Top Five Evanescence Songs

In this latest installment of "let's make unnecessarily in-depth lists of random things instead of studying," I present to you the top five songs Evanescence has ever released.

Evanescence is a gothic pop-rock band with symphonic and even Enya-like undertones. There isn't another group quite like it. You can find similar-sounding bands in various directions--you have Panic! at the Disco, Paramore, Green Day, or even Avril Lavigne for that pop rock feel; Emilie Autumn or The Birthday Massacre for a neo-gothic/industrial sound; Nightwish or Within Temptation for a lush symphonic metal experience--but no other group can mimic Evanescence's unique blend of genres and sounds. The band We Are The Fallen contains the other co-founder of Evanescence, and even its resulting sound isn't all that similar.

Evanescence has released only three albums during its long life: Fallen (2003), The Open Door (2006), and Evanescence (2011). Since the band wrote Origin and Fallen as teenagers, it's no surprise the writing feels amateurish and sometimes half-baked. But these early songs are somehow unique, and retain some indescribable purity not found in the band's later work. The Open Door contains a lot of standard-issue angst, and while it's written well and the lyrics are improved, there aren't many standouts on the compilation. Finally, half of Evanescence's songs sound very similar to each other, especially the hard rock numbers. But the third album also has some stellar songs hidden throughout.

A lot of the "best Evanescence songs" articles you'll find online merely list the most commercially successful ones, but that's not what I'm going for here. I've listed the top five songs that are a joy to listen to, move me consistently, and never grow old even after repeated listening for several years.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to pick the top five, but here they are:

1. Even In Death

Evanescence only recently made pre-Fallen tracks available for official purchase, which means my copies of all the old songs were from a sketchy, huge download which included other gems like "Farther Away," "Field of Innocence," "Understanding," and, creepily, the song Lee wrote for her high school chorus. Which I would have put on here because it's gorgeous, but the band technically didn't write it.

Anyway, "Even In Death" is such a good song that despite not including it in the band's lineup until recently, Evanescence released a new, acoustic version of "Even in Death" on its brand new money-milking compilation, Lost Whispers. You can listen to the acoustic version of "Even in Death" on YouTube here, and it's pretty good, but I like the original version better. The growling but tempered guitars and Amy's younger, amateurish vocals make the original track a more fun, rocking number that is perfect stage material. The tune is catchy, haunting, and all around a perfect example of Ben Moody-era Evanescence. It also has a tendency to get stuck in one's head with alarming frequency.

2. Secret Door

This gorgeous song gives me goosebumps every single time I listen to it. It's just Amy, a harp, and a backing orchestra. "Secret Door"'s vaguely soothing lyrics feel like you are waking up slowly, with the sheets cool and smooth, a bird singing in the far distance, and your strange, pleasant dream fading from your mind. This song is the epitome of Evanescence's gentle, passionate, sensitive side.

You can get "Secret Door" as a bonus track on the band's eponymous third album. I highly recommend listening with a good pair of headphones to bring out the orchestration and Amy's lyric mezzo-soprano goodness. I promise you'll feel soothed, content, and slightly sleepy.

3. Swimming Home

Evanescence always writes exactly one track per album about embracing or craving death. "Swimming Home" is the most cheery of this lot. The song talks about finally rising to the surface to where one is supposed to belong: in the afterlife. Classic Evanescence.

"Swimming Home" is from the band's brief electronic phase, giving it a unique sound among the band's more typically hard rock offerings. This song shows that the band doesn't need piano or guitars to successfully create its trademark eerie, morbid mood. "Swimming Home"'s electronic instrumentation creates a murky, underwater feel, as though the listener is thirty feet deep looking up at the sun. Blend this disorienting atmosphere with Lee's gentle crooning about hearing the dead calling for you, and you've got one of Evanescence's best songs to date. It's the celebration of death as a well-reserved rest.

4. My Immortal (Not the Band Version)

Ignore the visuals in this YouTube video, as they're out of sync with the audio.

Did you really think I'd leave out "My Immortal"? This track is one of Evanescence's most enduring hits; most people I know recognize the song within the first minute. Something about the way Lee's clear vocals combine with the strings and that iconic piano melody really sets people off. I also find the subject matter interesting; it's not just "someone I love died," it's "someone I love died and I want their memory to leave me alone, but they won't go away." Adds an extra level of angst.

There are about six different versions of "My Immortal" floating around, and yes, I own all of them. I prefer the album's non-rock version to the band version, as the guitars take the soul out of the bridge instead of expanding upon the bridge's emotional high like they're supposed to. Keeping only the strings and piano lets Lee's voice carry the bridge up to haunting heights before she gently floats the song down into its somber ending.

5. Lithium

The only song on this list from Evanescence's second album, "Lithium" is a good go-to for some hardcore angst. Lee said the track is about the struggle between wallowing in depression, because it's familiar, and giving up said angst for the unknown territory of happiness. Hence, the song's title is an element commonly used in antidepressants. She also claimed the ending is about eschewing sorrow in favor of happiness, but the lyrics can also be read in the opposite direction.

Composition-wise, "Lithium" is a wailing, hard rock track. The sweeping piano, moody guitars, and weirdly pop-like vocals blend together into a catchy, melodramatic song perfect for any major depressive bouts you might encounter. It's also great for casual listening because the main melody is, in my opinion, excellent. If you have to pick only one of Evanescence's epic, hard rock tunes, pick "Lithium."

Sidenote: I recommend watching the official music video for laughs only, because it's super cheesy. Someone said the band was forced to do a video of this type for the record label; not sure how true that is but it's worth thinking about. Also, it, too, only goes up to 480p on YouTube. Then again, the video was posted in 2006, so I can't be too harsh here.

Honorable Mentions

I hit five songs and realized I just wanted to list all of Evanescence's material that I like. That obviously would take a very long time, so I just included the next two that immediately came to mind.

6. Oceans

Some people assumed "Oceans" was going to be a gentle, crooning song in the vein of "Swimming Home." Instead, we got a refreshing, arena-ready rocker. This song is fast and catchy, with a nice heavy beat and Lee's typical dramatic lyrics. "Oceans" is everything listeners have come to expect from Evanescence's hard rock side.

Also, Lee's gasping breaths are going to be death of me. As a vocalist, I know that taking large, gasping breaths between lines is a surefire way to destroy your vocal cords. She was, however, excellent live when I saw the band a few years ago.

7. Away From Me

^ Not sure what the generic Goth picture is in the video, but this is the highest-quality audio I could find on YouTube for this song.

"Away From Me" is the definition of a hidden gem. It's a pre-Fallen track, which means only real fans will know if its existence. Sure, the lyrics are essentially overwrought angsty poetry, and the message is nothing new ("I suck, my life sucks, where's my reset button"). But the tune is catchy, David Hodges' (a songwriter who also wrote Origin and Fallen) backing vocals add variety, and Lee's voice achieves this creepy whispering that begs for a good set of headphones. If you can hear out of both ears, there's this cool part where she switches ears in the background as well. Why "Away From Me" was never officially released is beyond me.

An Exciting End Note

Evanescence announced they are dropping a new album at the end of 2017, and Lee hinted at a stylistic change. I, for one, would prefer a U-turn to the smoky pre-Fallen style, or something stripped down/acoustic. I will probably receive a new collection of bland hard rock tunes, but here's to hoping the fourth album is something good.


Popular Posts