The Veronicas: A retrospective


Words || Georgia Drinan 

It’s 2006. I’ve just badgered my mum into getting me a copy of the Veronica’s debut album, ‘The Secret Life of…’

Since that fateful point of purchase, there was not a single day that year where it wasn’t playing on repeat.

I scored a checked tie and ripped tights from Jay Jays. I took selfies on my crappy 2006 webcam. This is as close to punk as my 11-year-old self has ever gotten. I was full on, all-lyrics-memorised, photos-on-my-wall, obsessed with The Veronicas.

It’s 2014. I’m looking into the eyes of a person who has loved me, wholeheartedly and without reserve, for the past three years- basically a lifetime, when you’re in your teens- and I’m struggling to find the words to tell them that I’ve fallen out of love. Words stick in my throat, and The Veronicas’ lyrics come floating back to me from a recess in the back of my mind.

I’m scared and I gotta find out how to speak my mind /

without metaphors and rules and rhymes /

I wish I was Born Bob Dylan /

Had all the words to speak my feelings.

The Veronicas became the soundtrack of my life- connected, somehow, every time I experienced one of those moments that sticks with you.

The upfront nature of the way the duo sang about their emotions always struck a chord with me. As an impressionable youth, the Veronica’s were an integral part of growing up- so much so that even now, over a decade later, I still know all their songs by heart; they still come back to me, at times when I need something familiar to hold on to. Listening to The Veronica’s early music that I loved so much was one of those things- soothing, familiar, but never boring. It was a source of strength.

When Jess came out, it was the strangest feeling of Solidarity for me. I wasn’t sure how I was feeling- but here was a woman I had basically grown up with, living her life in a way I only dared to think about. She became a queer icon for me. I lived with a quiet sense of a feeling I can only describe as, ‘If she can do it, so could I.’

While I would say that their 2014 album, The Veronicas, was by far their strongest musical feat, The Secret Life of… has such nostalgic value for me that I will physically fight anybody who wants to challenge me on saying that it isn’t the greatest of the great. I am blinded by sentiment, and I refuse to change this.

Hook Me Up felt strangely processed; I didn’t really feel for the party vibes, feeling that it was lacking the rock and roll ‘oomph,’ which their first album had in spades. But as much as I didn’t have the same obsessive love for Hook Me Up as I did for their debut album, there’s no denying it has some serious bangers. Put on any of those songs at a party, even now, a decade after release and people lose their fucking MINDS. It’s beautiful to observe.

Their 2014 self-titled album was an unexpected delight for me. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed them until they came back to their airwaves, dropping down some serious fire with new tracks that I was addicted to almost instantly. The thing I love the most about The Veronicas was how diverse their sounds were; comparing the sleek synth bass under the song, ‘Did you Miss Me? (I’m a Veronica)’ to the country twang of the guitar riff for ‘Sanctified’, was fascinating – it felt like they were really letting loose with their sound, being experimental. Songs like ‘Line of Fire’ have well-roundedness and strength in the sound that I just fucking adored. All of their songs were gorgeously unique from one another. They genuinely were ‘back with a vengeance’, and it was fucking incredible.

‘Sanctified’ has a special place in my heart. The song has a gorgeous hook, opening with that country-gospel sound, which only gets better as it builds to a heavier but gorgeously sustained, full bodied rock beat. And those gospel vibes flowing through over the top in the vocals? Oh, Daddy, Yes.

Their more recent releases, such as the 2016 single ‘On your Side’, had a more low-key beat which was super enjoyable.  The music video, written and directed by Ruby Rose, the then-partner of Jess, is indisputably a gem. The scene where Ruby Rose hits out at a guy who has been harassing them both? Perfect. Beautiful. Incredible stuff that speaks to my soul. The song has verve to the extreme, and the music video doesn’t shy away of depictions of hardship, being quite explicit in its representation of drug use and visual description of what it’s like to love someone with substance abuse problems. ‘In my blood,’ also has a hella funky beat, and that sleek, signature Veronicas’ sound.

The Veronicas music has lasted. They have managed to transcend becoming a hallmark of mid-noughties punk-pop, and become a staple of pop music in our collective consciousness, in a very beautiful way. At present, I live in hope for the day they drop their next album, and the soundtrack to my life can continue with fresh beats. Hurry back to the airwaves, Veronicas. I can’t wait to see you come back with a vengeance, again.