Full of mesmerizing vocals and eerily haunting lyrics, “Fallen” is alternative rock band Evanescence’s Grammy-winning debut album. It spent 104 weeks on the Billboard 200, with over half that time in the top 20. It went platinum seven times, had five Grammy nominations, and went on to win two. All of these accolades speak to their enormous talent. Their lyrics touch on topics other artists seem to avoid, seamlessly conveying real emotions that everyone feels.
“Fallen” features powerful female vocalist Amy Lee, who provides a refreshing change from the male singers currently dominating rock. Her voice is so emotional that it feels as though she’s sitting right in front of you, letting you help her bear the burden of her sorrows. Unlike most mainstream music, “Fallen” gives listeners something to think about and stays with you.
Lee and Ben Moody founded the group in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1995, after meeting at a youth camp. Their big break was in 2002, when Evanescence was asked to headline the soundtrack for the movie “Daredevil.” By the time the film was released, “Bring Me to Life” was all over the radio.
Evanescence always keeps listeners guessing, using an interesting mix of styles including classical strings and modern guitar riffs. For example, the orchestration of “My Immortal” is almost completely piano and violins. In contrast, many songs have hard-rock elements, including heavy drums and guitar riffs, such as the first track on the album, “Going Under.” These compositions are a mixture of heaven and hell, with angelic voices in the background of “Everybody’s Fool” contrasting with the screaming men on their hit single “Bring Me to Life.” This unusually beautiful sound gives Evanescence an originality that is unmistakably their own.
Many of the songs were influenced by the deaths of Lee’s 3-year-old sister and Moody’s grandfather. The strong messages about loss and depression induce emotions that may be undesired for some. But themes of worthlessness and inadequacy are ones that, as teenagers, we need to healthily explore, and music like this can make you feel as though you are not the only one.
On many albums, the best song is not the most well known. “Imaginary” forced me to dig deeper. At first I had no idea what the song was about, but after a while, the nonsensical chorus, which speaks of purple skies, paper flowers, and candy clouds became a reality. I realized she wanted to get away, leaving her troubles by creating a fantasyland. By inviting me along, Lee showed me how to use creativity to make my own fantasyland.
Something deep speaks to me when I listen to this music, something that lurks behind the words – perhaps a glimpse of myself.