Welcome to What’s the Buzz, 25YL’s feature where members of our staff provide you with recommendations on a weekly basis. In our internet age, there is so much out there to think about watching, reading, listening to, etc., that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, filter out the noise, or find those diamonds in the rough. But have no fear! We’re here to help you do that thing I just described with three different metaphors. Each week a rotating cast of writers will offer their recommendations based on things they have discovered. They won’t always be new to the world, but they’ll be new to us, or we hope new to you. This week, Derrick Gravener is listening to Aly & Aj’s “Potential Breakup Song” (Explicit), Hal Kitchen has been watching Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, and Johnny Malloy encourages you to check out Red Letter Media in general and their work on Twin Peaks: The Return in particular.
Aly & AJ’s “Potential Breakup Song” (Explicit)
Derrick: Maybe it was brought on by a couple viral Tik Toks, maybe it was brought on by pandemic-induced nostalgia—and maybe the two are not mutually exclusive—but our last week of 2020 rained down nourishment in the form of an explicit re-imagination of Aly & AJ’s “Potential Breakup Song.”
This is not Aly & AJ’s big return to music, though. They returned somewhat half-heartedly as 78violet in 2013 with “Hothouse” and then with more intentionality (again as Aly & AJ) in 2017 with “Take Me.” But with just about two million streams in under a week, their explicit revision of “Potential Breakup Song” seems to be exactly what everyone was craving.
Arguably their most known song, “Potential Breakup Song” is also a personal favourite of mine (and seemingly everyone else who was at their 2019 Irving Plaza concert as the audience practically erupted when they began playing it as their final song). And maybe what we needed at the end of 2020 was an angrier revisitation of a teen-pop anthem. It’s comforting, familiar, and yet new again, and more emotionally resonant thanks to a couple “f*cks” and one “sh*t.”
Aly & AJ are not the only ones finding success thanks to a more real candid lyrical state. When the increase in profanity was pointed out to Taylor Swift in a recent Kimmel interview, she said “it’s just been that kind of year, y’know?”
And maybe that’s the mood to end 2020 on, screaming a small quantity of profane words into the abyss, mixed with a message of teenage rage, self-empowerment, and also self-awareness and the opportunity to start anew. Not to get too deep or anything: that is, after all, some of the messaging behind “Potential Breakup Song.”
Take it for what it is, or what you make of it, the tastefully explicit “Potential Breakup Song” is now streaming everywhere for your dancing pleasure: