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Breathe In. Breathe Out. is Hilary Duff's fifth studio album that was released on June 12, 2015 by RCA Records.

Tracklisting[]

  1. Sparks 3:06
  2. My Kind 3:27
  3. One In A Million 3:45
  4. Confetti 3:49
  5. Breathe In. Breathe Out. 3:33
  6. Lies 3:36
  7. Arms Around A Memory 3:17
  8. Stay In Love 3:34
  9. Brave Heart 3:33
  10. Tattoo 3:28
  11. Picture This 3:22
  12. Night Like This (featuring Kendall Schmidt) 3:46
  13. Belong 3:36
  14. Rebel Hearts 3:19

Album Background[]

On November 16, 2008, Hilary Duff told MTV News at the finale of "Total Request Live" that she would begin working on her fifth studio album in "two weeks." When asked about how the new music would sound, she said: "I like so many different kinds of music. Something poppy and catchy — I'm girly but I think I'm kind of tough, so maybe a little rock influence."

However, the plan never materialized and Duff went on a long hiatus from music. In January 2012, she announced that she was recording new material with musicians such as Jason Evigan and Ali Tamposi during her pregnancy, and again in September of 2013, most notably Billy Mann.

The early recording sessions for the album consisted of EDM tracks that ended up being scrapped in favor of songs with a folk-pop feel because Duff felt that "it wasn't the push that I wanted to have out there."

Later sessions for "Breathe In. Breathe Out." resulted in the singles "Chasing the Sun" and "All About You" which both heavily influenced by the folk-pop and acoustic pop genre Duff was aiming for.

This folk-pop album was planned for an October 2014 release, but Duff denied this on her Twitter account, saying that fans would have to wait longer.

By that time, she had recorded numerous tracks in which the titles made it online through social medi. Sometime in 2015, pictures from the scrapped folk-pop album's photoshoot leaked online via Twitter.

In February 2015, Duff once again decided to take the album in a different direction and began working in Sweden with Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson and Tove Lo on new dance-oriented tracks for the album.

Duff remarked that she "really wanted some of those super strong pop songs that Sweden really seems to have their finger on right now."

Some of the folk-influenced tracks originally intended for the album before the change in direction, such as "Tattoo", "Brave Heart", and "Picture This" managed to make it on to the album despite the change.

"Chasing the Sun" and "All About You" later appeared as digital-only bonuses when purchasing the Fanjoy edition of the album.

Duff has described the change in the album's musical direction in an interview with MTV in 2015, citing: "The album is a range of stuff. I would say definitely in the beginning when I started writing, it was pretty heavy, coming out of my past year of – life. It's changed since then, which is good because I think that the overall theme too – me, personally, I'm not this super heavy girl. You know? I'm one for the sunshine, so it's shifted a lot and it feels a lot better to me."

From the interview, it was also mentioned that a track titled "This Heart" (which was about her son, Luca) was going to be on the album and was also speculated as the title; however, the track never made the final cut

Duff has said regarding the album's lyrical content: "I definitely want people to feel like they're getting a glimpse into my life and what I'm made of. I am a normal girl who has had a not-so-normal life. I feel like my fans have stuck with me because they can relate to me and I want them to. I want them to feel like we could go out and have a fun night together. I want them to know that my heart has been broken, but it's not the end of the world. Life goes on. I want them to feel like I'm there for them. I want them to feel happy. And I want them to know that I care and that I have cared about them all this time."

Composition[]

In an interview with MTV, Duff described the Tove Lo-penned track "One in a Million" as a "'f-- you' anthem about a guy who's not treating you right".

She also said that "Tattoo" (written by Ed Sheeran) is "a beautiful song about a relationship ending and what it leaves behind." Both songs were admitted as Duff's favourite and most emotional tracks respectively from this album.

"Brave Heart" is an uplifting song about finding the courage to let go of someone even when you're scared of what's to come.

Duff said: "I had been on my own for about four months and it's hard, but I also found a lot of strength and realized that I could handle it. It's a song about being ready to move on, whether it's with a partner or a friend. You have to be brave in a relationship."

