Let’s talk about one of my favourite bands of all time. Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard a few songs from Evanescence’s Fallen album. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing ‘Bring Me To Life’, ‘My Immortal’, or ‘Call Me When You’re Sober’ at least twice; and for good reason. Evanescence has managed to find trademark sound through their variance between soft gothic ballads, and heavier metal-inspired tracks. Amy Lee’s unmistakable vocals are at the heart of this band’s creation, and while we’ve seen a rather constant revolving door for the band members involved, with the band announcing a 2016 tour, I think it’s high time we review some of their best songs so far.
Please note I will only be covering Evanescence songs; solo work work by Amy Lee will be saved for a list all it’s own!
I’d like to start by acknowledging a less well-known song from my favourite band; Missing. Originally, I heard this song on their Anywhere But Home album. This is one of their sadder tracks, in my opinion, which resonated with me a great deal in my adolescence when I was struggling with thoughts of suicide and self-harm for the first time. Far from their heavier sounds of other tracks, Missing has a sound of someone in the distance desperately reaching out into what feels like thin air as they begin to lose hope in their endeavor to know in the heart they are loved, or simply significant to someone; anyone.
9. Lost In Paradise
Musically, this is one of Evanescence’s more outstanding pieces from their 2011 album Evanescence. Starting out soft and simple as a piano ballad, it builds more and more with intensity before quickly silencing into what feels like a cliffhanger for more. Amy Lee had originally written the song during the band’s hiatus as she laid her focus on her family and her personal life, but she described her life as no longer feeling, “whole” as she realized she missed making music with the band, basically apologizing to the fans for the break. It was not originally going to be a full-band piece, but after giving it a try, Amy realized the band only made the song that much better. You can’t help but value a song with such personal meaning to the writer.
Disappear was one of four bonus tracks on Evanescence (2011), and an absolute treat for any fans of the band’s work with Fallen as it resonated a sound nostalgic to the album that drew in more fans than any other in 2003. I’m not clear on the official meaning of the song, but to me, it has a great connection to the concept of allowing one’s past to dictate the choices they make in their present. So many people I’ve seen who have had past traumas continue to negatively influence their lives through self-harm, drugs, alcohol, and even suicide; often resulting in the loss of everything they ever were. Disappear is a wake up call, and to me, it says you are stronger than your fears. It’s the 2011 song that screams, “we’re back; and we’ve still got it.”
7. Bring Me To Life
Ah, the song everyone knows, whether they’re a fan or not. The reason I’ve put it so high on this list is because of the unfortunate details behind it’s production, and I’d heard it sooooo much back when it first came out; even now, you’ll still catch it on the radio from time to time, but for good reason! The sound is catching and a staple of the sound we all loved back in the early 2000’s. With powerful vocals, a sound from the band that will not be overlooked, and lyrics that can snap you out of that emotional funk you’re in.
It originally was not intended to have male vocals (originally by Paul McCoy), but the record company insisted the song would not be successful without a male counterpart. (Pretty sad, huh?) That’s why in the versions of this song you’ll hear on the radio these days will generally only have Amy Lee’s vocals; you won’t hear the trademark ‘Wake me up/I can’t wake up/Save me’ these days. To his credit, however, I did enjoy Paul McCoy’s contribution to the song; it’s simply disappointing it was forced into the song for marketing purposes.
This was actually written by the drummer, Rocky Gray, who was in a Christian metal band called Soul Embraced before he joined Evanescence! With Christian roots, this hard-hitting song doesn’t shy away from the topic of suicide, and the idea that someone who has taken/is contemplating taking their own life, and the thought of not being accepted into heaven as a result. It screams the silent words of someone who desperately wants to end their life, but instead feels trapped by their belief. This song paints a vivid image of someone with a kind of inner battle between their emotions and their religion, uncertain of their method of escape. Musically, this is one of the songs that sounds a little more death-metal inspired than many of their other works, but still manages to sound melodic and musically enjoyable by those less inclined to listen to anything too rhythmically heavy. This is why we love this band; they don’t sugar-coat the harsh realities.
