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Dignity_(album)

Dignity (album)

Dignity is the third studio album and sixth album overall by American singer Hilary Duff, released on March 20, 2007 (see 2007 in music). Duff co-wrote the majority of the tracks with Kara DioGuardi, who co-produced the album with Chico Bennett, Richard Vission, Vada Nobles and others. In contrast to the pop rock sensibility of Duff's previous work, Dignity features a dance-pop- and electropop-influenced sound. It reached the top five on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, and the RIAA certified it Gold for shipments to U.S. retailers of 500,000 units. The three singles on the album—"Play with Fire", "With Love" and "Stranger"—reached the top forty on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, the latter two peaking at number one.

Production

In September 2005, Duff said she would "love" Joel and Benji Madden, who produced songs on her compilation album Most Wanted, to produce one of her albums. In January 2006, Duff mentioned the possibility of Timbaland producing the album, but she said she wanted to take time on it and "really work on [it]", possibly by herself or with just one other producer and songwriter. "[I want to] do it just a little bit different from how I've done it in the past and see what we come up with", she said.

Duff co-wrote all tracks but "Outside of You", and Kara DioGuardi is a co-writer on every song except "Outside of You" and "Gypsy Woman" (co-written by Haylie Duff). Duff said working with DioGuardi "allowed me to talk about things on my mind. It was one big therapy session." According to Duff, she wanted to work with DioGuardi because she liked DioGuardi's work on melodies, which she says "[are] not my strongest suit." Duff wrote most of the lyrics with occasional help from DioGuardi: "She'd say, 'This doesn't really fit', and if I was adamant, we'd make it work." She said the process of her writing lyrics, which she had only done "here and there" on her previous albums, was "important this time". According to songwriter Raine Maida, he and Chantal Kreviazuk co-wrote the song "Outside of You" with singer Pink for one of her albums, but it was not released. Duff "loved" the song and recorded it.

Duff also worked with producer-songwriter Rhett Lawrence in Toronto, Canada. Other producers and mixers on the album include Greg Wells, Ryan Tedder, Richard "Humpty" Vission, Tim and Bob and Manny Marroquin, and will.i.am of hip-hop/R&B group The Black Eyed Peas. Chico Bennett, Vada Nobles and Fred Wreck also contributed. Renowned photographer Andrew Macpherson shot the photos for the album's liner notes.

An alternate version of the song "Happy"—featuring the instrumental track for "Play with Fire"—was featured in the 2006 film Material Girls, in which Duff starred.

Style and themes

Duff said that compared to her previous music it is "more dancey" and makes use of more real instruments. "I don't know exactly how to explain what we're doing, but it's fun and funky and different, something new for me. It's really cool", she said. She has also described the sound of the album as "a little less pop-rock and more electronic". Duff said she hadn't planned for the album to include a dance-pop sound, but that it was easier for her to write the songs to it. In addition to the dance-pop influence, Duff has said the album includes "some Indian vibes, Balinese beats, a little bit of hip-hop ... it sounds kind of '80s. It's very all over the place." She has cited the influence of Gwen Stefani, Beyoncé and, in particular, The Faint, who she says "have this swelling dance beat that's not so up, but live instruments and rock elements", and who remixed one of the songs on Dignity. The album has been compared to the music of Depeche Mode, Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Kylie Minogue, Rachel Stevens, ABBA, Britney Spears, Debbie Deb, and Avril Lavigne.

According to Duff, she had wanted to write songs about aspects of every experience that she had had for the two years before the release of the album; she has said the album is \"a new side of me and part of me. All the songs are so self-explanatory. It was very liberating\". The album deals heavily with a relationship Duff had during the songwriting process in which she was in love, experienced feelings of doubt and then broke up with the other party. \"I cover these emotions and the feeling of being in the dark\", she said. Duff's breakup with Joel Madden inspired her to write songs that are, as she describes, \"a little bit angry and ... a little bit hurt and lonely and sad\". The album also features songs about when they were happy together that Duff said she was \"really scared\" to include, but she thought she should because they were her experiences. She titled the album Dignity because she felt dignity is something \"you have to work on having ... The album is so personal and talks about so many experiences I've had—good ones and bad ones—and dignity is something I always hope to have and strive to have. She said the album is \"definitely more mature\" than her previous material. The Associated Press quoted Kara DioGuardi as saying that Duff \"was very honest about where she was in her life, and very open, which made it very easy to collaborate. I think she’s really become an adult on this record... in the way that she feels, in the way that she acts, in the way that she interprets what she's singing about.\"

