After eights years of being in a drought for lack of new Hilary Duff music after her 4th studio album, Dignity, the wait is finally over. Duff’s new album Breathe In. Breathe Out is in stores and on iTunes today (June 16), and we aren’t the least bit disappointed. If anything, Duff has proved herself worthy of being the pop princess that she always has been. There isn’t a song on Breathe In. Breathe Out that we don’t want to dance to. It’s fun, catchy and filled with many complexities of pain and vulnerabilities.
The album picks up right where Dignity left off, but more mature with her strong vocals and sometimes gut wrenching lyrics. It kicks off with the lead single, ‘Sparks.’ A song that gave us a taste of what to expect from the long awaited new album, and it wasn’t a disappointment. If anything, it made us more excited to hear the rest of the album. After the catchy lead single comes another single-worthy track called, ‘My Kind.’ It is easily one of the best tracks on the album. The song has a dance/pop vibe to it and showcases the maturity in Duff’s vocals.
‘One In a Million’ is another single-worthy track as it showcases a light EDM vibe. The follow up track, ‘Confetti’ displays Duff’s maturity as she wears her heart on her sleeve throughout the song.
Duff has made a smooth transition from fun dance tunes, to songs about love lost, lies and heartbreak. The more honest of songs start with the title track, ‘Breathe In. Breathe Out.’ The song takes place at the tail end of a relationship. It reflects on the heartbreak that is still very much real. It displays a sense of bitterness with lyrics like, ‘I made a top ten list / of all the things I miss / your lying eyes and lips / they didn’t make it.’ But the song doesn’t end there. It still leaves with some optimism that drowning in tears isn’t the only way to get through it. ‘And when I’m cold at night / I know that I’ll survive / until I feel alright / I’m gonna fake it / breathe in / breathe out.’
It’s hard to pick one ore two single-worthy tracks on the album because every song is just that, a potential single. The best song on the album is ‘Lies,’ a sassy anthem of proving that you’re aright without the lies of your significant other. It’s a song that makes one reminiscent of ‘Dignity,’ but also hails from a more mature state. ‘Stay In Love’ sounds like a Britney Spears inspired song with the strong hooks, and beat. It’s also a song filled with sass as she belts out lyrics like, ‘Remember when I said I’d die for you / every single day / pretend it’s true.’
Duff has plenty of heartbreak on this album. But soon the albums turns into a prism of optimism. She has songs where she sings about letting go and relying on the one thing she has left, which is her ‘brave heart.’ The album’s closer ‘Night Like This’, featuring Heffron Drive’s, Kendal Schmidt is a lighthearted song, but is weak compared to the rest. Luckily, the bonus tracks make up for it. ‘Belong’ is a track about fitting in right where you belong, and has a nice folk/pop sound to it that could easily transition to Duff’s next album. Another folk/pop friendly track is ‘Rebel Hearts.’ It has a chorus that sounds oddly familiar, but we aren’t complaining. It ends the album on a high note, and leaves us wanting more.
Buy ‘Breathe In. Breathe Out.’ on iTunes
Highlights: ‘My Kind,’ ‘Breathe In. Breathe Out,’ ‘Lies,’ ‘Brave Heart,’ ‘Rebel Hearts’
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Kara Johnson is a writer for Examiner and other social media websites. You can keep up to date with her on Twitter @AlotLikeKara