It has been nearly seven years since the world has heard a tune from one of Disney’s most respected young entertainers, Hilary Duff. Her last single, the Depeche Mode-sampled Reach Out in 2008 featured the starlet playing around a bit more maturely than she had before. In fact, there were four different edits of the video for the song, as some felt that the visual was a bit too raunchy for proper airing. Reach Out was not exactly as Miley-esque as it may sound, but it did feel a bit disingenuous. Luckily, her first new song after the long break, Chasing the Sun, which was released on Monday, actually feels like something a bit more up her alley.
The breezy tune, co-written by Colbie Caillat and Toby Gad, feels like something Duff could have recorded back in her initial heyday. She considers the track to be a bit “carefree” and understands that people might be surprised that the song is not as “out of the box” as they might have imagined.
“It’s a summer song,” she said to Popjustice. “I guess I didn’t really know what people were expecting from me. I definitely have a little place in people’s hearts from the past, but also I think they’re interested to see what I’ve come up with and who I am now.”
Admittedly, she toyed around with a few different current styles of pop music for the upcoming album, including some with a heavy inclusion of EDM, or electronic dance music. Eventually, she realized she wanted her first step back into music to be something a lot more relatable and “earthy.”
“[It is] the best way I can describe it,” she says of Chasing the Sun. “It’s definitely pop [and] I wanted to have those melodies that get stuck in your head.”
It might take a few listens for some to warm up to the tune. Reviewers have stated the song is a bit too safe, expressing that if Duff wants to get back in the game properly, she will have to “make music with a little more edge”. However, they miss the point entirely.
Unlike the previously-mentioned Cyrus, Chasing the Sun has the ability to connect to many audiences, old and new. Fans of Duff throughout her career will know that it is a proper show of maturity, at least music-wise. Rather than churn out something “wild,” the song is Duff, through and through. She admitted that when she first started working on the album, the initial feeling was one that was much more serious.
“I started to steer away from that because as part of my personality, I do like to have fun and I do like to live as carefree and big as possible,” she said. “I do things that make me happy and [I try to] be a positive person.”
If nothing else, the song makes for a welcoming and soothing listen. Some things (and people) do not have to change completely in order to be properly enjoyed. Duff has taken a tremendous risk by simply being herself and in the case of Chasing the Sun, it is one that deserves a lot more applause. Chasing the Sun is now available on iTunes.
Opinion by Jonathan Brown