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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Jul
Sounds like … pop with a decidedly "chick rock" edge a la Kelly Clarkson, Krystal Meyers, and Avril LavigneAt a glance … though their music isn't particularly substantive spiritually, Aly & AJ's counterculture view on relationships still sets them apart from their peers.Track Listing Potential Breakup Song
Like It or Leave It
Like Whoa
If I Could Have You Back
I'm Here
Chemicals React

Unlike many of their peers, siblings Aly & AJ Michalka have always taken ownership of their songs from a songwriting perspective—a classy move that immediately puts them up a notch in my book. But like recent releases from Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, and labelmate Hilary Duff, Aly & AJ seem eager to prove they're all grown up on Insomniatic.

In one sense, it's refreshing to hear something more substantive from this pair than, "Oh my gosh, my boyfriend is like sooo cute and stuff." Delightfully pensive and well-executed tracks like "Potential Breakup Song" and "Closure" convincingly deliver the goods from two girls who've clearly endured love's hard knocks.

Unfortunately, these diary-like confessions don't deviate much from the "love stinks" school of writing. The angst gets exhausting, to the point where it's hard to make the transition to the celebratory strains of "Like Whoa" in which they sing, "Life is good/I can't complain." Yeah, but what have you been doing for the last five songs, hmm?

Those hoping for spiritual enrichment from the girls won't find much of that in the lyrics either, though they do thank "God from whom all blessings flow" in the liner notes. "Blush" is a clear and outspoken testament against pre-marital sex, a refreshing change in perspective in mainstream pop music. But the rest of Insomniatic is a missed opportunity for other more redemptive themes.

Rather than pointing to the One who gets you through the tough times, Aly & AJ prefer to vent. Of course, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that in this case, but one hopes for something less spiritually ambiguous than "I'm Here" with it's is-this-about-God-or-my-boyfriend sentiments: "The past can't have a hold on us/For you my heart will give its trust/I don't ask much of you, just need your love." Perhaps future projects will allow Aly & AJ to mature further and explore a broader range of themes, including faith.

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