“It can’t be just me who’s running on empty / It can’t be just me who feels this way…”

Aly & AJ want to know: you alright, babes? And to that I say: good question!

In this wildly weird year of The New Normal™, admittedly, there haven’t been a ton of records that have managed to grab my attention for too long before I go back to seeking refuge in a pile of pop classics. (And by that, I mean the Paradiso Girls‘ “Patron Tequila.”)

That doesn’t mean there’s been no good music this year. Clearly, there’ve been plenty of bops! It’s just been hard to focus my energy on anything new much at all past familiar routines. And Great British Bake-Off binges. Anyway.

The sister act responsible for providing the world’s finest (now expletive-friendly!) Potential Break-Up Song arrived back in May with a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun (or just a touch of the beat…, if you’re nasty), an exceptional release, and one I’ve returned to throughout the year for the finer feelings of a sun-soaked, contemplative getaway. (I even got around to doing a review. Rare for 2021!)

One of the more recent recurring music industry moves – although it’s by no means a new concept – is the reissue. More and more, it feels like our favorite acts are extending the shelf life of their records in this Brave New World of streaming with deluxe editions after a few months. And honestly? No complaints here, especially at a time of uncertain touring schedules and staggered re-openings around the world, requiring artists to get clever with extending eras.

Aly & AJ already did it before with Ten Years, and they’re doing it again with their 2021 record with a deluxe edition on the way in early 2022, which you can pre-order now.

On Friday (October 22), following the release of “Get Over Here” last month, the girls dropped a second brand new gem called “Am I Alright,” which effortlessly folds into the rest of their stunner of an album with a propulsive drum beat (much like the album’s namesake, “Don’t Need Nothing”), sun-soaked guitar strums and a melancholy, nostalgic haze.

Every line of the song, written with Allie Crystal and Larzz Principato (who co-wrote Dua Lipa‘s “IDGAF”), feels all too relatable, echoing the same sentiments many of us have probably felt over the past nearly two years – if not much longer.

You could say that I’m leaning on depression, but I’m pushing it away / You could say it’s a cry for attention, but I’m on the verge of breaking,” they declare before diving into a question that’s likely haunted many of us: “Am I alright? Am I alright? Am I?

“Sometimes it’s hard to ask ourselves if we are in a healthy headspace. This song asks that question very simply without the implications of judgement getting in the way,” the girls said of the song.

It’s a gorgeous ode to feeling stagnant (“I’m nеver happy when it rains in LA / And when it’s sunny, I feel thе same“) and, in my head at least, a distant spiritual cousin to elusive chanteuse Sky Ferreira‘s “Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay).” Remember, it’s good to check in with yourself and others.

As with a lot of their latest record, Aly & AJ have really managed to capture the overall mood of this particularly meh moment in the world, while simultaneously providing some beautiful, much-needed escapism along the way.

I’m alright, all things considered. Hope you’re alright out there, too.

a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun (Deluxe Edition) is available to pre-order on vinyl.

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