Beats from the Basment—Aly & AJ

Album: into the rush
Artist: Aly & AJ

The record came at an ideal time: Aly was at the peak of her popularity as an actress, and having a couple cover songs by famous recording artists helps bring attention to newcomers as well as giving them an opportunity to showcase their talent.  Although I enjoy the originals, both “Walking On Sunshine” and “Do You Believe In Magic” by The Lovin’ Spoonful are nonetheless well-suited to the duo’s cute and youthful voices.  The wholesome lyrics matched their image at the time, and the updated production preserves those unforgettable tunes.  The covers also add to the upbeat songs on into the rush while balancing out the ones that deal with heavier subject matter.

But, truthfully, the latter is where the focus should be when discussing Aly & AJ, because their other songs address several different (unfortunate) experiences youth may have as they’re growing up.  They weren’t stuck on the usual theme of high school crushes like Duff and many other teen stars tended to be around that time.  Despite the album’s poppy nature, the sisters don’t entirely sugarcoat issues of bullying, neglect, and tragedy in their lyrics.  They understandably couldn’t get too explicit for the average listener, but it nevertheless showed they were paying attention to affected children who need support and perhaps painted a picture for those who were unaware.

The tracks that have gotten them the most attention, however, are those that deal with personal identity.  Even the romantically-charged ones are flexibly written in that they could plausibly describe various types of relationships—and by extension, could apply to any orientation.  As a result, the sisters’ music resonates strongly with the LGBTQ+ community.  I’ve covered artists who identify as members before, namely Ricky Martin and the Indigo Girls, but those albums aren’t necessarily targeted toward the community, nor are they as easily interpretive as into the rush is.

Aly & AJ were ahead of their time in the sense that their album opened up these types of discussions among young people instead of just adults.  It doesn’t all have to be solemn, however.  Their first single, “Rush,”, is invigorating in its sound and empowering in its words, telling the audience to never stop being themselves—whoever they are—and that they can’t give up when they don’t know what’s possible.

“No One,”, their second single, follows along these similar lines but is laid-back and far more introspective.  The duo rightfully kept it short, otherwise the slow strumming on the guitar and drawn out notes would’ve gotten boring quickly.

Their current image may be much bolder, but Aly & AJ’s work continues to speak to fans who may need a voice themselves.  I’m happy the girls are signed with an independent label, which means they have a lot more control over their concepts and we get to hear candid thoughts I’m sure even more of us can relate to.