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Metamorphosis is Hilary Duff's second studio album that was released on August 26, 2003 by Hollywood Records.

Tracklisting

  1. So Yesterday 3:35
  2. Come Clean 3:34
  3. Workin' It Out 3:15
  4. Little Voice 3:03
  5. Where Did I Go Right? 3:51
  6. Anywhere But Here 3:32
  7. The Match 3:19
  8. Love Just Is 4:02
  9. Sweet Sixteen 3:07
  10. Party Up 3:51
  11. Metamorphosis 3:28
  12. Inner Strength 1:34
  13. Why Not 3:01

Album Background

Hilary Duff had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her elder sister, Haylie. Duff watched her sister rehearsing in 2001, after which she told her mother that she wanted to be involved in singing.

During the same time period, Duff attended a Radio Disney concert where she met Andre Recke, whose client Myra was performing. According to Duff, watching the pop musicians preparing and warming up backstage at the concert made her think, "I want to do this so bad".

Recke said he thought Duff, who was popular with preteens at the time because of her role in the popular Disney Channel original series Lizzie McGuire, had "something special ... Sometimes you just have that feeling, that, 'Wow, she's a star.'"

After becoming determined to start a music career, Duff resumed her vocal lessons—which she had started before her acting career began—and became one of Recke's clients.

Duff said, "I've always had a big drive. When I felt like something looked fun or I wanted to accomplish something, I really just go for it ... I didn't really know what it was gonna be like, but I knew I wanted to try it and I knew that I could do it."

Duff recorded several songs for Disney soundtrack and compilation albums, and a Christmas album "Santa Claus Lane" in 2002.

Her songs "I Can't Wait", "Why Not" and "What Dreams Are Made Of" were hits on Radio Disney, but Recke and executives at Buena Vista Music Group envisioned Metamorphosis as a vehicle by which Duff could reach a more mature audience.

Recording

Duff, her mother Susan, and Recke enlisted the songwriting and production team The Matrix—whom Recke had previously hired to write songs for Myra's 2001 eponymous debut album—and songwriter Charlie Midnight (who had contributed to "Santa Claus Lane").

According to Duff, her mother, Recke and Duff herself worked very hard to get music that she related to and was age-appropriate for her.

Duff said that she did not want to make "a really poppy album" because that was not the type of music she listened to.

The presence of The Matrix was noted because of their work on Avril Lavigne's highly successful debut album "Let Go", but Duff said that she did not want to emulate other artists, saying: "There are definitely people I respect and I love their music, but there was never really an artist that I said, 'I want to be just like them...' ... I wanted to be like myself".

According to Duff, although she did not write most of the songs, she collaborated on each of them.

Aside from The Matrix and Charlie Midnight, contributions to the album came from singer-songwriter Meredith Brooks, Kara DioGuardi, Matthew Gerrard, John Shanks and Duff's sister, Haylie, who Duff said knows her better than "anyone else in the world".

Duff discussed her feelings with some of the songwriters, and she praised them because they were open to her opinions and "really got it". She said that she would have liked more time to work with the songwriters and co-write more of her own material, saying: "I feel like you need time to really get in touch with yourself to do that".

In May 2004, Meredith Brooks (writer and producer of "Party Up") complained about the million-dollar budgets major labels spend to produce albums, saying: "There's something seriously wrong with all that! You can't keep that going. Artists have to sell millions of records for anybody to make money off of those bloated budgets."

Production

Influences and sound

As Duff was really into Destiny's Child at the time, initial work on "Metamorphosis" carried a more "urban style" than the finished project. However, the work (according to Chico Bennett) "didn't strike a chord", so they went for a different approach.

Recke asked Duff what type of music she would like to do, to which she responded: "Well, growing up, we listened to a lot of rock music, and I like a little bit more guitar in it." So they decided to go about the record with a "real band vibe".

According to Recke, the album is still pop, but with a "little rockier edge to it." They wanted to do something that would fit Duff's personality and "something that she wanted to be". Recke made sure that the music was what Duff wanted, as there's "nothing worse than an artist not excited to perform it."

Recke, Landers and Duff wanted to make "not just a record that might appeal to an audience because of her television popularity", but they wanted to create a "really fun, great pop record that Hilary could get behind personally".

According to Recke, the songs on "Metamorphosis" were all "molded around" Duff. He cited this as the reason why the album "feels so authentic".

According to Midnight, the album does not contain "just a bunch of different songs that don't have anything to do with the others. When you look at the overall roster of songs, they all do fit into a certain context."

