This album rates 4 stars if you do not already own Metamorphosis and Hilary Duff, Duff's two previous albums. It rates 3 if you don't own those. This collection adds to the songs from those albums the charming remake of "Our Lips Are Sealed" by Hilary and her sister Haylie and 3 new tracks recorded with the assistance of the Dead Executives aka Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte.
After the bubblegum pop of Metamorphosis and then the rock-edged Hilary Duff, it was intriguing to see in which direction teen star Hilary Duff would head. The 3 new tracks here, "Wake Up," "Beat Of My Heart," and "Break My Heart" seem to be marking time instead of finding a new direction. "Wake Up" is irresistible bubblegum in the mode of Duff's first album. "Beat Of My Heart" and "Break My Heart" are disappointing cookie cutter copies of Avril Lavigne's "Sk8erboi." They are easy to listen but break no new ground.
The remaining bulk of this collection is strong. Hilary Duff is one of the most appealing of our current bumper crop of young female pop singers. Her voice is relatively thin meaning she is incapable of belting a song in the fashion of Avril Lavigne's, but she projects charm and a sense of self that wins over the listener. Hilary Duff's music does not seek to be adult before her time. Instead, it is unmistakably the music of a teenager finding her way in the world. Listen to songs like "Come Clean," "So Yesterday," and "Mr. James Dean" and enjoy the pure pop shine.
It seems likely that as long as the relationship between Hilary Duff and Good Charlotte's Joel Madden holds together, he is likely to have a significant impact on the direction of her music. The 3 new songs here give no specific direction. Hilary Duff has not suddenly become a punk pop singer. Her most recent music may be rocking a bit harder than where she began, but it is still a far cry from the intensity of even the most mainstream punk pop bands. The teenage years are waning for Duff, and we will soon see how she moves into adulthood.
Note: The "signature" edition of this album includes additional remixes of past material.