The Aly & AJ “Promises Tour” Is Some Kind of Actual Magic

I am 27 years old and just went to my first Aly & AJ concert. Here’s why 17-year-old me is somewhere SHAKING.

Aly and AJ

Businesses, brands, Ivy League MBAs, and cultural anthropologists have been on this hilarious ongoing mission to get to know Millennials and their off-beat behavior. They need to know why we’re all broke, but spending big bucks on avocados, Frappuccinos, and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. It’s the stuff keeping financial analysts up at night. I am here to boldly suggest that anyone interested can vividly understand those twisted, unpredictable, mysterious millennial minds by spending an hour eavesdropping on the line outside an Aly & AJ Promises Tour concert near you.

I’m serious. You see, if you are of a specific Certain Age like I am, Aly and AJ Michalka are a huge part of your childhood. From Disney Channel Original Movies to chart-topping radio hits, this sister duo has played a role in many of our favorite films, TV shows… and breakup songs. As young teens, they were down-to-earth and relatable, but way cooler than us mere mortals could have ever hoped to be. But what makes them so special is that the girls aren’t just here for our nostalgia factor: they are constantly re-inventing their music, their writing, and their acting roles. They’ve never let us down by growing up to be problematic, and they honor their past hits in meaningful ways. Which is why I found myself staying up late on a Monday night to see their first tour in years.

“My mom wouldn’t take me to an Aly & AJ show in middle school,” one fan complained outside of Aly & AJ’s recent New York City tour stop, as her friend nodded in agreement. (Clearly she had a similar tale of misfortune haunting her own past.) “So I bought myself tickets to this concert, and today I walked out of a conference call meeting with our New Zealand team to make it here in time.”

Cow Belles made me the person I am today,” another fan on the VIP line shared. “It was my everything in high school. I have absolutely no idea why that movie still has me so shook.”

We Millennials aren’t great at admitting we’ve grown up: we have gotten older, yes. We are paying taxes and worrying about health insurance now, but we refuse to admit “Potential Breakup Song” came out 11 years ago (because you guys that is just ridiculous.) In all of our collective modern uncertainties, Aly and AJ are here for us once again. Our ultimate cool-girl faves are out here with voter registration booths by their merch tables, LGBT+ friendly safe spaces, and accessible representatives available at shows to help provide info about eating disorder recovery to anyone who needs it. They care about causes, and human beings, and our happiness. 

Plus, their new EP is called “Ten Years,” and it is a glorious re-imagination of their sound. Like your older sister’s effortlessly cool high school best friend who always had the best taste in music, Aly & AJ are introducing us to a whole new genre of music. They’ve taken a unique combo of synth pop and retro beats and made it all their own. It’s 2018 and we have a zillion acts with Spotify accounts we could be supporting with our time and money, but Millennials are into the artists who support us right back.

In my years as a celebrity news journalist, I have met my share of entertainers who got into show business because they wanted to make an impact on people, but then turn around and bail on their image as soon as it got inconvenient. On their Promises Tour, Aly and AJ could have easily looked into the audience and say, “‘Potential Breakup Song’? ‘Rush’? Those corny old songs? You guys, we have new music now.” We’d kind of understand, but it would make us all feel terrible for still loving (with all our hearts) these amazing throwback hits. Instead, they flawlessly worked these tunes into their fresh and modern new set, leaving listeners fulfilled, excited, and like part of their cool-girl in crowd.

If you get a chance to see the Promises Tour this summer, you’ll feel a whole range of emotions at once. You’ll be impressed with where Aly & AJ have taken their art, proving that they were always the lyrical geniuses you swore to your friends they were. You’ll feel like they get what you’re going through, the same way their teenage selves shared your angst. Maybe you’ll even forget about your conference call and feel 15 again, if only for a moment.

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.