Kalen & Aslyn Narrate and Rekindle Their Love on “Girlfriend”

Love can fizzle over time. It’s something the Georgia duo Kalen & Aslyn know well and candidly dissect on their debut Back of Our Minds. For a decade, their love was rooted in their musical careers that was predominantly being pulled in different directions. Kalen, longtime vocalist for the band Ponderosa, was always on the road or working on a solo project, while Aslyn was playing in Kesha’s band and releasing her own music (debut, Lemon Love). At one point, Kalen & Aslyn concocted a way to spend more time together in their busy schedules—and tour together—by dreaming up a synth-pop project Dega in 2018 an releasing a self-titled debut. 

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Back of Our Minds documents the ebb and flow of their union, offering a glimpse into their relationship woes and the frustration of that “fizzle” on “Girlfriend.”

“Girlfriend was written about a year and a half after we got married,” Aslyn tells American Songwriter. “I remember wishing things still felt the way they did when we were dating. It’s like at some point we got comfortable and stopped paying attention, but when you love someone and you know they love you too, it’s easy to take that for granted and reach a point where you’re just going through the motions. Before you know it, you feel more like roommates than partners or lovers.” 

Working with engineer Jon Ashley (The War On Drugs), the duo set up shop in their converted studio outside Athens, GA and molded “Girlfriend” into the perfect model, a slow churning sultry song aching for the early days of love. “Girlfriend” speaks to the different roles women are expected to play in relationships and how this can shift over time. 

For the most part, the 11-track Back of Our Minds has been on the back of Kalen & Aslyn’s minds for a decade. “These are songs that ended up on the backburner over the years,” says Kalen. “They never really had a home with any of our other projects, but we both felt connected to them so strongly that we couldn’t seem to let them go. In the end, we decided to start a whole new project just so we could finally record them.”

Beginning to end, the album tells the love story, and evolution, of Kalen & Aslyn, unraveled in layers of country twang, soulful pop and a consoling “California Dreamin’” sensibility oozing from each track.

“It wasn’t something we consciously set out to do, but we ended up recording an album that spans our entire journey together—falling in love, breaking up, getting married, leaving home, coming back,” says Aslyn. “Our whole story is in these songs.”

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