Piano-based throughout, “Only Human” is a stripped back and simple song. Piano chords open up the tune, and they are soon joined by her vocals as she tells a story of heartbreak. It remains this way throughout the song, and it relies on the light and shade of the vocals to epitomize the message and move you.
Many artists would fail if left without the aid of synth, excessive production and over instrumentation, but true to form, Goodrem flies and she captures you early on with her honesty, saying, “I’ve given my heart and can’t give it back, I’ve had too many knives thrown in my back.” Unlike “Heart Hypnotic,” this is not a feel-good pop song, and the choice to release this as a single seems rather unusual given the temperament of the music industry.
Long time fans will compare it to the Delta Goodrem we first met as an eighteen-year-old, as the simplicity of her voice stands alone with the gorgeous tones of her beloved piano. Yet the difference in this track is the diffidence shown about love and life. Clearly coming from a very broken and raw place, “Only Human,” has a maturity that eloquently matches her journey both musically and as a human.
There is a sense of predictability to this song, if only for the commonality of the feelings and fears expressed through the lyrics. Some people may find this generic and categorize it as a sub-standard “I Wish You Were Here.” However, as someone who has followed her music for many years and is familiar with the sincerity and depth that are constant in her songwriting, I would instead say that this is a poignant track suited to a new season in her life and music.
“Only Human,” is a love song about vulnerability and whether or not we give love away after having our heart broken. The darker elements of the lyrics lead me to feel as though this song is deeply personal, and because of this there is a natural beauty in the simplicity of the tune.