Dignity isn't for sale. It comes from within. Hilary Duff has always carried herself with dignity, from her 2001 TV debut starring in "Lizzy McGuire," through big screen hits like "Cinderella Story" and "Cheaper by the Dozen," to her career as a multi-platinum recording artist, with more than 13 million albums sold to date. Now Hilary brings her customary class and splash to her new Hollywood Records CD "Dignity. At 19, Hilary has matured into a sophisticated singer and songwriter. Hilary has co-written all the songs on 'Dignity', always aiming high and ultimately creating an album of depth and consequence. To realize her vision for the new CD, she teamed with Grammy-Award winning Kara Dioguardi ( Gwen Stefani, Pussy Cat Dolls, Enrique Iglesias, Kelly Clarkson), as well as top producer/songwriters like Chico Bennett & Richard Vission (Madonna, Usher, Killers), Tim & Bob (Nas, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez), Vada Nobles (Rhianna, Lauryn Hill, Faith Evans, Natasha Bedingfield, Warren G), Fredwrecke (Snoop Dog, Eminem, Fergi) Will.I.Am and Rhett Lawrence. In the title track, she talks about her experiences and observations of living in Los Angeles ("Where's your dignity/I think you lost it in the Hollywood Hills"). "Danger" explores the suspect advances of an older man, while "With Love" turns the world's most common song topic upside down. ("I can take your honesty/All your words weigh heavily/I'm listening to you all the time"). The song 'Stranger' reveals a relationship that is picture perfect in public, but cold behind closed doors. With every track, Hilary probes life and love more intensely, and with more vulnerability than she has before. This is the standard version.
In the most dignified way possible, "Dignity"--the title track to this fizz-bomb of a dance-pop disc--sends a disgusted eye-roll and a flagrant puh-lease to underwear-eschewing celebutantes everywhere: "You'd show up to the opening of an envelope," sings Duff, who hangs onto her signature sweetness despite having entered full-on diss mode. "It's not news when you've got a new bag/It's not news when you're looking your best/Come on, give it a rest." Well said. And sung. Not that calling out the phony and the full of it is what Duff, or Dignity, is all about. Mostly, the disc is a beat-studded chronicling of an incredibly healthy 19-year-old psyche: On "Happy," she's happy despite an ex's attempts to make her miserable; on "With Love"--maybe her catchiest, most grown-up song to date--she's willing to accept rejection as long as kindness plays a role in its delivery. Musically, with the help of groove-conscious producers like Tim & Bob and Will.i.am, Duff edges ever closer to adult sensibilities; her goofball Lizzie McGuire days seem far behind. It's an evolution anybody could have seen coming, actually. Has there ever been a starlet with her head on straighter? --Tammy La Gorce