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Hilary Duff: America’s One True Princess

By Entertainment, Featured

Illustration by Annie Leue

Some might say Hilary Duff is so yesterday, but get ready to have your minds metamorphosized, noobs, because I’m about to rock your world. Hilary Duff revolutionized white girl pop music. She will remain an American treasure forever. She’s America’s Princess. To prove these possibly far-reaching claims, I’ve reviewed her 2002 album, “Metamorphosis,” the true pinnacle of her career — and pop music itself.

The first track, “So Yesterday,” is quite possibly the greatest song of all time. Definitively. I’m not even going to bother arguing that with you.

The first line of the iconic “Come Clean” is “let’s go back / back to the beginning” which may tempt you to go back to the beginning of the album and listen to “So Yesterday,” again. I’ll come clean and admit that I have done this.  It’s not bad, but you really should only do this once. You can get stuck in a “So Yesterday” loop very quickly, and the next thing you know you’re trying to find an Italian guy named Paolo that will promise to make you famous. You can never trust Paolo. Regardless, “Come Clean” is worth letting go of “So Yesterday.” It was my first sad song, and it’s very important for any eight-year-old girl to develop the ability to cry on cue.  

In light of my very obvious love for Princess Hilary, I decided to interview a few less-biased Americans about the impact Hilary Duff has had on our country.

Mary Fons is in the running for America’s Princess herself, so it only seemed fair to ask her a few questions about her competition.

F News: Do you believe Hilary Duff is America’s Princess? If not Hilary then who (also, why not and how dare you?)

Mary: No, I don’t think Hilary Duff is America’s Princess because she doesn’t represent for enough people “Hollywood Royalty.” She’s less Camelot, more Glamour Shot, you know, from the mall.

Mary went on to question whether or not Hilary was “trained in the equestrian arts,” as most princesses are. Honestly, a worthy opposition to Hilary’s title. Mary did not have another suggestion for America’s Princess but did suggest a podcast for people who are too old to recognize celebrities.

F: If you were to name your firstborn Hilary, would her middle name be Duff or Clinton?

Mary: “Clinton.” Enough said, Mary.

F: Would you vote for Hilary Duff for president under the campaign slogan, “From Drumpf to Duff?”

Mary: Yes, because it shows she can change The problem with Hilary Duff is that she is the poor man’s Britney Spears.

Following Mary’s interview, I continued listening to “Metamorphosis” like any true American white girl under the age of twenty-five.

By the album’s third song, you may feel like you can’t tell the difference between the beginning of any of the songs. But, those electro pop beats are so iconic, why would you want to mess with a good thing? “Little Voice” is definitely about (Duff’s Disney character) Lizzie McGuire as her little cartoon self and all it does is sing “La la la / la la la, la la la” over and over. When I was a kid I genuinely believed this is what my thoughts were supposed to sound like, so I tried to think “la la la” compulsively. It really defines the kind of adult I turned out to be, one that writes reviews of Hilary Duff albums 15 years after their release.

“Where did I go right?” The next song starts off uncharacteristically depressing, but don’t fear Hilary’s angelic, bubble gum voice — and those glittery 2002 chimes will pick up quickly. Nevertheless, she persists. This song, in spite of its oddly weepy tone, is actually about having a great partner. An odd choice for such a record, but who am I to question the writing of whoever wrote Hilary Duff’s songs for her?

Next up: “Anywhere But Here.” Was this song in “Legally Blonde” or did I just watch “Legally Blonde” with my headphones in and this song on repeat too many times? I actually googled the soundtrack of “Legally Blonde” and this song was not mentioned, so there’s that answer. (It wasn’t in “Legally Blonde 2,” either.)

The following track, “The Math” is a third-grade math class anthem. I’m pretty sure I listened to this song every time I practiced my multiplication tables. I still can’t multiply past the tens, but I do have every word of this song memorized in my mid-twenties. This song is also the least apologetic of the album, like, in case you didn’t know what Hilary wants is for someone to call her back and kiss her, not necessarily in that order.

While Hilary helped me learn to multiply, she was very clear about exactly what she wanted. But now, she doesn’t even know what she wants or why she even loves me. “Nothing’s ever what it seems/in your life or in your dreams.” This is how every white girl learns to send mixed signals.

“Sweet Sixteen” Gonna spread my … wings. SWEET SIXTEEN!! Iconic.

I spoke to another die-hard Hilary fan, Emily Rich, about how Hilary helped her become the woman she is today. Rich is a princess in her own right, as she is one of the top ten contenders for Elsa’s girlfriend in “Frozen 2.”

F News: Do you believe Hilary Duff is America’s Princess? If not Hilary, then who?

Emily: Yes, absolutely, she is America’s Princess. Hilary Duff came to the forefront of our culture at a time when we still believed in princesses and happily-ever-afters. To a certain degree, we’ve lost that type of sentimentality. She paved the way for Miley Cyrus, but even Miley doesn’t inhabit the same princess role Hilary did. Hilary Duff was America’s last princess, and so she remains.

F: Which Hilary Duff song is truly “what dreams are made of”?

Emily: The song you’re referencing is a personal favorite, but I also love “Come Clean.” And “Sweet Sixteen,” of course.

F: If you were to name your firstborn Hilary, would her middle name be Duff or Clinton?

Emily: Duff, obviously. Hilary Duff Rich.

F: What kind of impact did Hilary Duff have on you and the woman you’ve become?

Emily: Hilary Duff was something my sisters and I always agreed upon. She was unifying in our house when we were kids. We’d have dance parties to her albums and we never argued about her. I think that definitely helped us form the strong bonds we have now. We never had the same favorite movies, our personalities have always been vastly different and at times at odds, but we always had Hilary Duff.

Truly, we will all always have Hilary Duff.

Then there’s “Metamorphosis”— the album’s title track. I don’t know what Hilary was going through when she wrote this song, but it’s more somber than the rest of the album. Maybe not somber, but certainly uncharacteristically…edgy. It was always odd to me that this was the title of the album, too, as it is not representative of the album at all. It’s not even the first or last track.

However, can we just take a minute to discuss the brilliance behind naming your bonus track “Why Not?” Woah. I have listened to this song before every single date I have ever been on. I’m a fully grown adult.

Hilary Duff single-handedly revolutionized pop music and, dare I say it, the very concept of womanhood. Duff unified this country in ways no other 16-year-old blonde girl ever could. And for that, we should all be eternally grateful.

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