Insomniatic

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Insomniatic
Studio album by Aly & AJ
Released July 10, 2007 (2007-07-10)
Recorded 2007
Genre
Length 42:55
Label
Producer
Aly & AJ chronology
  • Insomniatic
  • (2007)
Singles from Insomniatic
  1. "Potential Breakup Song"
    Released: December 28, 2007
  2. "Like Whoa"
    Released: January 21, 2008

Insomniatic is the third studio album by American pop rock duo Aly & AJ, released on July 10, 2007, by Hollywood Records. The album features an electronic based sound, differing from their previous pop-rock and acoustic releases, that was accented with the use of synthesizers, sampling, drum programming and vocal processing affects. The lyrical content of the album is centered heavily around heartbreak, which some critics noted its contrast to the electronic elements presented.

Insomniatic was well received by many music critics, many of which lauded the duo for the lyrical depth and evolution. Others, however, label the composition of the album to be bland and unoriginal. The album debuted at number 15 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 39,000. Two singles were spawned from the album. The first single, "Potential Breakup Song", was released on June 26, 2007 and became charted within the top 30 in several countries, including the United States where it peaked at number 17. "Like Whoa" was released as the album's second single in early 2008 and charted in the lower regions of the charts.

This album stands as the final release by Aly & AJ under this name and their final release from Hollywood Records.

Background[edit]

MTV's The Leak section posted all 12 songs on the standard edition of the album in their entirety, on July 3, 2007. The song "Blush" was excluded in the MTV.com full album stream as well not being included in the iTunes edition. The song "Like Whoa" was featured in an episode of MTV's The Hills and the girls' made-for-TV (MTV) movie Super Sweet 16: The Movie, which premiered on July 8, 2007 and in High School Musical 3: Senior Year on October 24, 2008. The song eventually became the album's second single.

Instrumental versions of all 12 songs are available commercially on the iTunes Store, alongside the standard 12-track album with vocals. The album's title is not actually a word ("insomniac" serves as both a noun and an adjective);[1] the definition of Insomniatic as stated by them is: A state of mind where one becomes addicted to the deprivation of sleep caused by an epic revelation of joy. The Australian release of the album features the cover art same as the deluxe edition, aside from the "Deluxe Edition" tag. It also features with the original "Chemicals React" track as the first track, following the rest of the standard album.[2]

Composition[edit]

Insomniatic is primary an electro rock[3] album that focuses instrumentally on the usage of synthesizers, drum programming, synthesized drums, sampling,[3] loops[3] and vocoders,[3] creating a synthesized sound throughout.[4] The set encompasses numerous genres including rock, pop, electronica, new wave, and Europop. The lyrical themes of the album are centered around heartbreak and loss. The first song, "Potential Breakup Song", is composed as an electropop song that incorporates elements of electronica,[5] electro-rock[3] and dance in its composition. The song's lyrics describe a situation in which certain instances have led to the dissolution of a union.[5] The title track is an electro rock number that consists of instrumentation from "striking" drums and "quick" guitar riffs.[5] The duo, who harmonizes throughout the song, speak of the feeling derived from insomnia.[5] "Silence" features an opening consisting of a soft percussion and the accompaniment of synthesized instruments and piano with the vocals.[5][6] "Like Whoa" differs from the rest of the album in sound as it runs through an upbeat dance rhythm and electronic beats, similar to those in "Bullseye", while incorporating sounds of an amusement park ride and new wave music.[7] "Blush" is a lite ballad that features hints of sexual tension and suggestiveness in the lyrics.[4][7] "Bullseye", along with "If I Could Have You Back" and "Like or Leave It", blend 70s and 80s guitar tones with electronic beats.[3] "Closure" is an electro pop ballad that is composed of synthesizer keyboards and distorted guitars.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[8]
Billboard (positive)[9]
TheCelebrityCafe.com (positive)[10]
Famoso Magazine 3/5 stars[11]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[12]
Jesus Freak Hideout 3.5/5 stars[13]
Robert Christgau (choice cut)[14]
stv.tv 4/5 stars[15]
Tommy2.net 3/4 stars[16]

