When I started this series, I made a list of approximately ten albums I wanted to discuss. I considered albums that had significant meaning to me. Other albums came to mind as the series progressed, but when I arrived at “Fallen”, the debut album of gothic rock/nu-metal band Evanescence, I realized that I should have covered this album first, if not second…
…but the albums aren’t ranked anyway, so it doesn’t ultimately matter.
As I was listening to the album before writing this, I realized I knew the entire album from “Going Under” to “Whisper” (those are the first and last songs on the album, by the way).
I remember how I was introduced to Evanescence. I had a good friend that was involved in his church present me with this “brand new Christian rock band” that he just heard of. It would later come out that the “Christian Rock” label was given to the band by former member Ben Moody. Amy Lee, the frontwoman of the band, denied being a Christian Rock band. Maybe she’s a Christian and she’s in a rock band, but that’s not in a Christian Rock band.
Either way, my friend played Fallen and I instantly fell in love with Amy Lee’s voice. She has one of the most beautiful voices in the rock game (I can only think of a couple that compares) and that’s the first thing you notice when listening to this or any Evanescence album.
I’ve picked a few songs to cover from this album. None of them are “My Immortal”. The song is lovely and the separately released Rock version is good, but when that song was released, it was excessively overplayed by rock radio, pop radio, and music video stations. With that in mind, respectfully, I am pretending the song doesn’t exist. This isn’t Evanescence’s fault, but it’s still a thing.
“Now I will tell you what I’ve done for you…”
This is the first thing you hear when the album begins over an electric guitar playing heavily in the background. The nu-metal sound hits you hard right off the bat. There’s so much energy packed into this song that if you concentrate really hard, glowsticks magically appear in your hand and a rave with break out in your room. Okay, maybe not, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself having a dope ass party just by your lonesome during just this one song.
Under the rock band is a melodic piano. Amy Lee plays the piano for the band and it’s wonderful in contrast to the guitar and drums. This inclusion of the classical with the metal is what I believe has put Evanescence in their top spot.
I can dig into each and every song on this album. Each song is equipped with its own message, energy, and overall vibe. Amy’s voice and the talent of the band give the album its common thread.
Next is the song that was the first single they released from Fallen. “Bring Me To Life” featuring Paul McCoy of 12 Stones. Piano in the foreground. Violin in the background. Lee’s hypnotic voice made this a fantastic introduction to a new fan hearing them for the first time over the radio. What threw me off was I had only heard of Amy Lee and Ben Moody in the band, so I thought Moody was signing and was confused why I didn’t hear him in any other song.
The McCoy “rap” was a point of contention with the band. Not a part of the original song, Amy Lee said in a 2013 interview, “They threatened us that they weren’t going to put out album out or do anything unless we full-time hired some dude to be in the band and sing too.”
She explains how they refused and walked away, but came to a deal two weeks later when they were told they could compromise by just having a male on their first single.
“I was really pissed about it but I was like, ‘It’s just one song, let’s find somebody good to do it.”
[From an article by Lisa Bowman from 2017 found here: https://www.nme.com/news/music/evanescence-explain-sexist-reason-theres-random-guy-rapping-bring-life-2158372]
“Frozen inside without your touch
Without your love, darling
Only you are the life among the dead”
It’s so hard to break down the way the lyrics work with Evanescence, especially as it comes to this song when you hear how the Label treated the band's feminine energy, which I find to be the yin to the yang of the heavier guitar and drums.
If you’re going to listen to “Everybody’s Fool”, I suggest watching the music video. The begins with a commercial for “Lies Pizza” with the slogan being, “There’s nothing better than a good Lie.” With the commercial over the character’s smile fades into a frown as the song begins to play.
Makeup and wig removed, we see the pain on the actress’ face as she battles with the facade that she portrays. She’s recognized in an elevator where she is insulted for how old she looks in real life. The lyrics also reflect how people put on a mask to placate the world around them that is also doing the same thing.
