Aly & AJ Announce First Album in 14 Years: 'It Feels Like the First Time'
Aly & AJ are embarking on a new era.
On Tuesday, the sister act of Aly, 31, and AJ Michalka, 29, announced that their first album in 14 years — a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun — will drop on May 7.
"It feels like the first time in a weird way, like making a record for the first time," Aly tells PEOPLE. "In a bizarre way, it feels like a record that you make as an artist without all of the jaded aspects that come with being an act that has been around for 15-plus years. That's kind of the exciting part for us with this album is that we weren't writing this for anyone specifically, we weren't writing this for radio — we wrote this for us, first and foremost, and our fans."
The duo grew up in the Disney world, singing with the company's Hollywood Records label in 2004. Between 2005 and 2007, they released three albums, Into the Rush, Acoustic Hearts of Winter and Insomniatic, which featured their beloved hit "Potential Breakup Song." That song took on a new life in 2020, when it became a viral hit on TikTok, more than a decade after it peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In December, Aly & AJ released an updated, explicit version of the song.
"We call it the PBS resurrection," AJ quips of the track's resurgence. "It truly made us so excited. I think to see that fans have caught on, whether it was a song they hadn't heard in 14 years or had never heard it, it just meant a lot to Aly and I, that, whether you're Gen Z or older, people are experiencing this nostalgic tune. Last year was a hard time for a lot of people, of course, and I think having a song like that, that kind of gets another moment to live and breathe, just added some positivity on social media. It just brings light to a really hard year."
Adds Aly: "And it brought us a lot of laughter as well. A lot of the TikToks that we were getting sent from friends made us laugh and then we would share them with each other, other friends. It was a very cool surprise."
Over the years, Aly & AJ have continued to make music, releasing pop-leaning EPs in 2017 (Ten Years) and 2019 (Sanctuary). For their next outing, a touch of the beat, the act is going for a more "timeless" vibe, as on new single "Pretty Places."
"It feels so good. I mean, I have to say, the last two EPs felt great too because we had taken such a long gap, and even though those weren't full studio albums, they still really represented where we were at that time as musicians," AJ says.
"The biggest inspiration of this record was to capture the sounds of the West coast and what we associate with being California kids. This album should make people get up on their feet and out and into life, and we hope that it brings people joy and happiness," Aly says. "This record has a really great energy to it, and we really can't wait to play it live. But it's a really positive record. I think that's something that AJ and I have always strived to portray in most of our music, but yeah, this album has a really positive and hopeful outlook.
"Kind of the way that classic records make you feel when you put them on in the car, or on vinyl at your house … there's just something different about those songs that make them feel so magical. They're kind of suspended in time. We wanted to write a record that felt like that, that no one would necessarily be able to pinpoint when that record was made, but that it just felt timeless and classic."
Adds AJ: "I'm just so proud of these songs."
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