Let’s Talk: Hilary Duff’s new single, “Chasing the Sun.”

It’s been 7 years since Hilary Duff’s last album, Dignity, was released topping the charts at #3 in the US. It’s also been over ten years since she starred in the beloved Disney sitcom, Lizzie McGuire.

Do you feel as old as I do right now?

But Duff is back, which took me by surprise because I honestly thought we’d never see her again — at least musically. Since she’s more popularly known for being an actress first, I thought she’d make her comeback in a movie or on a television show. Though to be fair, she has been in a few tv shows here and there — like on Two and a Half Men

Never mind

So it was a surprise to hear she had signed a recording contract just a few short months ago and is now back in the spotlight with her comeback single, “Chasing the Sun.”

If you think it sounds like a Colbie Caillat knock-off, you’re absolutely correct because that’s exactly who co-wrote it. Clocking in at only 2:50, it’s an easy, breezy, sweet summer song, perfect to play on your roadtrips to the beach. While it’ll fit right in with the easy-listening adult contemporary market, playing alongside Sheryl Crow’s “Soak Up the Sun,” Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” or Caillat’s “Bubbly,” it’s not as catchy as those summer anthems, which may be half the song’s fault and the rest of 2014’s fault, which has failed to deliver any pop song that I would classify as a summer anthem (i.e. not boring).

But at least it’s better than “What Dreams Are Made Of”

“Chasing the Sun” does well as a standalone song. It’s laid-back lyrics perfectly match the chilled-out guitar and melody. The problem is that it sounds more like an album song, and not a comeback single. We certainly see Duff returning to her roots, since the single would feel right at home on her debut Metamorphosis album or even her self-titled one. But it’s less in-your-face and less punchy than anything she put on Dignity.

Less belly-dancer-ish too.

On top of that, it’s clear that Duff’s vocals haven’t improved much either. She’s never had a great vocal range and to me, her voice has always sounded a little flat and lacking confidence in a lot of her songs. With “Chasing the Sun,” her vocals still feel a little timid and insecure, which I would overlook if the song were catchy enough.

That’s right, I said it. I don’t think she’s a great singer.

Duff and her team made a good decision in where to go with her image — do they reinvent her to completely make us forget Lizzie McGuire ever existed ala Miley Cyrus

Or do they remind people of what we liked about her in the first place?

And that’s exactly what “Chasing the Sun” does. It’s wholesome and completely brings us the nostalgia of what we liked about HIlary Duff in the first place. Hell, even the video gives Lizzie McGuire Goes To Work tease.

I was totally waiting for her cartoon alter ego to make a cameo.

It’s not a bad strategy, albeit a safe one, and one that doesn’t automatically make you think that Duff is relevant in the current pop landscape. Your mom will love her, but your sixteen-year-old sister could probably care less about her next to edgier acts like Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande. She’s still vanilla.

But at least not trying to be what all the cool kids are doing nowadays.

Of course, Duff hasn’t ever really been one to push the envelope or really hit the top of the charts in the first place. Her highest charting single in the US was “Wake Up” at #29 and I bet only real Duffster fans know the song. “Chasing the Sun” won’t unseat “Rude” or anything, but it’s at least something different. It’s simplicity, something that a lot of pop songs nowadays lack, and that’s certainly not a bad thing, especially in the summer. And I’m glad that it’s at least Hilary Duff who could remind us of that.

And let’s also not forget how good she looks after all these years. She looks great throughout the video, though in some shots on the beach, she looks like she’s had work done on her face, but it might be just the lighting or makeup. But she looks fit and trim, even though her lower stomach is either out-of-frame, covered or too far from the camera, so I’m guessing C-section scar. The single cover though looks heavily photoshopped.

She doesn’t even really look like the same person. Oh well, at least her facial expression in it is better than this one.

That’s the awkward smile I give in yearbook photos. Hey, remember that episode when Kate Saunders sneezed in hers?

That’s the one.

 

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