One of the most anticipated (and surprising) pop albums of 2015 has finally arrived. Her first album in eight years since 2007’s Dignity, Hilary Duff smartly teams up with a legendary roster of modern-day pop producers and songwriters (e.g. Matthew Koma, Ed Sheeran, Tove Lo, Bloodshy, Avant…need I say more?) for her comeback.
Although not the album she initially planned (which opted for a more folk pop sound, preceded by singles “Chasing the Sun” and “All About You”), Duff knows how to make an entrance by embracing the EDM craze while staying true to her pop roots.
She opens the album with her lead single, “Sparks,” a bubblegum pop song with a killer whistle in the chorus that will have you singing along to it for years to come. The lyrics are simple and relevant to her target audience. It’s a feel good song stuffed with sugary pop goodness. Undeniably the best choice for a lead single.
The next song, “My Kind,” is my favourite on the album. A great way to keep the listener intrigued after a hard-hitting and fun dance-pop opener. The chorus here is also just as addictive and makes you feel like you’re having a late night out in Ibiza.
A notable quality about all the songs on the album is that her tone is perfect for today’s pop scene. The production is consistent. It’s perfect for the radio. The title track, “Breathe In. Breathe Out” sounds like it could even belong on Taylor Swift’s highly successful 1989.
Through repetition, easily digestible lyrics, catchy choruses, clean, modern productions and delicious melodies, Duff’s songwriters and producers know how to navigate their way in today’s pop scene and create a truly great pop record for a revived pop star. It’s uncertain how much say Duff had in Breathe In. Breathe Out.’s creative and musical direction.
She tries pulling on your heartstrings with “Tattoo,” a folk pop song that draws you in immediately with acoustic guitar riffs and an infectious chorus that draws inspiration from country music. Again, with the last song, featuring Kendall Schmidt, she embraces the huge crossover between country, folk and pop this year, with pop and country stars drawing influence from both genres.
It is everything you could ask for from a pop album in 2015. Whether or not it can compete with 1989 and Carly Rae Jepsen’s upcoming LP, we’ll have to see how RCA markets her. 9/10
One in a Million
Breathe In. Breathe Out.
Arms Around a Memory
Stay in Love
Night Like This (ft. Kendall Schmidt)
Belong (deluxe edition)
Rebel Hearts (deluxe edition)
Watch Hilary Duff’s video for “Sparks’ below!
Sony Music Entertainment Canada released Breathe In. Breathe Out on June 16, 2015