Most Wanted is Hilary Duff's first compliation album that was released on August 10, 2005 by Hollywood Records.
- Wake Up 3:38
- The Getaway 3:37
- Beat Of My Heart 3:09
- Come Clean (Remix 2005) 3:44
- Mr. James Dean 3:29
- So Yesterday 3:35
- Metamorphosis 3:27
- Rock This World (Remix 2005) 3:38
- Break My Heart 3:20
- Fly 3:43
- Girl Can Rock 3:05
- Our Lips Are Sealed 2:40
- Why Not (Remix 2005) 2:57
- I Am 4:03
Following Hollywood's reported disappointment in the lack of sales longevity of the "Hilary Duff" album and the chart performance of "Fly", all further single releases from the album in the United States were cancelled and the "Most Wanted" project was quickly conceived.
On May 20, 2005, MTV News reported that Duff would be releasing a new album in August, comprising previously released tracks and four new recordings; it was also announced that preceding the album's release, Duff would begin a 32-date summer concert tour in support of the album.
Four days later, on May 24, 2005, the album's title was revealed to be Most Wanted, and the album's release date was announced to be August 16, 2005.
The following month, in an interview with MTV News, Duff said that she had been working with brothers Joel and Benji Madden, of the American rock band Good Charlotte, and Jason Epperson (together known under the production name the Dead Executives) to write and produce new songs for the compilation. Duff said that " ... they're three of my favorite songs I've ever done. ... It was really fun being in the studio with them."
Described by Duff as the first time when "all the responsibility was on [her]", she went into the recording studio without the guidance of her record label or management.
According to Duff, she did not tell anyone at her record label that she was working with the Dead Executives.
Joel (whom Duff had been dating at the time) was aware that she needed new material for a compilation album, and knew that she wanted a "totally different sound." Together, the Dead Executives went into the recording studio and worked on new music for Duff, before bringing her into the studio to collectively work on them.
Duff described working with them as pleasant, and the music as a new milestone in her career, stating that working with "people you're close with makes a world of difference when you're recording and being creative."
At the same time, Duff was also nervous about how her fans would react to the new music. She recorded four tracks for the album three of which appear on the standard edition of the album: "Wake Up", "Beat of My Heart" and "Break My Heart" while the fourth appears only on the deluxe edition: "Supergirl".
The song was penned by Duff alongside Kara DioGuardi and Greg Wells. The track listing for Most Wanted was revealed on July 12, 2005 and the album was released on August 16, 2005 in the United States and Canada.
The Japanese standard edition of the album features the same track listing as The Collector's Signature Edition, with additional remixes of "Wake Up" by DJ Kaya, and was released on August 10, 2005.
Another version with a bonus DVD including music videos to selected songs and "making of" clips was also released in the same region.
In the United States, the iTunes digital version of "Most Wanted" includes an interview with Duff. A deluxe edition of the album, subtitled The Collector's Signature Edition, was also released, containing an acoustic version of "Who's That Girl?", an alternate version of "Jericho" and a remix of "Party Up" along with "Supergirl".
The pressing features a different album art and was packed with four autographed photo cards and a wristband.
The album also contains 10 previously released tracks from Duff's albums "Metamorphosis" and "Hilary Duff" as well as songs from soundtracks of her films "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" & "A Cinderella Story", three of which ("Come Clean", "Rock This World" and "Why Not") are in a remixed form.
The opening track "Wake Up" is a mid-tempo number backed by dance, pop & electronic beats, and has "a more mature pop-techno sound" than Duff's previous work. Its instrumentation includes a guitar, bass and drums.
Kelefa Anneth of The New York Times noted that the song contains musical influences of The Go-Go's. The lyrics of the song speak about having fun.
Duff initially sings about the consequences of her fame and how people think they know "everything about [me]" ("There's people talking / They talk about me / They know my name / They think they know everything / But they don't know anything about me").
As the chorus draws near, the song takes on a "party anthem" approach, where Duff discusses the "struggle" for joy and self-confidence: "I know I make mistakes / I'm living life day to day / It's never really easy but it's OK..."
According to Duff, the song "makes you want to forget about all the pressure of dealing with your boss, or your teacher, or your mom, or [whoever]," and lyrically discusses "getting out and not forgetting to have some fun."
Duff has also said the song also "talks about being in all [my] favorite places in the world, which is Tokyo and Paris and London and New York."
"Beat of My Heart", the third track on the album, is inspired by the new wave genre. The song also draws influences from the bubblegum pop and dance genres. It carries a "soft electronic pop" sound and has the heart beat sound as its base.
According to Chuck Taylor of Billboard magazine, the word 'beat of my heart' is repeated 44 times in the song.
The next new track and the ninth track on the album, "Break My Heart" is another dance-inspired number incorporating pop punk elements and was described as a "highly produced four-on-the-floor rocker." The song interpolates "slick and clean 'punk' guitars and a chugging rhythm".
"Break My Heart" leans more towards the rock genre and was compared to the works of Good Charlotte. The lyrics describe the feelings faced by the protagonist, following her heartbreak.
Bill Lamb of About.com observed that "Beat of My Heart" and "Break My Heart" were "cookie cutter copies" of Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi."
"Come Clean", "Why Not" and "Rock This World" are featured as remixes in the album.
