the Buzz for November 19th, 2008


Considering that her last best of set — 2006’s divine Most Wanted, the “collector’s edition” of which came in the coolest black cardboard box bundled with the first music-related poster since George Michael’s Faith days (Lord Jesus, that stubble! And that cross earring!!) that I’ve seriously pondered Scotch-taping to my wall — only came out two years ago, does it land on the side of overkill? Probably. (Sherry Ann even went so far as to term it “ridiculous” in a recent instant message session, although, given the issues she’s facing with Jason Mraz and his flip insistence on re-releasing the same material over and over and over, she’s scarcely in a position to judge.) Is it a worthwhile investment nonetheless? You betcha.

Featuring two new tracks — and, just for good measure, remixes of those two new tracks — plus a handful of past classics, The Best of Hilary Duff can now be found at your local record store, and with its bargain list price (below ten bucks at Best Buy, kids), it might just be the steal of the season.

In part, you can thank the incredible Ryan Tedder for that. Tedder, the driving force behind OneRepublic (hands down, the year’s best new band, as A is bound to learn when we see them play in Austin this evening), also moonlights as one of the most in-demand songwriters and producers in the pop world today — he’s had his hand in so much of 2008’s brilliant music, from Leona Lewis to Natasha Bedingfield to Josh Hoge to James Morrison, above and beyond what his band itself accomplished, that my upcoming year-end countdown is gonna seem like a shrine to the poor man — and he is the man behind those aforementioned new Duff tunes: “Reach Out,” a sly, dynamite reworking of the 1991 Depeche Mode classic “Personal Jesus” (the lyrics are now not as subversive by half, but on that legendary refrain, the one that goes “reach out / and touch me!” (and don’t even play like you can’t sing it by heart!), Duff matches Martin Gore’s iconic come-hither growl bar for bar, believe it); and “Holiday” (not a cover of Madonna’s 1984 breakthrough, but rather a devastating chronicle of the end of a relationship, delivered by Duff with the shattering ease and grace of a young Streisand).

Not to be overlooked on this album are the classic Duff smashes of yore, like last year’s “With Love” or her 2003 tours de force “Come Clean” and “So Yesterday” (the latter of which, in particular, has aged as flawlessly as one of A’s favored zinfandels), and if the price of access to those sparkling new Tedder tunes is having to sit through these songs one more time, I reckon I can totally live with that.

In other words, keep doin’ your thing, Hilary. The Buzz loves ya, gal.