Of the process, Midnight explained: "Considering how young she was, I thought that was interesting, that it wouldn’t be a complete fabrication, because I’m used to working with very strong artists, strong personalities. After I got to know Hilary and we hung out, I saw that she had real points of view and was going to be real involved, which makes it easier to actually create the music—coming from somewhere, from a personality, from a point of view, rather than created out of whole cloth. So that excited me. Hilary had so much personality that she was able to convey on a recording."

Contributors

As she was not familiar with the process of creating an album, Duff met with many different record producers. She sat down with each of them and told them what she enjoyed listening to. In some instances, Duff would go into detail about events in her personal life that could be used for inspiration in a song.

While Recke and Landers were in charge of looking for the "right songs" for the album, Duff was also heavily involved in the song selection and in "making sure the lyrics were where she was at that age".

Kara DioGuardi, who had long outgrown Disney, thus making her unaware of who Duff was, was told by an acquaintance of hers who worked at EMI that she should meet up with Recke. DioGuardi told her friend that she was "on a tight schedule", but later decided that she'd "try it".

During their initial meeting, DioGuardi played Recke several songs that she had written. After hearing the selection, he immediately told her that he wanted "Come Clean" and "Little Voice" for Duff, saying that they were perfect for her.

Having liked the chemistry between Charlie Midnight, Recke and Duff on Santa Claus Lane, Landers asked Midnight to provide material for "Metamorphosis."

He submitted "quite a few songs" for the album because he loved working with Duff. He concentrated on trying to "bounce things" off Recke, Landers and Duff about "what topics they thought would be right" for the album.

Midnight was "pretty much ground zero" for a lot of people involved with Metamorphosis, according to Charlton Pettus; he was the lyricist who "seemed to get the tone of it all".

Pettus deemed his involved in the project as being "completely accidental"; he had just moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles and was introduced to Midnight through their mutual friend Marc Swersky.

The three of them wrote several songs together with no particular artist in mind. One song in particular, "Workin' It Out", was given to Duff for the album.

Similarly, Midnight had written "Love Just Is" with Jim Marr and Wendy Page without "necessarily thinking of Hilary at first". After insisting that Duff should record it, Recke played the song for her and she "absolutely loved it".

The Matrix, a record production team consisting of Lauren Christy, Graham Edwards and Scott Spock had "just come off the back of a very successful little run" with three number one hits with Avril Lavigne when Disney approached them and asked if they would be interested in writing for Duff. They agreed and called Midnight, who had already been involved in the project.

Christy cited him as one of her favorite writers and her mentor. Being familiar with their work, meeting with The Matrix was "very exciting" for Duff. Upon hearing the demos for "So Yesterday", "Where Did I Go Right?" and "The Math" (performed by Christy),  Hollywood Records "immediately loved them".

Composition

Kara DioGuardi wrote "Come Clean" with John Shanks as a "personal statement" to herself. At the time, she had just finished work on Marc Anthony's sixth studio album, "Mended" and was "really, really uninspired writing to tracks".

DioGuardi felt as if it was "very binding", as "the melodies had to be within the constraints of what was going on in the tracks". According to her, the song was "kind of this statement for [herself]", as she was "getting away from all of that" and "going to go back to the way it should be done in music".

"Little Voice" was written by DioGuardi and Patrik Berger for Swedish singer Sahlene.

After Recke chose the songs, DioGuardi had the task of rewriting some of the song's lyrics to make them more appropriate for Duff's demographic.

According to Recke: "Kara got [it]. It morphed into this really cool creative relationship that Hilary and Kara developed. What I always loved about Kara was she wrote like an artist, not as a typical songwriter. I think that's what really connected with Hilary." Duff herself credits DioGuardi as helping her find her "voice".

Duff loved the recording process of "Come Clean", having a "good time" in the studio with Shanks, who produced the song. According to Duff, he was "really, really, really great" about making her feel comfortable in the studio.

DioGuardi's idea for the vocals on "Little Voice" were "very, very character—it was one of those songs that's more about the character of the vocal as opposed to being a more straight-to-the-middle kind of vocal performance".

According to Bennett, the song's producer, "it was kind of an acting job as opposed to a more traditional approach" for Duff.

"Inner Strength" was an "awesome experience" for Duff, as it was the first time that she and her sister Haylie wrote together.

Writing with Haylie was a "specific comfort place" for her at the time, as her life had been changing "so fast and so quickly". According to Duff, "it was kind of scary and a lot of times I felt alone or criticized".

Haylie used to write a lot of poetry and when she was 16 she wrote a poem about sweet sixteen. She read it for my family and Duff suggested that they make it into a song, which became "Sweet Sixteen".

