Aly & A.J. (briefly known as 78violet) is a pop rock duo consisting of sisters Amanda Joy (AJ) and Alyson Michalka.
They were born in Torrance, California, but spent part of their childhood in Seattle, Washington. They are both actresses, singer-songwriters, piano players and guitarists. They signed a record deal with the Disney-owned label, Hollywood Records in 2004.
They released their debut studio album Into the Rush on August 17, 2005. The album debuted at number thirty six in the United States, selling over 24,000 copies in its first week and was later certified Platinum by the RIAA. Into the Rush was a socially conscious take on the preteen genre of pop rock.
Their second studio album Insomniatic, which was a Darker and Edgier Surprisingly Improved Sequel debuted at number fifteen in the United States, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week on the Billboard 200; this is their highest debut to date. Their second album's lead single "Potential Breakup Song" is their most successful single to date, it was certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales over 1,000,000 copies. The duo have also launched a franchise line which includes a doll series and book series.
With many rumors going around of the band changing their name, the duo announced that they would be changing their name to 78violet on On July 8, 2009.
On February 19, 2010, the duo announced on their official Facebook page that they were "no longer a part of Hollywood Records" and that the album they recorded for Hollywood Records probably won't be released. However, they are "continuing to write and record new songs".They have an official Twitter. They changed their name to 78violet in 2009, but after releasing only one single under the name changed it back to their original name in December 2015. In 2017, they released their first single in four years (nine if one merely counts it under the Aly & A.J. name), "Take Me".
They are currently working on their upcoming third album.
- Into the Rush (2005)
- Acoustic Hearts of Winter (2006)
- Insomniatic (2007)
- Ten Years (EP) (2017)
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted with "Hothouse", which is about how this person is bad and attractive, but they turn them down because they've done it before.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: "I'm Here", the ballad at the end of Insomniatic, and Insomniatic itself, after Into the Rush thematically.
- Be Yourself: "No One".
- Best Served Cold: "Potential Breakup Song", "Closure", "÷".
- Big Rock Ending: "I'm Here" ends with the Boléro Effect, then a long brooding fade-out of drums.
- Break Up Song: "Out of the Blue", "Collapsed", "Flattery", "I'm Here", "÷", "Closure", "Potential Breakup Song" (natch), "If I Could Have You Back", "Silence".
- Careful with That Axe: "Like It or Leave It", "Potential Breakup Song", and others.
- Christmas Songs: Acoustic Hearts of Winter.
- Cover Version: "Do You Believe in Magic", "Walking on Sunshine", "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree".
- Creator Breakdown:
- "Flattery" is one of the saddest songs the duo has written, about an extremely conflicted relationship break down.
- "Out of the Blue" is about manipulative people ruining a young relationship, so extremely personal and heart breaking for the pair of them.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The first half of Insomniatic is light and fluffy, and the moody moments are more tongue in cheek, but from "Silence" onwards is pure angst and rather mature relationship issues.
- Contemptible Cover: The cover of their comeback single "Take Me" shows a nude woman's butt. Especially odd given how the song otherwise has no profanity or any overt sexual references.
- Darker and Edgier: Their second album is more edgy, sarcastic and mature than their first, more positive album.
- Deadpan Snarker: Their second album is basically this trope to music.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Aly gets a lot of fan girls.
- Follow Your Heart: Into the Rush, "No One".
- The Insomniac: Insomniatic is the positive interpretation of creative types getting into these sort of situations.
- Long Title: "If I Could Have You Back"
- Love Is Like Religion: Their album Sanctuary, as well as several of its tracks.
- "Church" uses church as a metonym for unconditional love:I need redemption
For sins I can't mention ...
I need a little church
- "Sanctuary":Every waking moment
Yeah, you always bring me to my knees
Somehow no one does it better
When you fall down and commune with me
- "Church" uses church as a metonym for unconditional love:
- Lampshade Hanging: All over "÷", "Like It or Leave It" and "Potential Breakup Song".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: On average, a 3. They don't usually go any higher than a 4. A few songs from "Insomniatic" arguably reach a 5, however.
- Motor Mouth: "Potential Breakup Song", "Like It or Leave It"
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Electronically focused pop/rock of the folky indie variety.
- New Sound Album: Insomniatic is Darker and Edgier and more electropop-based than their extremely tweeny-pop debut.
- Not Christian Rock: After their debut, they took a turn against their Christian roots.
- Christian Rock: Their debut, on the other hand, has a couple of references to Christ in "Never Far Behind" being one example.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Insomniatic", of course.
- Protest Song: "I Am One of Them" (Against people who hurt children), "Speak for Myself" (Against people patronizing young humans), "Blush" (Against over sexed culture), "Sticks and Stones" (Anti Bullying anthem).
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Flattery", "÷", "Careful with Words", "Potential Breakup Song", "Closure".
- The Something Song: "Potential Breakup Song"
- Sibling Team: Sisters.
- Silly Love Songs: "Insomniatic", "Like Whoa", "Something More", "In a Second" and "Chemicals React".
- Stalker with a Crush: Deals with one in "Careful with Words" and "Slow Down".
- Shout-Out: "Out of the Blue" has some very obvious similarities to Romeo and Juliet.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Silence" and "I'm Here" on Insomniatic.
- The Power of Friendship: The song "Never Far Behind".
- This Is the Part Where...: Invoked in "Like It or Leave It". What was that line in that one movie?
- Three Minutes of Writhing: "Church", full stop. The video features a lot of erotic imagery, and even requires a Censor Box in a few shots.
- Took a Level in Badass: After taking a hiatus for 5 years in 2009, they came back (musically) better than ever. They changed their name and adopted a new sound. Plus in those 5 years, they have worked on several different movies and TV shows.
- Video Full of Film Clips: "Like Whoa" had a video produced for it to promote the Disney Channel movie Minutemen, and thus featuring clips from it.
- Vocal Tag Team: Sisters working together.
- Woman Scorned: "Potential Breakup Song", "Closure", "Flattery" and "÷" all have this vibe to them.
- Updated Re Release: Into the Rush was re-released with 2 new remixes and three new songs. It was called Into The Rush (Deluxe Edition)
- Your Cheating Heart: "Flattery", "Potential Breakup Song", "Closure" and "÷".