According to Spence D. of IGN, "Come Clean", remixed by Chris Cox exhibits elements of house music while "Rock This World" displays "Kid Rock-meets-Aerosmith rock blitz". He classified the remix of "Why Not" as a "hyperkinetic pop" sped-up to a "level of sugar high bounce".
Another remix, of the Diane Warren-penned "I Am", is included as a hidden track, with added synths to give it a '80s indie feel.
The version of "Girl Can Rock" featured on the album, according to Anthony Miccio of Baltimore City Paper has a chord progression similar to the song "Cherry Pie" by American band Warrant. The song displays elements of country music and the lyrics are a "statement of purpose". Duff sings the chorus, backed by a guitar: "It ain't no shock/ The girl can rock".
In the United States, "Most Wanted" debuted at number one, with sales of over 208,000 units. It became her first album to debut at the top, and her second album to top the chart after Metamorphosis." It stayed at the same position in its second week of release, after a 40% drop in sales.
In September 2005, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIIA) for shipments of over one million copies.
By January 13, 2007, the album had sold over 1,400,000 copies in the United States. In Canada, the album became Duff's third consecutive album to debut at number one, selling 45,000 units in its initial week.
In December 2005, it was certified two times platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) for shipments of over 200,000 copies.
In Australia, the album debuted at number three and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments of over 70,000 copies. In New Zealand, it debuted at #17 and two weeks later, peaked at number 10 becoming Duff's first and only top 10 entry in New Zealand, to date.
As of July 27, 2014, "Most Wanted" had sold 1,489,000 million copies in the United States.
Overseas, in the United Kingdom, Most Wanted debuted at number 31, with first-week sales of 10,661 copies and stayed on the chart for a total of five weeks; it was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 100,000 copies in January 2006.
"Most Wanted" peaked at number eight on the Irish Albums Chart and stayed on the charts for eighteen weeks, with its final appearance on the chart at number sixty-nine. It was certified gold by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) denoting sales/shipments of 7,500 copies.
In Japan, the album debuted at number three on the Oricon charts, with sales of 38892 units. It stayed on the chart for fourteen weeks and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ).
"Most Wanted" also peaked within the top 10 in Italy and Ireland, and the top fifty in Mexico and Spain.
Due to its appearance on many European charts, it peaked at number 59 on the European Albums Chart, as compiled by Billboard's Music & Media.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic gave a mixed review of "Most Wanted", stating that "hardcore fans will be hard-pressed for a reason to add this to their collection" and that the new songs ("Wake Up", "Beat of My Heart" and "Break My Heart") "sound a bit like leftovers."
Although he wrote that the album "isn't a terrible album by any means, it's not particularly a good one, since Duff's two pop albums [Metamorphosis (2003) and Hilary Duff (2004)] have distinctive personalities that don't necessarily mesh together [...], and are both more fun than this."
Bill Lamb of About.com noted that the three new songs "seem to be marking time instead of finding a new direction" but said that "[the] remaining bulk of this collection is strong."
Anthony Miccio, from the Baltimore City Paper, wrote that the album "doesn't signify the closure of a brief career", but is "meant to satisfy an audience that won't be offended by the opportunity to buy their favorite songs again and again."
He noted that Duff's voice was not strong enough and stated that the "rock tracks are surprisingly sluggish."
Talia Kraines of BBC Music commented that " ... there isn't enough here to warrant a purchase if you're already the owner of her back catalogue. But if you're after your first taste of Duff-flavoured pop to listen to in the background as you do your homework, then this album can do no harm."
Spence D. of IGN stated that "the only draw for this album are the three new tracks and the three remixes."
He further commented that "Most Wanted" is a "filler album" and that "[T]he new songs that are served up still show Duff chasing trends rather than setting them and actively searching for her own voice and image."
Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine was critical of the album writing he "literally laughed out loud when I heard the Duffster was releasing a best-of album titled Most Wanted." He praised the Dead Executives produced tracks and concluded the review by writing that "apparently there aren't even enough bearable moments in Duff's recording career to fill one CD".
Gabriel Leong of MTV Southeast Asia started the review by writing: "A greatest hits album seems a tad flagrant when you've only had two albums so far. So let's call this one a compilation album instead." Leong noted that the title fitted the album perfectly and that it proves "its innocuous appeal of infectious bubblegum pop."
David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer commented that it was "a little early in the career" to release a greatest hits album and that it showcased that "Duff is more product than talent."
Aidin Vaziri of San Francisco Chronicle also commented that it was premature as it was too early in Duff's career to release a greatest hits compilation. He commended the new tracks produced by the Dead Executives writing that they "help alleviate the feeling that this is a total cash grab."
In 2006, Rolling Stone included the album in their Lamest Greatest Hits Albums Ever list.
To promote the album, Duff embarked on a worldwide arena tour called the "Still Most Wanted Tour" which began on July 12, 2005 in Los Angeles, California at the Greek Theatre with a United States leg. Following the US leg in September, it visited Australia in December of 2005
In January of 2006, Duff made her Canadian touring debut before heading off to Europe in April. After that, she visited Latin America before closing the tour up with various dates in North America from June to September 2006.
The set list contained songs from "Metamorphosis" & "Hilary Duff." She also premiered "Wake Up," "Beat of My Heart" and "Break My Heart" on the tour.