What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that sisters Aly and AJ Michalka deliver G-rated musings on the state of the heart, from a teenager's point of view. All of the songs on the album are about relationships -- the good stuff, the bad stuff, and negotiating both smooth and rough terrain.
What's the story?
In 13 polished performances, teen-pop-star sister act Aly and AJ prove that they've matured both as singers and songwriters. The lyrics are noticeably better written than their first album, and are aimed directly at the heart of any teenager negotiating the ups and downs of romance. There are the highs of flirtation, the confusion that comes with being caught in the undertow of sexual attraction while taking care of yourself and setting limits ("With you there is no filter/to sugarcoat what you said/even though I like your honesty/it won't lead me to your bed" on "Blush"), and the sadness and disappointment of breaking up -- all described in well-constructed songs containing G-rated imagery.
Is it any good?
A gentle undertone of self-esteem and standing up for yourself in relationships is refreshing, even on the more lovesick songs. Instrumentals, though overly synthesized for some tastes, are understated enough to let the vocals shine; the girls' singing is confident and lovely. Add sparkling, wholesome good looks and a whole lot of flowing hair, and you've got a surefire pop sensation.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about strategies for handling romantic disappointments. Sometimes relationships don't work out despite our best efforts, and maybe it's not really anyone's fault. How do you learn skills for communicating your feelings, then -- if necessary -- pick yourself up and move on? Families can also discuss how young artists (especially pop stars) create an empire for themselves. Is it enough to just put out an album? Why do young artists feel the need to create an entire image for themselves?