ALBUM: “a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out into the sun” by Aly & AJ
RELEASE YEAR: 2021
LABEL: Aly & AJ Music
BEST TRACKS: “Pretty Places” “Slow Dancing” “Personal Cathedrals” “Listen!!!”
“a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out into the sun” could not be a more apt title for this mellow pop comeback-album by Aly & AJ. With a long, Fiona Apple-esque title, songwriting assistance from Sky Ferreira, production by Yves Rothman and an 80s synthpop aura, the influences on this record are tangible but never redundant or gaudy. The upbeat tracks make you want to run through a meadow on a cool 70 degree day and the more melancholic tracks are more a warm hug than a pity party.
There were never “Oh my gosh this is so good I could cry” moments but I think that’s what makes this album special. There are no high-highs and thus there are no low-lows; it’s not mountains and valleys, it’s a steady force, an old reliable. It doesn’t feel bound in time either, it’s definitely an album I could revisit years from now and feel similarly about.
The lyricism has the vagueness that makes a pop album. However, I like the honesty that comes with specificity in lyrics, which is why I love folk music, and pop/indie music that leans folk. This album lacks some of that personality that I look for a record, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that the vagueness works against the quality of the album as a whole.
Released in May of 2021, this 12 track album clocks in at just over 47 minutes. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up as we’re on the cusp of winter and as the days get shorter, it is impossible to listen to “a touch of the beat…” without feeling at least an iota happier. As my dear friend, Deethony Jaythony says about his favorite feel-good albums, this LP is a “glimmer of happiness in an uncaring void.”
Be sure to listen to this album on Spotify, or wherever you choose to consume your music.