Updated: Mar 7, 2021
by Jackie Torres (’22) & Madeline Turner (‘23)
After a ten-year hiatus, the platinum-selling duo Aly and AJ began releasing music again in 2017, with their EP Ten Years. Ever since, they have been on a roll, even re-recording an explicit version of “Potential Breakup Song” in December 2020, after the original went viral on TikTok. Through their most recent releases, Aly and AJ have managed to stay true to their voice while simultaneously producing music that continues to resonate with their now adult audience, who grew up watching and listening to them on Disney Channel.
The music video for their first single of 2021, “Listen!!!” explores femininity and coming of age while juxtaposed with lyrics that speak to being held hostage in a bad relationship.
In the video, we see the pair appear in front of AJ’s garage door, each slinging a sleek Fender guitar and wearing white jumpsuits. Between clips of Aly and AJ fervently jamming on their guitars and eating slices of pizza, we see flashes of historic film reels and carefully crafted choreography from Milka Djordjevich.
In an exclusive Zoom “campfire” event hosted by In2une Music on January 21, the alternative pop-rock sisters shared that they don’t usually incorporate choreo into their music videos. With Aly’s husband being a filmmaker and AJ’s boyfriend being an actor, they wanted to tie in their personal experiences with videography and editing to create something unique with “Listen!!!.”
The clips of women in vintage clothes, dancers wearing masks—a nod to the current unending struggle with COVID-19—and flowers opening and closing increase in intensity throughout the video, while the singers shift from expressing their frustration (“I tried to empathize/But you’re so dismissive”) to taking charge (“I might be lost but I know my way out”). All these elements combined create an excellent retro atmosphere for the music video.
“Listen!!!” was almost entirely produced and performed by a female team, which speaks to the tone of the song, as the duo’s lyrics seem to address the struggle of women to feel heard and respected. Following the video’s release, director Susanna Howe commented on Instagram how the song is “fast becoming an anthem for all the women who may not be listened to enough.”
The song is an empowering exploration of the importance of trusting your inner strength. The sound and video, while they evoke a mid-2000s pop nostalgia, feel firmly grounded in the modern landscape, both in lyrics and imagery. Aly and AJ have succeeded in putting out music that bodes well with old and new fans alike, and if their newest single is any indication that whatever comes next will be just as refreshing and nostalgic as “Listen!!!,” we have a lot to look forward to!
Aly & AJ will be releasing a few more singles before the full album comes out in spring 2021. You can check them out on Youtube or Spotify and be sure to stay tuned for WVBR’s upcoming conversation with the icons themselves!