According to Duff, "Gypsy Woman" is about a woman who had a relationship with Duff's father that "broke up a big part of my family"; Duff said she had not discussed it before because she "was embarrassed that my family wasn't perfect and that some woman had broken it up." However, it has been rumored to be about Nicole Richie, who began dating Joel Madden after he split up with Duff. The song "Dignity" is also rumored to be about Madden and Richie. Duff said "Dignity" is "[not] about [Richie] specifically but it is about people [in Hollywood] that kind of do what she does and act the way she acts"; however, she also said none of the songs were about Madden and Richie's relationship: "she seems like a nice person. There's no bad blood there. I hope that they are happy together." "Stranger", although rumored to be about Duff and Madden, is about how Duff thought her mother feels around her father; it was inspired by the same situation that inspired "Gypsy Woman". Duff said she wrote "Stranger" to appear to be about one of her own relationships, because she didn't want people to know about the strained relationship between her parents. "But I've realized that so many people can relate to what I've gone through", she said.

Another track, "Dreamer", was the subject of media speculation; it is reported to be about the two men who stalked Duff during 2006, and Duff has said that the song describes having a stalker "in a tongue-in-cheek way". She said that "With Love" is about having a "crazy job" but being kept "sane" by "that one person" with whom they are in a relationship, "and letting that person know that you appreciate criticism or advice because you know it comes from a place of love. "Danger" was inspired partly by the involvement of one of Duff's friend's with an older man, and Duff said "I understand that feeling of wanting to be dangerous. You may know morally something's not right, but you can't help yourself." Duff has named "Never Stop" her favorite song on the album, and said that "it's all about being in a relationship and being so happy." "No Work, All Play", as Duff puts it, "goes back to not trying to fit into other people's ideals or be perfect—which a part of me still does. I want to look pretty and I want them to like my outfit. But another part of me is thinking, 'Well, why do I care?'" She said "Happy" "is the most personal, acoustic, mellow song [on the album]", and that it "says it all—I'm happy now, and really lucky to be in a good place in my life."

Promotion

The album was originally going to be released on November 21, 2006, but because production took longer than expected, it was pushed back to December 5. It was subsequently pushed back to February 2007 because of Duff's commitment to the film War, Inc.. It was released in Europe and Australia in late March 2007, and in North America in early April—Billboard magazine noted that the timing of the U.S. release made it "likely an ideal Easter basket gift item". Dignity was at number eight on About.com's "Top 10 Albums to Watch for in 2007" list.

Promotion for the first single, "Play with Fire", began in August 2006; a Richard Vission-produced remix of the song followed in November. According to Duff, the advance "teaser" release of the single was to allow listeners to become accustomed to her new "dance/electronic rock" sound. The second single, "With Love", was released to U.S. radio in February 2007, and its music video was used as the television commercial for Duff's first fragrance, With Love... Hilary Duff, promotion for which began in November 2006. "With Love" was heavily promoted at top 40 radio, where it was the "most added" song during the week of its release. Abbey Konowitch, Hollywood Records general manager, said Duff's new sound is suitable for pop radio's "overlooked middle" because she offered "balance between hip-hop and rock", and said she was "already an iconic pop star crossing into a new generation, versus someone who simply has a nice song for radio." A Z100 program director called "With Love" "exactly the kind of song she should be doing."

"Stranger", the third U.S. single, was released to radio in early July 2007 in the U.S. In the UK, after the club success of a WaWa-produced dance remix of the song during the summer, Angel Music Group released it as a single in September 2007 in lieu of the album version. In Australia, EMI promoted "Play with Fire" as the second single to radio and video during April–June; "Stranger" followed as the third single in October–November.

