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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Aly and AJ: a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun

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The pop duo Aly and AJ first found fame with their Disney Radio-friendly cover of “Do You Believe in Magic?” But the honey-blonde siblings, both teenagers at the time, became legends with their next hit, “Potential Breakup Song,” which has been pleasantly stuck in my head since 2007. An infectious bubblegum tune, it’s also a rejoinder to an insanely bad boyfriend: “It took too long / It took too long / It took too long / For you to call back,” it begins. “And normally I would just forget that / Except for the fact it was my birthday.” The silly lyrics, the slightly spooky synth, the boppy beat, it’s a classic that has been brought back to life thanks to TikTok, where it enjoys newfound popularity as one of the app’s many earworms. The sisters’ fourth album, their first in over 14 years, sees a sonic maturation, with indie instrumentation—big dreams, dilating synthesizers—alongside lyrical continuations of old themes. Its first single, “Listen!!!” is a grownup’s plea to yet another indifferent partner. —C.J.F.

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