While not as popular as ‘Bring Me To Life’, Lithium is one of the only songs on The Open Door (2006) that really managed to reach me on a more personal level. The album was my least favourite at the time, as I didn’t feel as much heart from the band’s sound. However, this song resonates with me in many ways. As someone who has struggled with many facets of depression and anxiety, I often battled with the idea of whether it was better to feel the various emotions battling for dominance, or to go numb and push those feelings away. In the end, I’ve found that it almost says to learn to find solace in emotion, whether it be happiness, anger, sadness, what have you. There is beauty in emotion, and in this beauty, you may find your inspiration and in turn, inspire those around you. Musically, it has a perfect blend of the attributes of a ballad and a heavy, driving beat that leads you to sway in the euphoria of the sound.
4. My Last Breath
This is one of those songs I played on loop when I first picked up the Fallen (2003) album. While it seems unclear to me what the inspiration was behind this one, it almost sounds like a description of a scene from a dark, gothic fairy tale. It’s has a mysterious, romantic, and melancholy air about it that cannot be understated. This song showcases Amy’s vocal power and the band’s incredible sound and passionate, creative influence. If you want classic gothic romance, look no further; this song will have you hooked with it’s first perfect note.
3. My Heart Is Broken
This is the song that got me hooked on their self-titled Evanescence album in 2011. We all know Amy has an unmistakable sound, but few songs can capture that raw power as well as this track. Contrary to what some may think, Amy Lee explained this song was inspired after meeting the victims of sex trafficking, and imagining how they felt in their situation of being trapped in a world they didn’t belong, with no escape and no way of telling anyone about it out of fear of what would happen. I feel this song can be applied to so many situations; sometimes we create fantasies and dreams in our minds to offer a kind of escape and solace from the pain we feel, or difficult situations from which we feel there is no escape/end in sight. Returning to the real world, having to be forced to relive those problems feels like being torn away from a dream, and the viscous cycle continues as frustration builds. Particularly in the final half of the song, you can almost feel Amy pouring out her heart in the lyrics, really giving you a glimpse of the inspiration’s dark, and disturbing roots.
2. End of the Dream
This is one of the exceptions to the belief that all gothic music is sad and depressing; this song is one of my personal favourite because it talks about embracing life, pain and all; living your life to the fullest because it’s too short to waste on petty things. The vocals in this song are some of my favourite in Evanescence’s history, and this is one of those songs that you could just imagine being performed in a massive stadium, slaying the crowd completely. The guitar and bass riffs are amazing, the subtle piano is reminiscent of that used in ‘Going Under’ and ‘Bring Me To Life’, the drums are driving and fit the song perfectly as usual. You want a little inspiration to get yourself back on track? Find this song, crank it up, and just let it hit you.
Honourable mentions: My Immortal (Origin, Fallen), Breathe No More (Anywhere But Home), Oceans (Evanescence), Taking Over Me (Fallen), Before the Dawn, Everybody’s Fool (Fallen), Swimming Home (Evanescence), Snow White Queen (The Open Door).
1. Going Under
This is it, folks; one of my favourite songs of all time, not just by Evanescence, but in general. Going Under talks specifically about coming out of an abusive relationship after reaching a point where you realize something needs to change, and you need to make it happen. As with much of their work, this iconic gothic masterpiece can be applied to any tough situation as an inspirational push; if you need something to change, change it. And let’s not forget about the sound; ah, the sound. We all know this entire band has only ever consisted of people with talent and a unique style on their own, but if you’re looking for a song that makes you want to stand up and do something, you’re going to love this one. The world’s a harsh and cruel place, and we’ve all struggled somewhere; Going Under’s message rings true as it tells us to “break through.”
Well, my beauties? Do you agree with my list? Which Evanescence song inspired you? Let me know, and link me if you’ve made your own list of favourites so I can have a look! \m/