Kathi Kamen Goldmark of Common Sense Media gave the album four out of five stars, praising the duo's vocals and the "gentle undertone of self-esteem and standing up for yourself in relationships" as "refreshing".[4] She further commented that the album was "better written than their first album" and that "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, and the sadness and disappointment of breaking up" were "all described in well-constructed songs containing G-rated imagery."[4] Sari N. Kent of TheCelebrityCafe wrote positively about the album, writing in her review that the album "will make listeners jump up and take notice of this harmonic twosome. Their active beats will infect listeners' ears and make them want to dance whether they want to or not."[5] Logan Leasure of Jesus Freak Hideout wrote that the album "offers some positive content through brokenness, but this is not an album worth presenting to someone looking for Christ."[7] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian rated the album an A, praising "the effect of which is to leave the listener suspended between hyped-up delight and despair at the micro-produced perfection of it all" and the songwriting/production team for crafting "lush, assertive little symphonies with massive hooklines that make the most of the sisters' Britneyish breathiness."[17] T2 of Tommy2.Net gave Insomniatic a three out of four star rating, praising the evolution of lyrics and sound present by the Michalka sisters.[3] Sputnikmusic wrote positively about the album, praising it as "an underrated pop-rock album with solid songwriting, stellar production, and first-rate vocals." The website also found the lyrics to be heartfelt and named "Potential Breakup Song", "Silence" and "If I Could Have You Back" as standout tracks.[6] Chuck Eddy of Billboard in a positive review of the album described Insomniatic as "an endlessly ambitious yet endlessly effervescent confessional pop-rock breakup album that deserves to carry them far beyond their teen pop base."

Promotion[edit]

United States[edit]

  • The sisters sang an edit of the lead single from Insomniatic, "Potential Breakup Song", on Live with Regis & Kelly on July 4, 2007 and again on The View on September 3, 2007.
  • On July 9, 2007 both sisters were on The Early Show where they did a short interview.
  • On August 1, 2007 both sisters were on MTV's Total Request Live to take viewers backstage at one of their concert stops. In the week of August 26, the girls hosted and co-hosted the show again.
  • The video for "Potential Breakup Song" premiered on Disney Channel in August 2007.
  • They performed songs from Insomniatic with Miley Cyrus as the supporting act replacing the Jonas Brothers. Soon after they were replaced by Everlife because of AJ's busy schedule, filming her first solo role in The Lovely Bones.

United Kingdom[edit]

  • The girls performed "Potential Breakup Song" near the London Eye to promote the UK release in October.
  • On October 3, 2007, Aly & AJ performed "Potential Breakup Song" on This Morning, a British morning show.
  • On October 10, 2007, the sisters performed "Potential Breakup Song" and a version of "Like Whoa" with an extended "Relax" dance break at G-A-Y, a London-based nightclub.
  • They performed with UK band McFly in London as a supporting act on the tour.
  • They were also featured on a Saturday morning television show called TMi on BBC Television.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Potential Breakup Song"   Aly Michalka, AJ Michalka, Antonina Armato, Tim James 3:39
2. "Bullseye"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 3:02
3. "Closure"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 2:50
4. "Division (÷)"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 3:44
5. "Like It or Leave It"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 3:17
6. "Like Whoa"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 2:31
7. "Insomniatic"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka 2:47
8. "Silence"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Carrie Michalka 3:33
9. "If I Could Have You Back"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Dan Wilson 2:53
10. "Blush"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka 3:33
11. "Flattery"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 4:08
12. "I'm Here"   A. Michalka, AJ Michalka 4:06
13. "Chemicals React" (Remix) A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, Armato, James 2:55
14. "Careful with Words" (Wal-Mart/Japan bonus track; UK "Potential Breakup Song" B-side) A. Michalka, AJ Michalka 2:20
15. "Tears" (Target/Japan bonus track) A. Michalka, AJ Michalka, C. Michalka 2:05
  • "Blush" was removed from latter pressings of the album.
  • The Target edition also came with two additional ringtones.

Deluxe edition[edit]

A deluxe edition of the album was originally scheduled to be released in North America on November 6, 2007, then on March 4, 2008, and finally on March 18 only to eventually be canceled. The 6-song extended CD includes acoustic performances at the Abbey Road Studios in the UK and a remix, along with a bonus DVD that contains music videos for Aly & AJ's main singles. Early reports stated that the DVD would include Aly & AJ's My Super Sweet 16/18 Birthday Party Review, My Super Sweet 16/18 Birthday Party, the Aly & AJ: Sister Act MTV special, and the Aly & AJ episode of MTV Cribs,[18] but these were not included. The deluxe edition was only released on March 5, 2008 in Japan.[19]

