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"Greatest hits" loses meaning thanks to Hilary's new album

Ruth Swanson | Interrobang | Opinion | August 29th, 2005



Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Hilary Duff is releasing a Greatest Hits album, and that makes me sad. It makes me want to crawl under a rock, unplug my radio and die.

Maybe I missed something here, but I always thought that a greatest hits album was a collection of the best examples of a prolific career; Led Zeppelin, the Doors, ACDC, Pearl Jam and even the Tragically Hip have traveled the globe, spent days and months in crammed studios writing, recording, rewriting and re-recording songs resulting in blood and sweat albums, sewn together by sleepless nights, band fights and broken hearts.

So when I hear the term, “Greatest Hits” attached to a 20-something teen pop star, forgive me if I'm more than a little skeptical. After all, the girl only released two previous albums, and of the whopping 30 songs she's recorded, I can only think of two or three singles that have actually been on the radio. And one of them was a cover song.

Her career has had a three-year run, and most of it hasn't even been in music. Even at her current rate of an album a year, one or two hits per album, she shouldn't even be considering a hits album until 2011.
So I ask, what exactly is on this Greatest Hits album? Well, it contains “all” of her hits, plus some other songs on her previous albums that no one has ever heard of, three remixes and three new songs.

I think this attempt to capitalize on the bored, Ritalin-filled pre-teens with too much allowance is pathetic. The only reason recordings like this happen is because the artist can't keep their fans interested with one good album, and has to release a new one as soon as possible to stay on top. But the process of creating an entire album takes time — Metallica waited five years before their next release following the Black Album, and the Stones are releasing their first studio album in a decade — if Duff waited five years, her fans would be lawyers and doctors and certainly not listening to a cotton candy story about kissing boys and then giggling to your girlfriends at the Friday night sleepover.

These days, it is absolutely inconceivable that someone like Hilary Duff will be around long enough to actually write and release enough songs to have a disc-worthy collection of songs that are actually better than others.


On the other side of this argument, I also heard that Def Leppard is releasing a Greatest Hits compilation. Now that is an album that I can support. I'm not a huge Def Leppard fan, but I give the band credit — they've been around for 25 years, and have released 12 albums. Countless singles have been somewhere on the charts, with a number of them ending up at number one.

I should also mention that a lot of Def Leppard's hits were recorded after their drummer lost an arm in a car accident.

What would Hilary Duff do in the face of such adversity? What if she lost an appendage? It likely wouldn't affect her, since she doesn't play any of her own instruments, although she would probably start a designer prosthetics line to match her “Stuff by Duff” and feature the new plastic limb in her upcoming Nickelodeon films.

It makes me wonder just how important having a greatest hits compilation really is to a musician's career. Perhaps it is some sort of right of passage that all musicians need to go through in order to get into the ultra-exclusive night clubs, or the very best treatment at the rehab centres and clinics. But whatever the reason, it should not be allowed to happen until an artist has truly earned it, which Hilary most definitely has not.

If you like the Hilary Duff album, you can send hate mail to vercaffinated@hotmail.com
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