Review Summary: Australian twins discover electronica, take most of the fun out of it in the process.
There is an old cliché phrase I was once taught that said: “If you go into something thinking it’s going to be bad, then it’s going to be bad. However, if you go into something with a positive attitude, then it will turn out well”. I would now like to condemn whoever it was that taught me this. On the back of the highly infectious title track/lead single, I was genuinely excited for the new album from former tween sensations The Veronicas, Hook Me Up
. With any luck it wouldn’t be like their previous effort, The Secret Life Of…
, which became incredibly lacklustre after the first four tracks (all of which, must be pointed out, were commercially released singles).
So, upon listening to the album, the questions have to be put. Is the album better than its predecessor? The answer is yes. Does it feature a new sound and direction for the Orglissano twins? Yes again. But have the Veronicas made a great album because of this? Sadly, no. Far from it. Hook Me Up
is a disappointing album, filled with half-baked ideas and ignoring its potential to be a great pop album- or, even, a great dance album.
“Untouched” is an admittedly great opening track, featuring everything that is good about this album. A bizarre alt-pop wave of synths, string section sampling and dissonant guitar, with motor-mouth vocals in the verse, leading up to a great hook in the chorus. This fades out and right into “Hook Me Up”, the lead single and easily the best song on the album. At first, chances are you may not like it (I know that when I first heard it, I hated it). But the best thing about this song is how damn infectious it is, thus making it an excellent pop song with top harmonies and a synth hook Hellogoodbye would be envious of.
The one-two punch of this song and the title track prove how good this album could have been. Unfortunately, it’s mostly downhill from here.
The next two tracks either suffer from trying to be too much at once (“This Is How It Feels”), and generally not going anywhere (“This Love”). It’s certainly a departure from the guitar pop-rock of their previous album, but it appears not all change is good in this case. As the album progresses from here, you can’t help but get the feeling that the band really need to pull a rabbit out of their hat. And while they certainly come close to it- “I Can’t Stay Away” features some lively beats, and “All I Have” features come catchy moments, live drums (exactly what this album needed more of), and some very cool use of a vocoder- but there is just too much filler and lazy song writing. Songs like “I Don’t Wanna Wait” and “In Another Life” both have great potential, but the best parts of the song aren’t furthered to make for a better overall.
And then there’s “Popular”- what can be said about this one? Basically, if Peaches went out and got completely hammered with Princess Superstar and they managed to have some kind of inbred lovechild with “Best Damn Thing”-era Avril Lavigne as the midwife, it would probably come out sounding something like this. And believe me, this is definitely not a compliment. Talking about the song, the girls say that the song is “taking the piss out of famous people”. However, in a similar vein to Good Charlotte atrocity “I Just Wanna Live”, you simply cannot tell and it comes off as vain and cheap.
It’s good that, at the very least, the Veronicas have gone for something different from the pop market at the moment. But it’s a bitter letdown that, even after all this change, most of the songs just aren’t very good. Not even the fantastic single can save this one. A pity, really, given how good this album could have been.
For fans only- though chances are you may not be much of a fan after this record, even if you were before.
Hook Me Up
All I Have