Wind-Up Records, 2003
REVIEW BY: JB
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/07/2003
Evanescence's lead vocal Amy Lee is already on her way to becoming the metal version of Britney Spears. (Oh, Avril! I didn't see you.) She dresses in stereotypical Goth (girl-talk mode: "Like, is that even her own hair?") and "soars" over the instrumental tracking singing about how she isn't being appreciated. Evanescence is another excellently produced junior act that promises be the vehicle for countless vicarious fantasies by millions of middle-class teenagers (with the money to buy oodles of CDs).
(Oh and, I really want to get this out in the open. No! Jason! Duke! Don't stop me. Let me GO. Listen, girls. When you're in a mature and adult relationship with a man, you don't whine at him for not giving you enough attention. You go back to your aircraft designing, your business consulting, your childrearing, your Proust-reading. You give him a gentle reminder if you feel like it. You love him for what he is. If you don't like what he is, dump him. You do NOT write epic imitation-metal songs whining about how he can't read your mind. Ask yourself if what you want from him is a LOVER or a FATHER. Women, while still faced with many obstacles, are now empowered, educated, and factored into the many equations of society. Equalize relationships: cease being a daughter and become a WOMAN. OK. I'm ready to review.)
If you listen to pop radio, you've probably heard Evanescence's songs, or songs that sound similar to them (think of Linkin Park with a female vocal). The songs are basically metal, because metal is cool, yet they maintain a juvenile dimension in the lyrics in order to reassure those naughty suburban kids that what they're doing isn't really evil. It's like smoking pot without inhaling. Amy Lee's voice sounds suburban-clean, and the instrumentals only sound loud and chaotic at first because of their allusions to heavy metal, but draw the curtain behind the wizard and lo! They too are obsessively produced for that clear, satisfying pop sound.
It takes a lot of craft to pull this off, but what gets tiring is its consistent repetition track after track. Their entire album Fallen sounds basically like the opening track "Going Under" or the first single "Bring Me to Life." I'd really love to write a review that is more track-by-track - a rule Chris Thelen outlined very early on in this site's inception - it's just that, and I apologize for committing the reviewer's cardinal sin of dipping into cliché, all the tracks sound the same. I smell a formula (and so do many others, judging by the overall lukewarm reaction by critics). On the upside though, if you like "Bring Me to Life" (and as a pop song it's quite refreshing, really) you'll like the entire album.
But I'll point out two standouts before I go: "Immortal" goes briefly into Tori Amos territory (piano, vocals in pain) and almost teeters into banality, but it could be saved with a good video. They try to repeat the ambiance on a later track called "Hello" but it just sounds like leftovers. "Tourniquet" dips into some dark Christian images in the lyrics to create a cathartic rock anthem about salvation. It's quite good, but has raised confusion in some circles that Evanescence is a Christian band; Amy Lee, on the official website, would like to clear it up and say that they are not.