Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lithium - the third element.

Bring Me To Life was the first UK single released by Evanescence, a band from Little Rock AK, and it spent five weeks at the top of the UK singles chart in 2003. That was good work from a new goth-rock band from small-town America, especially given the timing in the UK, and even then all was not well within the band…
When they were in only a few months into touring their first album, Fallen, which went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide in just two years, co-founder Ben Moody (credited as the main songwriter) quit the band and went into rehab. He very soon reappeared however - but now writing for the likes of Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson.

If he thought that in so doing he had left Evanescence to founder under the stewardship of his former girlfriend, Amy Lee, that was to prove a serious misjudgment. It afforded her the chance to take full control and pick her own band; they then toured the album for another 18 months. On balance it seems to have worked out quite well because, while it is not in exactly the same style - and I'm inviting all kinds of adverse comments in this review - I think the second album The Open Door is actually as impressive as Fallen!
It has been criticised by several reviewers due to the fact that the songs here sound fairly similar to one another, and I can understand what this is about, but to me Fallen had one, albeit minor, flaw in that it sounded slightly disjointed: a product of two talents at war, who could never quite agree on exactly what they were trying to achieve.

To a degree that tension probably inspired Fallen and I must admit that The Open Door doesn't have anything quite like My Immortal, but it couldn't last. However, putting the 'goth' imagery aside for a moment, My Immortal is basically a very good piano ballad accompanied by very distinctive and inspired rock vocals and arrangements. There is no shortage of either on this album - both being Lee's home territory. With new songs written, and a band far tighter than ever, would such inspiration return on the second album?

Here is my current view:
Taken in general terms The Open Door is musically slightly less heavy than Fallen but it is also sometimes lyrically far darker. It does indeed reach the previous heights (or are they depths?), with a vengeance, on the track Lithium. It makes one wonder who this song is about but what it is about is fairly obvious. While it may be mere coincidence, like My Immortal, it is the fourth track on the album.
Lithium is however, despite what several reviewers have claimed, certainly not a cover of the Nirvana song of the same name although (were he still around to listen) Kurt Cobain might have approved of the sentiment if not the song!

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