You may remember sister duo Aly & AJ from their Radio Disney-friendly hit “Potential Breakup Song,” a 2007 teen pop classic about forgotten birthdays, idiot boyfriends, and reminding former and future suitors of how miserable they’d be without you. It’s an earworm in the vein of “Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez & the Scene, may we never forget: catchy, but probably not something you’d put on your party playlist today.
Fast forward a decade and the sisters are back with a new EP completely unlike anything we’ve heard from them before (which is, again, just the one song, but still). They’ve traded in their achingly anthemic pop sounds for cool and smart ‘80s-inspired synth. It’s a sonic evolution that perhaps no one expected, not least of all because it arrives ten complete human years after the duo’s last album. The EP, titled Ten Years (no beating around any bushes here) feels less like a splashy comeback and more like a grown-up reintroduction to a sensibility the sisters might’ve always had.
Ten Years is short and sweet, just four tracks—but the music speaks for itself. Each song is sleek and polished, perfectly nostalgic and also totally of this time. On their single “Take Me,” Aly and AJ sing cooly over smooth, pulsating synth. The glittery, glitchy hook on “I Know,”—a warped voice singing the title phrase over and over again—feels like it could be at home on a Blood Orange or Carly Rae Jepsen song. “Promises” takes a darker turn as the sisters intone, “All this is is another mistake, another mistake to check off my list.” On the whole, the songwriting on Ten Years is just solid, with subtly clever lines like “I know that you would want it / If I could sink my teeth into you.” This is a different duo than the one we knew before: music that’s less in-your-face, and lightyears more impressive.
Ten Years is now available to stream on Spotify. Check it out below.