Wrapping my head around the fact that Hilary Duff actually made her comeback this week has been surprisingly difficult to do. It’s slightly surreal, like some artist from another time and era that you never really expected to see again suddenly showed up out of the blue and started slaying like they never left. I mean, this is Hilary Duff we’re talking about here — the same woman that’s solely responsible for the very existence of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and the Jonas Brothers. Her return to pop music after a lengthy self-imposed exile is basically the same as Michael Jackson rising from the dead and dropping a follow-up to Thriller.
Unfortunately, at a time when we should all be celebrating the return of a cultural icon, I’ve witnessed a lot of HATE directed towards Hilegend. There’s been unfounded complaints about her not doing dance music, releasing a ‘boring’ song (not my words), and maintaining a squeaky clean image instead of Miley-fying herself.
Am I the only one with any taste? With any brains? With any dignity? I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Actually, yes I will.
Here are the top six reasons why “Chasing The Sun” is the perfect comeback single for Hilary Duff.
6. It’s not a love song or a party song
Contrary to what people who read Popjustice probably believe, the best thing about Dignity wasn’t Hilary ditching tween-rock for dance-pop — it was the subject matter of the songs that really made the album a minor pop classic. While 95% of commercial female pop stars are only allowed to sing about the same three things –love, sex, and partying–, Hilary dug deep and wrote about all kinds of stuff. There’s an ode to self-improvement (“No Work, All Play”), a diss to her superficial contemporaries (“Dignity”), a cautionary tale about homewreckers (“Gypsy Woman”), and even a song about stalkers (“Dreamer”).
Lyrically, “Chasing The Sun” recalls “No Work All Play” Hilary, with a splash of Metamorphosis thrown in for good measure. It takes an often mawkish subject like achieving your dreams and seizing the moment, and phrases it in a way that’s fresh and endearingly sweet. It’s positive, without sounding like a lame Facebook affirmation. And as Lorde once famously said in a song that I don’t even particulary like that much: “I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air.”
5. It’s adult-contemporary for teens
Some pressed hater over at Vulture (probably a LiLoser stan) wrote in their “Chasing The Sun” ‘review’ that the song sounds like “Paris Hilton doing Sheryl Crow karaoke,” as if that’s supposed to be a bad thing.
Um, HELLO — that’s what makes “Chasing The Sun” so fucking amazing. It does sound like Sheryl, or Colbie Caillat (who co-wrote it, in case you couldn’t already tell), but with the early-2000s polish of Metamorphosis era Matrix pop. It reflects the new grown up Hilary Duff, but with a nod back to her early days.
Everyone is selling nostalgia these days, but nobody has done it as subtly and effortlessly as Hilary has with “Chasing The Sun.”
4. It’s sweet
This isn’t shade to Miley Cyrus because I’m probably the biggest Bangerz fan over 25 that there is, but isn’t it good to hear something that’s just nice for once? There’s a sweetness and purity to “Chasing The Sun” that’s so hard to find these days, especially among Hilary’s current contemporaries.
Why do you think Pharrell’s “Happy” was such a big hit? Sure, being fun and catchy certainly helped it, but people love it because it’s just a nice fucking song that makes us all feel good.
3. It repositions Hilary Duff as pop’s good girl
Despite being an irresponsible crackhead, Lindsay Lohan is still pretty cool. So is Rihanna. So is Lana Del Rey. So is Miley (kind of). Hilary Duff is not cool. She’s not a corny try-hard like Katy Perry, but she’s not cool. She’s the pretty girl next door that you’d love to marry or be best friends with, but you’re probably not going to take her out to the club unless you only plan on having two drinks and being home by 1.
But pop needs a Hilary Duff, someone to represent the few genuinely nice people that still exist in this world. She’s well-behaved and down to earth, and possesses an aspirational relatability that makes her the perfect role model for EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THE ENTIRE PLANET. “Chasing The Sun” embodies this, and puts Hilary right back in the same good girl role she was in almost ten years ago when her contemporaries were brats like Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson.
2. The music video
The “Chasing The Sun” music video is everything. Not only does is capture the spirit of the song, it’s also filled with corny sitcom humour and Lizzie McGuire adorable-ness that reminds us why we originally fell in love with Hilary Duff. The office scenes are like watching any one of Hil’s many terrible movies; you know it’s hammy and clichéd as hell, but because it’s Hilary Duff it all just becomes really cute and endearing.
1. It’s the calm before the storm
The same complaint I keep hearing about “Chasing The Sun” is that it’s either boring or underwhelming. First of all, it isn’t boring, it’s just subtle. Secondly, don’t y’all know how pop music in these situations works? You release the safer song first to ease into things, then smash with the second single. Think “Toxic,” “Poker Face,” “We Belong Together,” “Wrecking Ball”… the list goes on. This is a reintroduction period for Hilary — people need to know that she’s actually back before she brings out the big guns.
Plus, I think the fact that she returned with a low-key summer anthem is infinitely more exciting and unexpected than if she’d returned with a whomp whomp EDM banger or Kylie-lite dance music. The fact that some people don’t agree with this just makes me wanna cut a bitch.
If you were actually expecting Hilary Duff to come back with some edgy new image and a Diplo/Sia/Dr. Luke ditty, then you probably only stan for “With Love” and “Come Clean,” and shouldn’t have even been anticipating Hilary’s return in the first place.
In other words, 98% of the negative opinions on this song are biased and irrelevant, so STFU.