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Track Review

Ten years is a long time by most measures. But when we're talking about pop culture, a decade may as well be a century.

Ten years ago, Justin Bieber was just beginning to post music covers on YouTube. Katy Perry had not yet kissed a girl. Lady Gaga had not yet dressed up in a meat dress. And that cute lil' 16-year-old Taylor Swift was still drawling about Tim McGraw.

It was also the last time we officially heard from the then fresh-faced teen-sister duo of Aly and AJ Michalka. And when we did hear from them, they were often talking with interviewers about their Christian faith.

In fact, as late as 2013, AJ starred in Grace Unplugged, where she sang the song "All I've Ever Needed." Its chorus proclaims, "I've chased a million things, bright lights and empty dreams/Now here I am, right where I thought I wanted to be/I'll trade it all right now, leave it all and lay it down to get back to where I belong/Lord all I've ever needed was your love."

These days, Disney alum Aly appears in the CW's iZombie, while AJ stars on ABC's The Goldbergs. Now they've decided that it's time to make some music together again. The result? An '80s-sounding retro EP (Ten Years) and lead single ("Take Me") that illustrates how much things can change over the course of a decade.

We're Not in 2007 Anymore

Anyone looking for this song on YouTube needs a warning right from the start: The image for the audio version is a woman's bare backside, "covered" only by a completely transparent piece of gauzy fabric.

That's our first clue about where the Michalka sisters are these days. More soon follow in the song's lyrics, in its sensually vampiric video and in a telling interview in a surprising publication.

First up: The song itself.

"Take Me" sounds like something that could easily have blasted from boom boxes in the summer of 1986 or so, which Aly told Billboard is by design: "Every song has almost an '80s, nostalgic sound that we specifically love. A lot of the music we listen to comes from the '80s or is '80s inspired—the heavy, Phil Collins/Genesis-type drums. Just the fact that '80s music made people feel so good, I think it was an era where people were putting out records that made people want to roll their windows down and go on a road trip."

Accordingly, "Take Me" has a synthy, hypnotic, bubblegum kind of vibe. Its message is simple: These women are tired of hesitant men who are too insecure to make the first move. "When you gonna take me out?" the chorus complains over and over again. "Make a move and make it now."

To entice this timid guy a bit more, we hear lines that coyly suggest a willingness to be, er, available: "Show me something before I show something to you/ … I know that you would want it/If I could sink my teeth into you."

Things never get any racier than that here. The same can't be said of the video, which blends sensuality and violence in equal measure.

In it, the Michalka sisters play the part of fanged, hungry vampires. They lure two women and one man to their home, then feast on their blood, killing them. We see the women bent over their victims, and we glimpse blood on their mouths as well. The man is eventually dumped unceremoniously in the bathtub, his blood smearing the wall. Oddly, Aly toys repeatedly with the corpse of one her female victims, cuddling it, caressing it, rolling it, moving the woman's head this way and that.

Throughout, the video embraces a sensual, sumptuous, soft-focus feel as Aly & AJ feast on their victims, as if these two young vampires were experiencing the undead equivalent of Thanksgiving.

An Interview Where?

As we've seen in the past with artists such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Hillary Duff and the list goes on and on from there, Aly and AJ seem to be intentionally distancing themselves from their more wholesome history—so much so that they posed for Playboy (though, according to the UK's Daily Mail, stopping short of nudity) and talked with that magazine about where they're at these days.

When the subject of their Christian convictions came up, Aly said, "Within religion there's a lot of prejudice and I think AJ and I, thankfully, never ended up growing up around something like that, but we definitely saw friends that did. I think that's the hardest thing about religion, is that people use religion as a way to judge other people, but I think that that kind of defeats the whole purpose, unfortunately, of loving your neighbor as you would yourself."

At the admitted risk of sounding likely one of those judgey religious people, I think it's safe to say that Aly & AJ's change of direction may be off-putting to at least some of the duo's previous fans.

Yes, ten years is a long time indeed.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

[None, hasn't really charted]

Record Label

Aly & AJ Music

Platform

Publisher

Released

August 18, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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