Hilary Duff Creates Pure-Pop Fan Favorite With 'Breathe In. Breathe Out.'
'Breathe In. Breathe Out.' marks the return to the music scene for Hilary Duff, who has been notably absent since 2007’s 'Dignity' (or the underrated 2009 soundtrack single "Any Other Day”).
There have been rumblings of new Hilary Duff music since 2011 but it wasn’t until summer 2014 when breezy, folk-pop promo singles “Chasing The Sun” and “All About You” were released and whilst both enticed the audience with excitement, all notes of an album disappeared and Duff focused her aims on her fabulous TV show Younger. “Sparks” dropped soon afterwards and with its effortless and well-constructed production (from one half of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and “Piece of Me”), you will find yourself whistling along with the chorus repeatedly. This leads us into “Breathe In. Breathe Out.” very nicely.
The synth pop sound is one Duff is notably comfortable with and that proves evident throughout the first nine tracks of “Breathe In. Breathe Out.” with tracks like “My Kind” which is a pure stomper of a track, “Arms Around A Memory” where Duff is literally belting the word ‘Memory’ over a big dance beat, or “Lies”, a song that Duff wants to confront a lying lover and yet sonically it seems to be a relative of Selena Gomez’ “Come and Get It”.
Then there’s “Confetti” where she layers the ever-so-campy “Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle into her middle eight. As far as intertextuality goes. That is top notch pop. The synth pop sound is nothing new for Duff however as 2007’s underrated gem “Dignity” is a pure example of that with each song booming over bombastic beats and slick productions.
It’s no surprise that Duff credits Robyn (and generally Swedish pop music) as her inspirations as she hit the studios with singer-songwriter Tove Lo and together they created the album highlight “One in a Million”, a number that screams Max Martin or the delightful “Stay In Love” that feels like a mash-up of sounds from Hilary Duff’s sophomore record “Hilary Duff” mixed with “Dignity”. There doesn’t seem a moment on the record where Duff feels out of her league. The title track stands out as a low key number with dream pop influences and a middle eight that is very Imogen Heap.
As we reach track ten on the record, the album changes pace and we introduce the folk-pop sound that Duff alluded with former promo singles “All About You” and “Chasing The Sun” with an Ed Sheeran written song “Tattoo” that is guitar driven and Duff leads a top notch vocal delivery over the top of it. It’s a great number and a surprise contender for as a lead single.
The next surprise comes in the form of the album’s only duet “Night Like This”, a duet with Big Time Rush’s Kendall Schmidt (or Heffron Drive as he is now with). The song is a conversational, folk-pop number with a Joni Mitchell meets that Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen duet “Good Times” vibe about it. It’s a surprising number and ends the standard edition of the record on a high. A further note needs to be added to bonus track “Belong”, as it’s a pure stomper and will make you want to grab the person next to you and start swirling round and round, as if you were at a hoe-down.
“Breathe In. Breathe Out.” is a pure pop record with elements of folk-pop lingering throughout the later part and it succeeds with it’s aim. It’s a carefree record with elements of heartbreak lingering throughout but Duff seems to have taken notes from her previous works and created a new work from them rather than creating something completely new and that is a great triumphant and a very welcome return.
To find out more about Hilary Duff click here.
To visit the Hilary Duff Facebook page click here.
Words by Daniel Sado, video posted by Avery LatinoAmérica