Pre-release promotion for Dignity was heavy, according to a Hollywood Records press release. Duff and the album were the subjects of Hilary Duff: This Is Now, two MTV documentary specials following Duff during her preparations for the release of the album that aired in early April 2007. Yahoo! filmed a multi-episode series about Duff's new music and image, and coverage on MySpace was also wide. Duff made several appearances at retail outlets and on television, including co-hosting MTV's Total Request Live for a week.

A noted aspect of promotion for the album is Duff's image, which Entertainment Weekly said comprised "[d]ark mane, dental veneers, luxe and vampy fashions", which it wrote is a contrast to the "[d]imples and blond curls, mall-princess ensembles that echoed her Disney Channel alter ego Lizzie McGuire" for which she was originally known. Buena Vista Music Group chairman Bob Cavallo said her new look was "reflective of [her new musical direction]—confident, beautiful and edgy." According to Duff, she wanted to "try new things" but the image change "just happened. It is not like a conscious change ... People think it is so different because they have watched me grow up but that is just what happens in life."

In mid-2007, concurrent to the preparation of the radio release of "Stranger", Duff was featured on the July covers of the magazines Us Weekly and Shape in a bikini, and on the August cover of Maxim accompanied by the declaration that she had gone "from the queen of teen to breakout sex symbol". The Associated Press wrote that the first two were representative of "a clear move [on Duff's part] to put her Lizzie McGuire past behind her", and that more provocative imaging of her would help her singles to garner mainstream radio play: "Ultimately, nature, time and genetics may help Duff in a way Disney, despite all its might, cannot." Guy Zapoleon, a radio consultant and former programmer for top 40 radio, said such imaging would "definitely have a positive effect on the attitude of programmers, who are mostly male, as Disney tries to mature her image".

Duff embarked on a concert tour, the Dignity tour, in mid-2007. At its outset, the tour was scheduled to include twelve shows in Canada in late July and early August, and fifteen shows in the United States in mid-August and early September. During the January 2008 concert in Monterrey, Mexico, Duff was seen mouthing into her microphone without her voice being heard, leading to rumors that she was lip-synching. A representative for Duff said that locally provided faulty sound equipment was responsible for the incident, explaining that for the opening seconds of her performance, her microphone was set to mute accidentally. A Deluxe Tour Edition of the album is scheduled for release in Australia on January 21, 2008.

Duff said in September 2007 that a previously unheard song on the Dignity tour's set list, "Reach Out" (which samples Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus"), would be released as a single. In an interview with remix producer Joe Bermudez in November, she said that Dignity would be re-released in an edition featuring remixes of the original songs alongside two new tracks: "Reach Out" (featuring rapper Prophet) and "Holiday". Duff said she hoped to write a third new song for the re-release, and to have "Holiday" released as its first or second single.

Chart performance

Dignity debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 140,000 copies in its first week; it was the highest debut of that week. The debut was lower than those of Duff's previous three albums, each of which entered at numbers one or two with opening week sales of around 200,000 copies. Billboard wrote that Duff's "continued evolution in sound and image ... may have resulted in her losing some of her much younger fans." In late May 2007, the National Post wrote that the album had "tapered quickly" on the chart. Dignity spent nineteen weeks on the Billboard 200, and in July 2007, it was certified Gold by the RIAA for shipments to retailers of 500,000 copies. By the following month, 344,000 of that amount had been sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. USA Today reporter Ken Barnes wrote of the sales-shipments discrepancy,

The most doubtful of the new gold albums is Hilary Duff's Dignity. It's off the chart, meaning its weekly sales have to be below 4,000 (that's the rounded-off figure that No. 200 on the chart sold), and there's no compelling reason at present for its sales level to change. And its total is just 344,000. Doing the math, if it averaged 3,500 copies or so, it would take almost a year to hit 500,000. Not sure that will happen. Some degree of starry-eyed optimism going on here.

The album debuted at number twenty-five in the UK with first-week sales of over 8,000 copies, and it spent three weeks in the top seventy-five; it is her highest charting album there. In Japan, it entered the albums chart at number twelve, selling 17,600 copies in its first week. Dignity broke Duff's streak of consecutive number-one debuts in Canada, entering the albums chart at number three with 20,000 copies sold. In response, Duff said she "couldn't be happier" and felt lucky that Dignity sold the amount it did, noting the state of the marketplace and the moderate sales figures for other albums that week. The album debuted at number seventeen on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia, selling roughly 2,300 copies in its first week, and the Herald Sun referred to it as "dead in the water" in its second week on the chart. It remained in the top fifty for three weeks. In France, it peaked at number 133, and in Italy, it received a Gold certification from the FIMI for shipments to stores of more than 40,000 copies. Dignity reached the top ten in Ireland, the top forty in New Zealand, and the top 100 in Switzerland.