Christy found writing the songs for Duff as "really fun and easy."

The Matrix had just completed their work with Avril Lavigne on her debut studio album "Let Go" at the time, so they were "in that zone".[2] The Matrix knew that they had a hit on their hands as soon as they began working on "So Yesterday".

When Duff heard the song for the first time, she was very unsure about it. Despite her reluctance to do the song, she recorded it and once Hollywood Records heard it, "everybody started sort of freaking out".

She later recalled, in August 2013, that it was not one of her favorite songs, but that it "definitely grew on [her]".

Christy recalled the process of working with Duff as being "too easy".[2] She cited Duff as "just a professional" and that the one thing that she remembers the most from working on Metamorphosis was that Duff is a "real worker".

According to Christy, "Where Did I Go Right?" and "So Yesterday" are among her favorite songs that she has ever written.

As she had already worked with Midnight in the past, he already knew what "she wanted to talk about and what she was going through at that time".

For "Metamorphosis", Bennett, Midnight and Duff had discussions about "all these changes that were going on" in her life. Bennett wrote the track and then got together with Midnight to compose the lyrics and the melody.

Duff had only a couple of days to record the vocals for "Metamorphosis", as she was also working on a film at the time. As Bennett was putting the song together he realized that he had a "different spin on the melody", so she went back into the studio to "lay down a different melody" for the chorus at the last minute. Duff's "really strong work ethic" greatly impressed Bennett.

Duff described the album as "pop music [that] has some more rock and edginess to it"; she said the type of music was "somewhere in between" pop and "hardcore rock", but that she did not know how to explain it.

According to her, there is "a lot of different music" on Metamorphosis that she finds difficult to categorise.

The music on the album is "a little different" from her previous music because, according to her, the album "has all the kinds of music I like to listen to". She said that there are many "different sounds" on the album, such as rock and electronic, and "a whole range" of tempos, including "deep, slow" tracks and "high-energy" songs to provide her with a "boost".

According to Duff, everyone experiences varied feelings and moods, and they can "feel a bit better" by playing their favorite song.

Rolling Stone magazine described the album as "a slick collection of pop songs, master-crafted to appeal to huge numbers of young people".

Duff told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2005 she was under the control of the record label during the making of Metamorphosis and her second self-titled album and could not incorporate the sound she wanted into her recordings. She said the production "[had] been mastered and sounds really pretty ... If I could change it, I would, and it would sound [less pop]. My name is Hilary Duff, and I don't know why I don't get to make Hilary Duff music."

In spite of the release of "Santa Claus Lane", "Metamorphosis" is considered Duff's "proper" debut album.

Duff said the album represented "kind of a change" because it was "kind of different" from anything she had previously done; as she put it, "We called the album Metamorphosis because it's about changes that everybody experiences".

Duff called change "a very important and natural thing", saying that the album was a good way to introduce everyone to "the real me" because, in her words, "Everyone evolves and changes".

She said she was "excited" about Metamorphosis because it represented her rather than characters she played: "It's more personal than acting", she said; however, she said that the album was "not just about me".

Duff said she believed her music provided a way for people to get to disassociate her from her Lizzie McGuire persona, a goal she said was "so important to me".

She described it as "definitely stuff that everybody my age can relate to." She characterized the recording process as "cool" because the songs are strongly related to her personal life.

The album opens with its lead single "So Yesterday," that according to Duff is an empowering song about breaking up with someone and getting over it. The song (that incorporates elements of pop and rock music) was cited as having influences of Avril Lavigne.

The second song on the album, and second single, "Come Clean" documents a relationship between a boy and a girl who feel they are "in the dark" about each other; in Duff's words: "they're coming clean, whether it means they're gonna be together or not."

"Little Voice," a cover of the 2000 single "The Little Voice" by Swedish recording artist Sahlene, is the album's third single. The song speaks of having a conversation with ones conscience.

"Sweet Sixteen" is a song by Haylie Duff described as being "a really fun song that totally relates to [her] life right now."

The album's title track "Metamorphosis" is a song about "getting over a boy." Duff insisted the song was not about fellow singer and ex-boyfriend Aaron Carter, with whom she was rumored to have broken up after a fight.

"Inner Strength," another contribution of Haylie Duff, is described by as "very empowering and uplifting" and "really beautiful".

The final song on the album, "Why Not," was previously released on the soundtrack for The Lizzie McGuire Movie, a film in which Duff starred.

Chart Performance

Critical Reception

Promotion

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