Perfect by nature
Icons of self-indulgence
Just what we all need
More lies about a world that...
...never was and never will be
Have you no shame? Don't you see me?
You know you've got everybody fooled
We lie to ourselves so much that we lose ourselves to the music, the moment, we own it…
…sorry, wrong song.
We lie to ourselves so much that we lose ourselves to the lie to such a degree that we no longer know where the lie ends and we begin.
It never was and never will be
You're not real and you can't save me
Somehow now you're everybody's fool
It’s so deep in its meaning and it’s more true now than it was in 2004 when the album was released.
Sometimes the music on the album, or the intro sounds, depending, is so haunting. No, I’m not talking about “Haunted”, though I do love that song. I’m talking about the masterful combo of “Tourniquet” and “Imaginary” and to me, you really have to listen to them together, one right after the other.
If you didn’t know any better, listening to “Tourniquet” might convince you that this was a Christian song by a Christian band.
I tried to kill my pain
But only brought more
So much more
I lay dying
And I'm pouring crimson regret and betrayal
I'm dying, praying, bleeding and screaming
Am I too lost to be saved?
Am I too lost?
A lost soul moments after a suicide attempt realizing that they 1) aren’t dead yet and 2) wish they hadn’t done what they just did. So they’re calling out to God to be their tourniquet and bring them back to salvation. It’s an interesting reflection into the thoughts of someone who finds themselves at such a low point.
If you are anyone you know is struggling with poor mental health and/or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone. In the United States, you can text call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or call 911 for emergency service. We all struggle to be okay, but we don’t have to struggle alone.
I linger in the doorway
Of alarm clock screaming monsters calling my name
Let me stay where the wind will whisper to me
Where the raindrops, as they're falling, tell a story”
The outro to “Tourniquet” seamlessly becomes the intro to “Imaginary”, a song about the imaginary world one created to escape the pains and struggles of the real world. Some people get lost in music or films. Some exercise and use physical activities to get their minds off of the troubles in their world.
“In my field of paper flowers
And candy clouds of lullaby (paper flowers)
I lie inside myself for hours
And watch my purple sky fly over me (paper flowers)”
Music is my “sleeping refuge”. That’s why this series is so special to me and if you’re reading this, know that I deeply appreciate you. Thank you.
I’m a huge fan of professional wrestling. I love the theatrics and the showmanship of the sport. I remember watching Christian Cage, formerly just Christian in WWE, debut for TNA Wrestling and when he made his entrance, there was something oddly familiar.
Counting down, Christian Cage debuts with an instrumental version of “My Last Breath”. You wouldn’t think that such a soft and delicate song would work in such an application, but it does.
The song sounds like it’s from the point of view of a person who has recently passed or maybe just passed.
“Hold on to me, love
You know I can't stay long
All I wanted to say was, "I love you and I'm not afraid."
Can you hear me?
Can you feel me in your arms?
“Closing your eyes to disappear,
You pray your dreams will leave you here;
But still you wake and know the truth,
No one's there…”
This entire album is very macabre. It’s what gives the album that gothic energy. This song, as it follows a few songs behind “Tourniquet” and “Imaginary” which came behind “Everybody’s Fool” paints an all too familiar image of mental and emotional decline into the realm of depression and suicide. To so many people who listen to this genre, these thoughts are all too common. As one of those people who struggle even today, there is something about hearing someone else relate to you with the ability to convey our dark feelings with such airy brightness.
I was in my late teens/early twenties when this album was released. I listen to this album and this band still today. I’ve seen Evanescence live within the last 6 months. One of my favorite bands who also find a way to put my emotional state into song which really helps me cope in the dark times.
If you’re new to Evanescence, listen to this album straight through (you won’t be tainted by the overplay of “My Immortal” like I am) and just sit in the dark. Sounds weird, I know, but trust me and if you’re having a down day, throw this on. It’ll mellow you out and hopefully help you regulate those feelings. If you’re having a VERY down day, remember that you can call 988 for help. No one has to hurt alone.