After almost seven years of silence, pop powerhouse The Veronicas have returned bearing not one but two records in 2021. The first chapter, Godzilla, dropped in May and the latest instalment Human is out today.
The two records chronicle some of the toughest years of their lives both personally and professionally. Since their 2014 self-titled record, twins Lisa and Jess Origliasso have experienced well-publicised breakups, record label battles and their mother’s heartbreaking Lewy Body Dementia diagnosis. The girls also recently revealed that while Jess was dating Ruby Rose, the sisters didn’t speak for over a year. The future of The Veronicas was on the rocks, but Lisa and Jess rekindled their relationship and spun these experiences into inspiration.
Like the sisters themselves, Godzilla and Human are like two sides of the same coin. The former personifies their steely public alter egos and the sequel shares their intimate and vulnerable truth, out of the spotlight. The two records also draw from different but complementary musical influences. Godzilla is a heavy throwback to their pop-punk roots while Human swaps the guitar riffs and growling vocals for distorted synth, trap beats and electro-pop basslines.
Where Godzilla closes with the sultry single ‘Sugar Daddy’, Human opens gently with the tender piano ballad ‘Without You’. It’s a heartbreaking recount of their time apart. “My biggest fan, not allowed to sing a note, not without you,” they croon in the first verse. They’ve described music as the magic that brought them back together and the powerful balladry of the opening track is a testament to that.
The album turns a mysterious corner on ‘Lies’, a collaboration with Sydney’s electro-pop princess Muki. It crawls in with distant chants before crashing into an irresistibly catchy chorus: “You were such a nightmare, tryna get to heaven, even though your money can’t buy you a place there.”
Human then eases into ‘Movie Star’, another slow jam and bass-heavy collab. The verses are carried by Philly artist FR33SOL and songstress Lavva while The Veronicas propel the anthemic chorus that’s made to summon a sea of waving arms at a festival.
They flex their knack for pop perfection while turning their noses up at Hollywood tropes on ‘LA’. “You were all about hotels, diamonds, fucking and fighting. Look who you’ve invited. You don’t even like them,” they spit on yet another infectious chorus.
The collabs keep on comin’, with a gorgeous feature from US artist Wrabel on ‘Out Of Time’. His angelic falsetto leaps over bubbling synth, before blending beautifully with the girls on the chorus.
Following their iconic performance of the national anthem ‘Untouched’ at Splendour in the Grass 2019 and Triple J Like A Version cover of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, The Veronicas reunited with rapper Allday on ‘Life Of The Party’. The moody track is equal parts Allday’s signature subdued rap stylings and The Veronicas’ breathy harmonies layered over a thrumming sad-trap beat.
The theme of ‘dance floor bops you can cry to’ continues with the latest single ‘Goodbye’. The tropical techno beat is made for boogying, while the lyrics tell another story of temptation, self-destruction and forbidden romance.
There are a couple of familiar gems on Human as well. 2016’s ‘On Your Side’, 2019’s breakup bop ‘Think Of Me’ and 2020’s ‘Biting My Tongue’ are just some of the existing singles that slot into the tracklist seamlessly.
The record closes with the title track, a jovial toast to imperfections, meaningful connections and what makes us, you guessed it, human. Punctuated by an earworm chorus, melodious hooks and shiny breakbeats, it’s a fun and fitting finale.
While Godzilla was a ferocious sonic beast, Human is a gentler giant of honest songwriting and melancholic dance floor perfection. Yet the records rival one another in their beauty, fragility and strength. The Veronicas are back with a vengeance, but here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another seven years for their next stroke of brilliance.