Despite the emotionalism on the album, the mood is never downbeat, something Duff took care to ensure.

According to Duff: "There are several songs from when I first started writing that aren't on the album because I wanted it to be a feel-good record for my fans," she says. "I'm such a happy person and so grateful for the life that I have and the break I got to take to live a quieter life and have some of these experiences."

"Picture This" is a sexy song about being obsessed with someone you have physical chemistry with, but knowing it's not meant to last forever.

The album's final track, "Night Like This", is a duet with former Big Time Rush member Kendall Schmidt. Duff wrote the song and described it was about "being stuck in a cab in New York with someone."

The track "Belong" which appears on the Deluxe version of the album is co-written by Toby Gad.

In an interview, Duff said: "There's a song called 'Belong' [on the album] that I really love. It sounds cheesy when I talk about it, but it's not cheesy at all, and it's more about just like not waiting for anything. Just going for it and not holding back."

Prior to the Sweden recording sessions, Duff has recorded numerous folk-pop tracks, some of which she has spoken of during interviews.

Among them is a track titled "If I Fall" which Duff has described as "about me taking a step back and kind of shutting down my whole business, and everyone not believing in me and me being really scared to be alone after I'd been surrounded by 100 people for five years of my life." The song never made the final cut.

Duff also said, "And then the other ones are like, some party songs, a song about [my son] Luca, a song about my separation and my love for this person that maybe we're not meant to be together, or maybe we are. I mean, it's very, very personal, but I would say that it has a happy spirit to it, which is me."

Album Title[]

On May 13, 2015, Duff announced the title of the album and revealed its cover artwork on May 13, 2015. Prior to the release of the title and artwork, she announced that fans would have the opportunity to pre-order the album and have their name printed in a special edition of the album's booklet.

Duff mailed several fans who had been among the first to pre-order the album white balloons that have the album artwork printed on it. The packages they received also included a handwritten note from Duff about the album.

A few of the fans tweeted about the packages that they had received, and a rep for Duff confirmed that they were official.

"Breathe In. Breathe Out." is named after a song that she recorded with Matthew Koma, which according to Duff, "stuck with [her]" throughout the recording process of the album.

She further explained: "Over the past few years of my life it's just been something that really helped me—just taking a deep breath in and letting a deep breath out. It can be a good thing, it can be a struggle, it can be a power thing—it's just a good reminder for everyone to remember to do that. It's a relief."

Chart Performance[]

"Breathe In. Breathe Out." debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 39,000 copies in its first week, marking her fifth top five album on the chart.

Critics deemed the position as impressive, considering it was her first release in eight years; however, the album is also Duff's first studio effort to not receive any certification from RIAA.

Critical Reception[]

"Breathe In. Breathe Out." was met with positive reviews from music critics.

Nolan Feeney of Time magazine called the album "mindless pop fun", while also stating that the album "splits the difference between contemporary club-bangers and mid-2000s pop that's aged better than Duff or anybody else could have imagined."

Idolator gave the album a rating of three out of five, citing that while some of the pleasures on the album are more "low-key", they did mentioned that there were "real gems" on the album. They praised Duff and her team for aiming "towards the elegant, layered production of the latter, which ensures that BIBO is perhaps this year's classiest and most carefully crafted pop album so far."

Yasmeen Gharn of Nylon magazine gave a positive review of the album, noting that the album was "a natural evolution from her last musical work, Dignity."

She praised Duff for not following the folk-pop direction that was first explored with "Chasing The Sun". Yasmeen criticized the lyrics of the album for being "cheesy at times" and "filled with nonsensical metaphors" but called the songs "relatable and catchy."

HitFix's Katie Hasty provided a mixed review: "I nearly relish in the interchangeability of these generic pop plods. With no beginning, middle or end, no dramatic parenthesis away from frothy, glitter dance-pop, [...] this pointless journey is an unconscious pleasure."

Chester Chin, in his review for The Star newspaper, said at its best, the album "presents sleek pop bangers with brief folksy flirtations that expertly toe the line between sexy and sophisticated."

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