torn, you can guess which side I eventually chose after great debate and internal struggle.
Famous for playing the starring role in the popular Disney channel series Lizzie McGuire from 2001-2004, Duff certainly has grown and paved the way for other Disney pop princesses to embrace their musical talents and spawn careers. Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and Demi Lovato owe it all to Duff.
Lizzie McGuire is all grown-up and Duff is arguably the best transitioned Disney child star. Or, at least, the one who has transitioned into becoming an adult sex symbol with the least amount of slut-shaming.
Now, after a eight year long musical hiatus, Hilary Duff has emerged onto the scene with a new album Breathe In. Breathe Out.
Now divorced from Canadian NHL player Mike Comrie after four years of marriage and operating as a single mother, Duff also acts on the new TV Land show Younger. Also, Duff released a book series during her music hiatus and it topped the New York Times bestselling book list.
To answer the question we’ve all been wondering- is Breathe In. Breathe Out the album “What Dreams are Made Of”? Hardly. To me, this album is about as enjoyable as a microwave dinner; there’s some sort of enjoyable guilt in the experience, but, overall, you know it’s bad for your health.
The first single released “Sparks” is, without a doubt, the catchiest, whistle-worthy track on the record. The music video is bold and colorful too, with Duff rocking her aquamarine-colored mermaid waves.
She addresses her target audience and acknowledges her new-found single status singing, “You can promise castles, babies, treasures, I don’t care/Cause you’re enough me for me, I want you near. Like a fairytale to feel your breath right on my neck/You remember what I love, so baby take me back/Turn the lights down low and kiss me in the dark/Cause when you’re touching me, baby I see sparks.”
Maybe my expectations are set too high, but I was anticipating more maturity from the 28 year old musician. Or, perhaps, I’m not a third grader anymore and I am over hearing relationships being compared to the Fourth of July in songs and I crave more intelligent lyrics.
“Confetti” is another “fantastic” metaphor to Independence Day parades. Duff sings, “If I fall, you better catch me/You’re turning me in to confetti.”
Ugh, I honestly rolled my eyes when I first heard the chorus, and it hasn’t grown on me at all after multiple listens. I also couldn’t help but wonder, is Ethan Craft the inspiration for these nonsensical lyrics? Or is it Gordo?
The album track “Breathe In. Breathe Out” is Duff’s divorce anthem, and as much as I hate to confess this, even Taylor Swift can craft a smarter breakup song. The line “I remember being high on your caffeine” is cringe-worthy.
I expected much better from a New York Times bestselling author is all- made me glad I had skipped out on reading the series.
The “Night Like This”, featuring Kendall Lewis is a fun, smooth pop song and redeems the album somewhat. Overall it’s original and nothing special- just like this album.
Don’t give up on Duff completely though. You bet your sweet niblets I’ve tuned into her new TV series, and it’s much more tolerable than this album. Please, Hilary, stick to acting, and please, readers, just listen to the “Sparks” single and spare yourself from listening to much of Breathe In. Breathe Out.
Abigale Racine is a senior at studying English with a focus in journalism. She is the Culture Editor of The Saint and does some freelance work on the side when she isn’t slaving away, making Frappuccino’s for a living.