Aly & AJ present their first Holiday CD. The first single 'Greatest Time of the Year' will be featured in the marketing campaign for the Walt Disney movie Santa Claus 3.
By teen-pop standards, Aly & AJ make a bold move on on their first holiday album and second disc. Instead of fizzing up the figgy pudding or decking the hall with a bunch of flashy hip-hop beats, they play it straight--"Silent Night" is justly peaceful (heavenly, even), "Let It Snow" lands as softly as a blanket of the newly fallen white stuff, and "Joy to the World" holds up its heartfelt peace sign by way of classic old-fashioned carol-crooning. Clearly the girls got a little giddy going through their parents' holiday music collection while conceiving this disc, and clearly they were thinking beyond its commercial prospects (how many underage starlets would challenge their cash-strapped core demographic with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"?). Yet Acoustic Hearts,
apparently, do not beat by yuletide sincerity and good-girl harmonizing alone--in an overt but not unlikable nod to the teen need to kick out the holiday jams, Aly & AJ let loose on three tracks: "Deck the Halls" gets into a George Michael-inspired groove, and two originals--one happy ("The Greatest Time of Year") and one sad ("Not This Year")--plumb the meaning of the annual sugarplum dance to semi-rockin' beats. -Tammy La Gorce