If, like me, you grew up watching Disney Channel, it was pretty much guaranteed that you were a fan of Aly & AJ. The pop-rock sister duo dominated movies like Cow Belles, shows like Phil of the Future and so on.
I loved all of their songs and albums. Normally, looking back on some of the music I listened to while in my early tween years, songs by The Cheetah Girls come to mind and I cringe with embarrassment and question my musical choices.
However, when I reminisce about my Aly & AJ days its different. I’m surprised at how good their music still sounds. In particular, their album ‘Insomniatic’. If they’d released this album in 2015, I dare to say critics would eat it up just as much as they did back then.
At the time, Sputnikmusic wrote positively about the album, declaring it “an underrated pop-rock album with solid songwriting, stellar production, and first-rate vocals.” Journalist Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian rated the album an A, praising “the effect of which is to leave the listener suspended between hyped-up delight and despair at the micro-produced perfection of it all.”
Often the past has a way of creeping up on us. It’s lurking in a movie from our childhoods, the frozen faded smiles in a photograph, or in this case, a smash pop/electro-rock album from 2007.
2007 was a magical milestone of a year to say the least.
The first iPhone was released, President Obama announced his candidacy for the White House, and the final Harry Potter book was released. It marked the beginning of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and was also the time when Nelly Furtado and Rihanna ruled the charts.
It was also the year when I became a true Aly & AJ fan. Of course being in sixth grade at the time, all the girls in my class were fans of them. It was a no-brainer to listen to their music.
But I still remember everything about that album.
I remember loving the edgy guitar riffs and head-banging drums on ‘Insomniatic’. Everything about the song was cool, and looking back it probably set the tone for my love of rock music today. (Okay that’s a slight exaggeration, I did grow up listening to The Rolling Stones 24/7- but that’s beside the point.)
I remember jamming to the dance-ready ‘Like Whoa’ with its upbeat energy. Reviewer Todd Sterling had accurately described ‘Like Whoa‘ as “a penetrating, bass driven cut compares the sensation of falling in love with a rollercoaster ride. The song, lathered in slippery keyboard effects and programmed drums, is a melodically layered chunk of pop candy.”
And I distinctly recall loving the track ‘Closure’ in all its glossy pop glory. Well, I loved it as much as any eleven-year-old could have, without understanding the meaning of the word closure.
So this is a PSA to Aly and AJ, who have changed their name to 78Violet and since released a beautiful folky single back in 2013:
Now as pretty as this song was, I want to see some edgy pop-rock again.
It’s time for Aly and AJ to get back to being the pop princesses we love and remember. Eleven-year-old me would appreciate it.
Article by Natalie Harmsen