When Hilary Duff announced her return to the music world, it left half of us excited and the rest of us cringing. Fresh from her hiatus since 2007’s Dignity, Duff bounced back with her mediocre attempt Chasing the Sun. Less than a month later, Duff has already released a second single and it’s miles better than the first. Drawing influences from folk and country, Duff’s All About You is bound to get everyone talking about her upcoming album, which is scheduled for later this year.
As she sings first line, “you could be my dirty secret”, it’s clear that Duff has embarked on a flirtier approach with her music. Lizzie McGuire no more – Duff shred her affiliation with Disney long ago, and she’s now a sultry pop star who’s ready to wow with a new sound. The track kicks off with a light and sunny banjo tune, accompanied with hand claps and echoey hooks. It’s as though Duff is going for a second take on a summer anthem, after the hit-and-miss of her first attempt. What differs All About You from Chasing the Sun is that it’s got everything a pop hit needs – addictive hooks, cheeky lyrics and most importantly, an upbeat jam. This time around, Duff has incorporated all three factors and it’s made up for a much stronger track in what should’ve been the first single.
Noughties fans won’t be disappointed with Duff’s vocals, either. Those who grew up watching her on television will instantly recognise her distinctive, sugary vocals. Duff has come a long way since her teen sound, and granted, her voice has matured and powered with age. But her unique selling point may be the fact that she still sounds somewhat childish – her vocals still break at certain notes, and her range can’t stretch all that high or even low, for that matter. That isn’t her downfall, though. Rather, it enhances the flirty and cheeky vibe of the track, and propels you back to the nostalgic days of So Yesterday and Why Not. It’s got a sing-along chorus that’s both liberating and carefree, and the banjo’s folk-pop vibe places Duff’s musicality next to the likes of Taylor Swift and Jewel. She pulls off this bubbly and addictive track that’s just bursting with personality. Just before the final chorus, the crowd yells “think you’re all about me, but I’m all about you!” – bringing the house down with Duff’s triumphant return.
There’s no doubt that Duff is going for a feel-good atmosphere, and she’s achieved just that. There’s nothing more enjoyable than hearing an artist having fun with their own music, and this comes across in her cheeky and sparkling delivery. It’s a foot-stomping, summer lovin’ track that’s a prelude to what will surely be a fun and exciting album.