You Ruin Me (D.Musumeci/The Veronicas/A.Egizii/ ) and If You Love Someone (The Veronicas/A Egizii/D Musumeci/J Katz) – The Veronicas 2014
Following the success of their second studio album Hook Me Up in 2007, it would be another seven years before the twins released their next album, eponymously-titled The Veronicas. Following a strenuous two years of touring throughout 2007-09 the girls wanted to move onto new material, re-discover their creative mojo, and actually separate for a while, which they did for 12 months.
In 2010 they reunited with Toby Gad and others (Daniel Johns, Nellee Hooper, Butch Vig) to begin work on their third album, but two years later nothing had been released, and the planned album, Life On Mars, remained very much a work-in-progress. The song Lolita was lifted from the yet-to-be-released album in 2012, it was hooky uptempo dance-pop, that traded on themes established by Nabokov in his novel Lolita, and crept to #23 locally but the third album remained stalled.
Warner Music was concerned about the quality of the songs assembled for the new album, and this process was further complicated by internal management changes within Warners at the time, which concerned the twins, by the end of 2013 Life On Mars had been mysteriously shelved. At this time The Veronicas sought to escape their contract with Warners and after much legal haggling they moved onto Sony Music and sought to release their next album, which had been re-titled The Veronicas.
Following their hiatus the release of the new album was much anticipated, it was a genre-hopping affair revealing the influences of blues, trip hop, R&R, grunge, and rap, while still retaining some of their more familiar pop rock and electronic rock sounds. The first single lifted off the album was You Ruin Me which debuted at #1 and became the girls second #1 hit in Australia after Hook Me Up in 2007; it would also resonate internationally where it charted #8 in UK, #16 in NZ and sold over 200,000 copies. Written by The Veronicas and local songwriting duo DNA (David Musumeci/ Anthony Egizii), who had built a reputation writing air-brushed, formulaic, hit songs for Idol and X Factor alumni, including Reece Mastin, Stan Walker, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Dami Im, Samantha Jade, Jessica Mauboy and others.
Lyrically You Ruin Me was inspired by power playing and manipulation in intimate relationships, and there were such parallels in the lives of the girls, the infidelity, betrayal and heartbreak experienced with ex-boyfriends, and the manipulative attempts by male record company executives to commodify their image and their music, contrary to their wishes. Recorded at Sony’s Sydney studios, this slow-moving ballad was a change of pace from the punky pop and dancefloor bangers of their previous hits, piano and a strings arrangement created a dramatic soundscape for Lisa’s lead vocals “Job well done, standing ovation. You got what you wanted, I guess you won” and she was joined by Jessica on the chorus “…’cos you play me like a symphony, play me till your fingers bleed, I’m your greatest masterpiece. You ruin me.”
It was a great comeback song for the twins, the lyrics were raw, palpable, and honest and resonated with their fans, DNA’s production dialed back the autotune and generic melodrama that often characterized their rather bland, radio-friendly hits for others, and delivered a hauntingly beautiful song, with Lisa and Jessica delivering authoritative and moving vocals, and alternating on piano accompaniment.The music vid was inspired by the movie The Black Swan, as the twins appear as members of a corp de ballet, where the dancers are jealous of each other over their relationship with an unprincipled dance instructor. Shot in the State Theatre (Sydney), it featured two of Australia’s leading dancers, Kahlia Greksa and Kanna Greksa, and the subtle lighting and use of shadow and dry ice effects, played to the Veronicas physical strengths – porcelain complexions, scarlet lips, defined brows, black hair, and waif-like physiques.
The second single lifted off the album was If You Love Someone, written by the twins, DNA and Josh Katz; after the girls has disengaged from Warners Music, they were feeling more positive and optimistic about their future, and visibly embraced the causes that they felt passionate about in their songs. Musically the song was a return to the mall-pop music of their early hits, bouncy, repetitive, hooky, and inoffensive power pop, despite the accompanying music vid which depicted the girls as radicals at public protests, brandishing a grab bag of signs – Be Kinder, Make Love Not War; Stand Up For What You Believe; The Duty of Youth is to Challenge Corruption, You Don’t Have to Be An Activist to Want to Make Change, Only You Can Understand and Conquer Fear, etc. But their attempt at ebullient fist-pumping protest fell flat, it looked more like demo chic with the immaculately groomed girls leading an artfully scruffy band of like- minded enthusiasts, as whales, bullying, inequality, gay rights, and racism were all namechecked, and maybe it was the quote attributed to Jimi Hendix at the intro to the vid that summed it up best “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” The song peaked at #5 locally and crept to #98 in the UK for a modest hit, but the album The Veronicas charted well at #2 in Aust, #27 NZ, and #49 UK.
But it would be another seven years before the fourth Veronicas album Godzilla would appear in 2021, as the sisters dealt with issues in their personal lives, and continued to support their mother who had been diagnosed with a serious illness that would sadly prove to be fatal.