Should Have Been Bigger: Hilary Duff’s “Stranger”
In this franchise, we look back on songs that deserved a little more love and attention.
In 2007, Hilary Duff was pop royalty. With the release of her third LP Dignity, the former Disney actress went through a metamorphosis to shed the pristine image of her youth for something more evolved. Debuting a darker hair color (the defining symbol of maturity amongst pop starlets) and embracing her sexuality, she emerged with a newfound sense of confidence. Co-writing every track on the album, the “Come Clean” hitmaker was finally calling the shots. On no track is that more evident than the project’s third single “Stranger,” which featured a barbed message for a cheating lover.
“There’s no kindness in your eyes, the way you look at me, it’s just not right, I can tell what’s going on this time, there’s a stranger in my life,” she furiously declares over a driving beat. Eastern-inspired instrumentation set the track apart and provided an alluring and danceable sound that was destined for big things. In the accompanying music video, she disguised herself in some sexy costumes and followed her partner to confirm his infidelity. After getting her revenge and performing some seductive choreography, Duff left him in the dust.
The track’s frenzied beat made it an obvious hit in the clubs, earning it the top spot on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart. However, despite overwhelming fan support, the track fizzled on the Billboard Hot 100 and fell off the chart within a week. Without any additional promotion from the pop star, its spark faded out. As the “All About You” songstress has shifted her focus away from music since 2015’s Breathe In. Breathe Out., “Stranger” remains both one of her most underrated releases and a reminder of her time as pop’s mature teen queen. Revisit the icon’s seductive bop below.