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Music Review

Duff, and her tunes, are all dolled up

Hilary Duff, seen in New York state earlier this week, brought her sparkly pop to town. Hilary Duff, seen in New York state earlier this week, brought her sparkly pop to town. (mike okoniewski/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

If Barbie were a pop star, she would be Hilary Duff. Duff came to Boston on Thursday, and Barbie was in the house: sparkly gold shorts, pretty plastic voice, devoted little girls, mall-friendly electro pop. If Malibu Barbie had a record deal, this would totally be her sound.

Duff materialized, oiled and golden on a pedestal, ready for her close-up. Lights flashed and hot dancers blew across the stage and the band played and Duff sang. Nothing sounded real, but everything sounded good. Perfect, in fact.

The 19-year-old star - one of a dying breed of Hollywood good girls whose legions of young fans first fell for her as Disney's "Lizzie McGuire" - isn't a natural on the concert stage. But for 90 minutes Duff made the most of her winning smile and trendy outfits, to which the songs seemed a brilliantly programmed soundtrack. She sang many of the tasty club confections from her new album, "Dignity," and dressed up several of her older pop tunes in synths and rock guitar. "Beat of My Heart," a bubble-headed but infectious ditty from 2005, segued into a pulsating cover of the Go-Gos' "Our Lips Are Sealed," and the symmetry was new-wave poetry.

Duff, being the courteous sort, paid tribute to her influences. She transformed Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" from a bitter anthem into a girl-power singalong, which struck an audience-appropriate, if musically deflated, chord. Bob Marley, one can safely say, is not one of Duff's personal heroes. Inserting a chant of "everything's gonna be all right" from "No Woman No Cry" into the middle of "So Yesterday" was a good-taste gesture all but lost on the screaming tweens, who filled roughly two-thirds of the Pavilion. And it wasn't even a school night.

Boston power-pop quintet the Click Five, armed with an animated new frontman and a fresh dose of retro-rock edge, earned their own share of screaming thanks to candied hooks, tight harmonies, and adorable shag haircuts. "Jenny," the single from the group's new disc, "Modern Minds and Pastimes," is the greatest hit Weezer never wrote.

Joan Anderman can be reached at For more on music visit music/blog.

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Hilary Duff

With the Click Five

At: Bank of America Pavilion, Thursday