CD
No. Title Length
1. "Potential Breakup Song"   3:39
2. "Bullseye"   3:02
3. "Closure"   2:50
4. "÷"   3:44
5. "Like It or Leave It"   3:17
6. "Like Whoa"   2:31
7. "Insomniatic"   2:47
8. "Silence"   3:33
9. "If I Could Have You Back"   2:53
10. "Flattery"   4:08
11. "I'm Here"   4:06
12. "Chemicals React" (Remix) 2:55
13. "Careful with Words"   2:20
14. "Tears"   2:05
15. "Blush"   3:33
16. "Potential Breakup Song" (Hi-Grand Up Remix Radio Edit) 3:47
17. "Potential Breakup Song" (Abbey Road Sessions) 3:13
18. "Bullseye" (Abbey Road Sessions) 3:15
19. "Closure" (Abbey Road Sessions) 2:57
20. "Division" (Abbey Road Sessions) 3:50
21. "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" (Abbey Road Sessions) (KT Tunstall cover) 2:51
Disc 2 (DVD)
No. Title Length
1. "Rush" (music video)  
2. "No One" (music video)  
3. "Chemicals React" (music video)  
4. "Potential Breakup Song" (music video)  
5. "Like Whoa" (music video)  

Release history[edit]

The album was released on 10 July 2007 in the United States, on 22 October 2007 in the United Kingdom and Italy — with a new cover art — and ultimately in Singapore in April 2008. An enhanced Deluxe Edition was released in Japan on 5 March 2008. The cover of the Deluxe Edition (aside from the "deluxe edition" tag) was used for an Australian release on 15 March 2008.[2]

Region Version Date
North America Basic album 10 July 2007
North America (iTunes) Instrumental album
Selected parts of Europe Basic album 22 October 2007
Japan Basic album[20] November 7, 2007
Deluxe Edition[21] 5 March 2008
Australia Basic album* 18 March 2008

* Features the original "Chemicals React" as first track, followed by the rest of the standard album.

Singles[edit]

"Potential Breakup Song"

  • Released: May 24, 2007 (Canada), June 26, 2007 (US), October 8, 2007 (UK)
  • Chart positions: #17 (US), #72 (Canada), #22 (UK)

"Like Whoa"

  • Released: January, 2008 (US)
  • Charts positions: #63 (US), #66 (Canada), #92 (AUS)

Charts[edit]

The album debuted at #15 in the official United States Billboard 200 albums chart, selling over 39,000 copies in its first week, becoming Aly & AJ's highest debut to date.[22] Insomniatic remained on the charts for 18 weeks in total, dropping out after the fourteenth week, to re-enter six weeks later.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]. Dictionary.com. Retrieved March 3, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "ALY & AJ - INSOMNIATIC - CD". EMI. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Tommy2.Net". Tommy2.Net. Tommy2.Net. Retrieved 28 January 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ a b c d Kamen Goldmark, Kathi. "Insomniatic - Music Review". Common Sense Media. Common Sense Media Inc. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Kent, Sari N. "Insomniatic". TheCelebrityCafe. TheCelebrityCafe. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Aly and AJ - Insomniatic (album review)". Sputnikmusic. Sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Leasure, Logan. "Aly & AJ, Insomniatic Review". JesusfreakHideout.com. Jesus freak Hideout. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1075406
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ Sari N. Kent (2007-08-16). "Insomniatic". TheCelebrityCafe.com. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  11. ^ "便利ホームページ". Famosomagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  12. ^ Caroline Sullivan (12 October 2007). "CD: Aly & AJ, Insomniatic | Music | The Guardian". London: Music.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  13. ^ "Aly & AJ, "Insomniatic" Review". Jesusfreakhideout.com. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Insomniatic". Robert Christgau. 
  15. ^ "Music | STV Entertainment". Stv.tv. 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  16. ^ "Tommy2.Net". Tommy2.Net. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  17. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (12 October 2007). "CD: Aly & AJ, Insomniatic". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  18. ^ http://tommy2.net January, 2008
  19. ^ Deluxe Edition info. Avex. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  20. ^ "Insomniatic - Limited CD". HMV. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  21. ^ "Insomniatic - Deluxe Edition CD". HMV. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 
  22. ^ Katie Hasty, "T.I. Holds Off Pumpkins, Interpol To Remain No. 1", Billboard.com, July 18, 2007.
  23. ^ Insomniatic Chart Trajectory on Billboard 200, based on Billboard.com info, Aly & AJ Reaction.