Aly & AJ have spent over a decade putting an eternal creative truth into practice: you don’t find your voice by waiting around; you create it, by writing through. After rising to fame as teen stars in the worlds of Disney pop and TV sitcoms—beloved right at the cross-section of millennials and Gen Z, as evidenced by the recent runway TikTok revival of their 2007 kiss-off “Potential Breakup Song”—the sisters have quietly worked on songs. They chiseled away at their craft, manifesting themselves honestly.
Their first album in 14 years is called a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun, which is just right. This long and winding name befits their singular journey through music, a title full of rhythm and poetry, but with an ease and a brightness: All qualities that help define the newly independent sound of Aly & AJ. Having survived the slick, hyper-manicured pop sphere with their souls in tact, the Torrance, California-born duo—and lifelong musical collaborators—have transformed their sound into something looser and more personal. (Along the way, they produced the 2015 Richard Linklater-inspired film, Weepah Way for Now, based on their own experiences of sisterhood, stardom, and growth.)
Aly & AJ are now at a point where they can celebrate their unique past—“We’ve become these accidental TikTok queens,” AJ laughs—while staying true to a vision that feels right to them. In an inspiring turn, they even re-recorded “Potential Breakup Song,” ridding it of the AutoTune that defined so much 2000s pop and singing an explicit update of the lyrics (which their fans had been requesting for years). “It’s funny to have been making music together for so long, to be able to finish each other’s sentences and perfectly match our voices to each other,” Aly reflects. “Some people will ask, ‘Who’s singing on this?’ And it’s both of us: our third voice. We have a third voice that comes from my and AJ’s voices together.”