I caught up with Hilary Duff for a lengthy conversation about her 2003 album Metamorphosis — which turns 10 today — but I couldn’t resist firing a few questions about her return to pop, for which the singer-songwriter has been gearing up.
In fairness, it’s still early days — she’s just begun recording again — and there wasn’t much solid info that she could reveal, but here’s what she could say:
Expect dance. “I’m super into EDM,” she says. “I have a big long list of people I want to work with and a pretty clear direction or where I want to go.” Given that Duff’s Dignity was a pioneering effort in the late-00s dance boom, that predicted the movement away from urban-pop into a house-inflected radio sound, it’s already established that she does it better than the rest.
As ever, lyrics are key. “My music has always been very lyrically driven,” she says. “I care so much about that. So that’s my only thing. There are so many artists that I love but I’m like, ‘I can’t connect to that, so I don’t really know what it means.’ It’s too abstract for me to follow. I can still sing along and love it, but I’m not totally stuck on it, because I’m really attracted to lyrics. I want to keep that in the back of my mind.”
This is good to hear: Frankly, has anyone ever topped “You always dress in yellow, but you wanna dress in gold”? (No, but seriously, “Where’s your dignity / I think you left it in the Hollywood Hills” is one of the most withering pop lyrics of the decade.)
Don’t expect her earlier studio sessions to make the cut. Last summer, fans were excited to learn that Duff was back in the studio with a few collaborators — Martin Johnson (Avril Lavigne, Victoria Justice), Matt Squire (Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato) and Ali Tamposi (Kelly Clarkson, Ciara) among them — but she says she’s taking a new direction. “That was over a year back when I was just not talking about it, but wanting to flex my muscles again in the studio,” she explains. “That sound isn’t really where I want to go.”
It might kinda sound like “Come Clean,” though. When reminiscing about her beloved 2003 single “Come Clean,” she said it’s one of the touchstones that she’s been returning to as she hits the studio again. “With ‘Come Clean,’ even now as I start to make music again,” she says, “it’s something that I’ll take and say, ‘Like this, but let’s make it more current.’ It’s such a great song.”