Recommended Tracks: “Pretty Places”, “Slow Dancing”, “Paradise”, “Hold Out”
Artists You May Like: Fickle Friends, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tessa Violet
Imagine you’re driving: sun warming your skin, wind rushing through the open windows, and the smell of spring blending into summer sweeping around you. That is the timeless feeling that Aly & AJ have encapsulated with their new album, a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun.
From the first track, “Pretty Places,” the duo pulls you along on the hunt for serenity and out of the gloom of the past year. The soft, acoustic style of the song feels like sunshine after dreary days, and draws you in with a hopeful invitation: “I’ll go anywhere / all I need is you.”
A motif of nostalgia is carried from the first note to the last, and shines especially bright on “Slow Dancing.” The lyrics allude to worldly conflicts, and lines such as, “Hell’s bending, keeping me captive / Heaven’s here, it’s right where you’re standing,” share a common sentiment of longing. This song serves as a glimmer amidst that feeling and reminds you that there were times worth remembering before, and there will be again.
The title for the album originated from “Don’t Need Nothing,” the ninth track. With it’s staccato, march-like beat, the song feels like an anthem. It’s a commitment to keep moving forward, especially when you have days that are tinged with grey, where you don’t want to get out of bed at all. While the track is minimalistic lyrically, it’s a great wake-up alarm and easily gets you pumped for the day. More deeply, it is a reminder to lean into things that you love when you are having a hard time.
Across the 12-track record, most of the songs feature guitar, bass, and synth. However, their lyrical contents and styles vary, and this creates a pleasant spectrum of relatable, fun, and uplifting songs. Each one has its own vibe and message to express, yet they still mesh well in the grand scheme. The album instrumentals were recorded using a live band (and many precautions), and this also contributes to a well-balanced picture.
Yves Rothman served as the main producer, and is credited for encouraging Aly & AJ to tap into their personal California-centric lifestyles. While they sing about running from pretentious parties, they also sing about the natural pull for a life of meaning. To them, it is defined by seeking peace while going through pain, choosing purposes for living, and wanting someone there to share the journey. The message of the album is clear: you choose how you define your life, all it takes is a step out and into the sun.