"Play with Fire", the lead single from the album, received nightclub play in the U.S. and reached the top forty on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart, but it failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Second single "With Love" was more successful: it reached number twenty-four on the Hot 100—Duff's highest peak on the chart—and the top forty in Australia and the UK, though it peaked outside the top forty in Germany. The song topped the Hot Dance Club Play chart, as did the third single, "Stranger", which became Duff's lowest peaking song on the Hot 100, reaching number ninety-seven.

Charts and certification

Chart (2008) Peak
Position
Sales/Shipments Certification
U.S. Billboard 200 3 430,000+ Gold
Italy Top 100 Albums Chart 7 40,000+ Gold
Taiwan Top Albums 1 15,000+ Gold
Japan Oricon Charts 12 80,000+ Gold
Canadian Top Albums 3 100,000+ Platinum
U.K Top 75 Albums 25 60,000+ Silver
United World Chart 2 1,000,000+ Platinum

Critical reception

Dignity was met with generally positive reviews, receiving a 61/100 on the website Metacritic. The Guardian called Duff's musical change "curious commercially, but thoroughly worthwhile artistically", and wrote that "Duff, as ever, is charmingly chameleon-like", compared Dignity favorably to the work of Kylie Minogue and Rachel Stevens's 2005 album, Come and Get It. Allmusic editorialized that on the album, "she [Duff] makes some serious headway into turning into a mature recording artist, which makes this an effective, strangely endearing album." Entertainment Weekly opined that "It would be churlish not to hope for a happy ending in Hilary's future, but on the evidence of Dignity, heartache brings out the best in her." Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times called it "a pretty strong album of electro-pop; listeners who have never heard of [Lizzie McGuire] might be pleasantly surprised.

The Los Angeles Times said that Duff "seems a little lost and overwhelmed by the percolating dance settings and body-blow rock arrangements ... But as she tries out different approaches, Duff eventually finds some footing". USA Today said it consisted of "a lot of monotonous dance-pop grooves [lifted] from Justin Timberlake's scrap pile ... It's the jauntier pop material that materializes halfway through and sounds more like her past records that holds more appeal." Rolling Stone said Duff's attempt to "make an adult dance-pop record" yielded "surprisingly successful results". Manchester Evening News called the album "commercially savvy" and said "Duff sometimes sounds as weak as a new born kitten", adding that "In terms of pure pop though, this is Hilary's best material". The Sun Media called Dignity "Duff's most personal and revealing album yet", but that "[w]isely, the weight of her lyrics is leavened by the lightness of the music."

Slant Magazine was unimpressed with the album, stating that "Duff's voice is nondescript and her delivery is blank; the impish, quirky, or coolly disaffected vocal characteristics and sex appeal that make other dance-pop divas viable performers is nonexistent." The Washington Post compared Dignity negatively to Avril Lavigne's 2007 album, The Best Damn Thing; it said "Both discs seemed rigged. Neither woman ventures an inch from her respective corner. And neither sounds like she's having any fun.

At the 2007 MuchMusic Video Awards, Duff won in the People's Choice: Favourite International Artist category for "With Love".

