Just in case you were too young to fully experience the former “Lizzie McGuire” star’s pop heyday from 2002 to 2008, here are six songs that will help ease you into Ms. Duff’s back catalog. And if you were way too #alt to listen to the 26-year-old singer and actress back then, just give her a chance below. A lot can change in 10 years — just ask “The Hills” reality star-turned-noted hiking enthusiast Heidi Montag.
Quick note: I’m only going to pull songs from Hilary’s three non-holiday-themed studio albums: 2003’s Metamorphosis, 2004’s Hilary Duff, and 2007’s Dignity. If you feel like I’m skipping over some vital music on her various best-of albums — or, like, even 2002’s Santa Claus Lane — let me know in the comments section below.
The Hit: “Come Clean,” co-written by songwriter and former “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi, served as the intro theme music for MTV’s “Laguna Beach.” It’s basically Lauren Conrad’s emotional spectrum set to music.
The Gem: You can try to deny the likeability of “So Yesterday” (if you wanna), but it’s no use. This Liz Phair-gone-unabashedly pop track will worm its way into your brain.
Hilary Duff, 2004
The Hit: Easy, breezy Hilary gets real on “Fly,” arguably her most dramatic single to date. I like how one of the lyrics, “Let go of your yesterday,” might be playing off of Duff’s Metamorphosis single of a similar name, kind of like Britney Spears’ “My loneliness is killing me”/”My loneliness ain’t killing me no more” callback.
The Gem: Hilary Duff is straight-up screaming this chorus on “Mr. James Dean.” Hilary Duff. Screaming. Left is right. Right is left. Who even is am? Bye, world.
The Hit: If Hilary serves SoCal girl next door on Metamorphosis, then her character on Dignity is all woman. The pulsing synths on the album’s club-ready second single, “With Love,” send that message loud and clear.
The Gem: Sorry, can’t talk. Tumbling the Hil-Duff rabbit hole that is “Stranger.” Byeeeeee.