Hilary Duff taught my younger self many life lessons. And although I’ve since learned charming Chad Michael Murray via email is probably not going to happen, Hilary has always remained a role model of mine. Her relatable characters, whether it be her evil step-mother’s house or the halls of a middle school, always remained true to themselves.
That’s what hooked me on Hilary when I was that awkward girl with arguably too many butterfly clips in my hair. And it’s that same message that has me obsessing over her latest album, Breathe In. Breathe Out. Hilary Duff has grown into a strong, accomplished woman, and that’s only emphasized in the new tracks. After an 8-year hiatus from her musical career, Hilary’s 5th record is a girl-power, pop music dream.
Although the album comes after Hilary’s recent divorce from hockey player Mike Comrie, the primary relationship focused on is the one she’s built with herself. Hilary addresses the breakup in an empowering way, taking ownership of it as a conscious choice in doing what was best for her. She shows the pain and frustration of a relationship ending while claiming her independence and self-worth in tracks like One in a Million, Lies, and Stay in Love.
This independence oozes through the whole album, particularly in Brave Heart, one of my personal favorites. In typical Hilary fashion, the song focuses on taking control of your own life, making decisions that are best for you and believing in yourself. It will no doubt be an anthem to many of us as we make those scary life choices that inevitably come with growing up.
Though it’s a pop album through-and-through, Breathe In. Breathe Out. seems to have a little something for everybody. The album includes dance-pop songs like Sparks, as well as electronic ones like Arms Around a Memory. There’s also the folk fan favorite, Tattoo, written by Ed Sheeran. The video of Hilary performing an acoustic version of the song in her backyard shows off how the singer’s voice has matured since her Come Clean days.
All these years later, Hilary Duff remains someone I’m proud to have as a role model. Breathe In. Breathe Out. proves Hilary to be a serious contender on the pop-music scene. Her album leaves you feeling fearlesss, and that’s the best kind of feeling.