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Music / Aly & A.J.

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With you, they're insomniatic.

Aly & A.J. (briefly known as 78violet) is a pop rock duo consisting of sisters Alyson and Amanda 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".


  • Into the Rush (2005)
  • Acoustic Hearts of Winter (2006)
  • Insomniatic (2007)
  • Ten Years (EP) (2017)
  • Sanctuary (EP) (2019)
  • A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun (2021)
  • With Love From (2023)

Associated Tropes:

  • 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.
  • 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", "If I Could Have You Back", "Silence".
  • Careful with That Axe: "Like It or Leave It", "Potential Breakup Song", and others.
  • Christian Rock: Their debut has a couple of references to Christ in "Never Far Behind" being one example. They would later take a turn from their Christian roots.
  • Christmas Songs: Acoustic Hearts of Winter.
  • Cover Version: "Do You Believe in Magic", "Walking on Sunshine", "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree".
  • Creator Breakdowninvoked:
    • "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.
  • 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".
  • Genre Mashup: Electronically-focused pop/rock of the folky indie variety.
  • The Insomniac: Insomniatic is the positive interpretation of creative types getting into these sort of situations.
  • 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
  • Lampshade Hanging: All over "÷", "Like It or Leave It" and "Potential Breakup Song".
  • Motor Mouth: "Potential Breakup Song", "Like It or Leave It"
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both sisters have embraced this more and more in their music career over the years:
    • Their single "Don't Go Changing" features both sisters topless on the cover but covering their breasts with Hand-or-Object Underwear.
    • The cover of their "Take Me" single is just a close-up of AJ's bare butt, only mildly obscured by some see-through fabric.
    • Their "Sanctuary" EP features both sisters fully nude on the cover, again covering their breasts but their butts are fully visible.
    • On the cover of their album "A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun", AJ is wearing a somewhat transparent white t-shirt that doesn't do a great job of hiding her nipples.
    • They also both appear fully nude in the music video for "Church", lying on their stomachs so that their breasts are hidden but their bare butts are sticking out for all to see.
    • This can sometimes be seen on their social media as well where they have been known to post some racy photos, like the two of them hanging out topless in the desert (seen from behind), getting ready for a show backstage in their just their bras, and prominently displaying their butts in matching thong underwear.
  • New Sound Album: Insomniatic is Darker and Edgier and more electropop-based than their extremely tweeny-pop debut. After taking a hiatus, they returned with a synthpop sound on a handful of singles and the EPs Ten Years and Sanctuary, followed by their fourth and fifth full-length albums, which pivoted toward a more '70s-influenced soft rock style.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: "Insomniatic", of course.
  • Precision F-Strike: The explicit version of "Potential Breakup Song" only has three swears: "fuck" in the first verse, "shit" in the second, and another "fuck" in the bridge.
  • 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".