That persona shines strongly on Dignity, which bears a stronger autobiographical imprint than almost any other teen pop album of the 2000s. Despite that glossy photo, Hilary comes across as contradictory and conflicted as any 20-year-old in the throes of a messy, public breakup would. At its core, Dignity is the sound of the most popular girl at school shedding her long-time boyfriend and her old friends and starting life all over again.
It used to be the case that, when a teenpop starlet wanted to signify that she was all grown up, she would abandon frothy dance pop in favour of rocking out. That's not the case here. Hilary Duff made some of the best bubblegum pop songs, but Dignity sees her metamorphose into a moody electro princess, with a dark hairstyle to match. Her jump dancewards is curious commercially, but thoroughly worthwhile artistically: the best cuts here hold their own against Kylie, though the more apt comparison is Rachel Stevens' fantastic but underperforming solo album.
When the fairy-tale romance between Hilary Duff and Joel Madden went belly-up late last year, the Good Charlotte frontman speedily rebounded into the twiglike arms of Nicole Richie, and the world moved on. Duff, it seems, did not, and hell hath no fury like a young woman scorned. ”Did I ever do anything that was this cruel to you?” she seethes on Dignity‘s ”Stranger,” a scathing portrait of an unnamed, sociopathic ex.