Track listing

Standard edition

  1. "Stranger" (Hilary Duff, Kara DioGuardi, Vada Nobles, Derrick Harvin, Julius Diaz) – 4:10
  2. "Dignity" (Duff, DioGuardi, Chico Bennett, Richard Vission) – 3:13
  3. "With Love" (Duff, DioGuardi, Diaz, Nobles) – 3:03
  4. "Danger" (Duff, DioGuardi, Nobles, Mateo Camargo, Diaz) – 3:31
  5. "Gypsy Woman" (Duff, Haylie Duff, Ryan Tedder) – 3:14
  6. "Never Stop" (Duff, DioGuardi, Bennett, Vission) – 3:13
  7. "No Work, All Play" (Duff, DioGuardi, Greg Wells) – 4:17
  8. "Between You and Me" (Duff, DioGuardi, Bennett, Vission) – 3:05
  9. "Dreamer" (Duff, DioGuardi, Farid Nassar) – 3:10
  10. "Happy" (Duff, DioGuardi, Rhett Lawrence, Mitch Allan) – 3:28
  11. "Burned" (Duff, DioGuardi, Farid Nassar) – 3:21
  12. "Outside of You" (Alecia Moore, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida) – 4:03
  13. "I Wish" (Duff, DioGuardi, Tim Kelley, Bob Robinson) – 3:51
  14. "Play with Fire" (Duff, DioGuardi, will.i.am) – 3:00Best Buy and iTunes Australia edition
  15. "Play with Fire" (rock mix) – 3:00
  16. "Stranger" (Vada mix) – 4:21Deluxe Edition and Australian Deluxe Tour Edition
  17. All fourteen songs from the U.S. standard edition
  18. Bonus DVD with nine music videos and an interview:
  19. At Home with Hilary Duff (interview)
  20. "Why Not"
  21. "So Yesterday"
  22. "Come Clean"
  23. "Our Lips Are Sealed" (non-movie version)
  24. "Fly"
  25. "Wake Up"
  26. "Beat of My Heart"
  27. "Play with Fire"
  28. "With Love"Wal-Mart edition
  29. All fourteen songs from the U.S. standard edition
  30. Bonus remix EP:
  31. "With Love" (Richard Vission remix extended) – 6:00
  32. "Play with Fire" (Richard Vission remix radio edit) – 3:12
  33. "Dignity" (Richard Vission remix radio edit) – 3:43
  34. "Play with Fire" (Vada mix) – 3:17
  35. "Come Clean" (dance remix) – 3:44Target edition
  36. Opportunity to purchase four tour tickets early
  37. Extra autographed mini-posterJapanese standard edition
  38. "With Love" (DJ Kaya remix)
  39. Different cover artJapanese Deluxe Edition
  40. "With Love" (DJ Kaya remix)
  41. Different cover art
  42. Bonus DVD (the same as in the U.S. except for a bonus video, "Making of the Photo Book (Hilary Duff × Leslie Kee)")
  43. Bonus photo book (different with other edition)

Charts

Chart (2007) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 17
Canadian Albums Chart 3
Billboard Europe Top 100 Albums Chart 28
France SNEP Albums Chart 133
Irish Albums Chart 10
Italian Albums Chart 8
Japan Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 12
Japan Oricon Weekly International Albums Chart 1
Korea (Music Industry Association of Korea) Pop Record Sales Volume 10
Mexican Albums Chart 4
New Zealand Albums Chart 31
Spanish Albums Chart 12
Switzerland Hitparade Top 100 Albums 64
UK Albums Chart 25
U.S. Billboard 200 3

Release history

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Thailand March 20, 2007 EMI CD 0946 371081 23
Italy March 23, 2007 EMI, Hollywood Records CD
France March 26, 2007 EMI, Hollywood CD
digital download
Portugal EMI, Hollywood CD
Singapore Hollywood CD
Spain EMI, Hollywood CD
United Kingdom EMI, Hollywood CD
Japan March 28, 2007 Avex, Hollywood CD
CD+DVD [deluxe edition]
Germany March 30, 2007 Hollywood, EMI CD [standard edition only]
Australia March 31, 2007 Hollywood, EMI CD [standard edition] 3903612
Hong Kong April 2, 2007 EMI CD
CD+DVD [deluxe edition]
Mexico Universal Music CD
CD+DVD [deluxe edition]
Canada April 3, 2007 Hollywood, Universal Records CD
CD+DVD [deluxe edition]
Taiwan EMI CD
CD+DVD [deluxe edition]
United States Hollywood CD
CD+DVD [deluxe edition]
Sweden April 18, 2007 EMI, Hollywood CD
Brazil May 17, 2007 Hollywood, Universal Records CD 670801
CD+DVD [deluxe edition] 670801
India Times Music, Hollywood
Australia January 21, 2008 Hollywood, EMI CD+DVD [deluxe edition] 3909212

Notes

External links

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