The new, self-titled album by Evanescence is geared towards one of the most amazingly reliable phenomena that any musician can count on, teenage angst. Having it center around major life disappointments and spoiled relationships highlighted by a suffering dramatic lead singer is a fool-proof way to relate to the audience, especially if that audience is notoriously moody and temperamental. The record is an ode to emotional pain and vexation at life’s inevitable conflicts. The problem is that every other album Evanescence ever released sounds just like this one.
The title track, “What You Want” is catchy, not amazing or original, simply catchy. It has splashes of piano, solid drums and heavy guitars with the lyrics going “do what you what you what you want.” It sounds similar to every hard core band from early to mid 2000′s … wait … Evanescence was one of those bands. The track features lots of pop-metal like elements. Given, Amy Lee has an awesome voice, but it’s just not enough to keep interest.
“Made of Stone” has a similar dark tone to it. There are the usual fast guitars but what’s a welcomed change is that the song also has a violin, possibly electric. The lyrics don’t brighten from song to song with many going “It’s never enough… Take your time I’m not scared make me everything you want me to be so the judgment is fare.” It’s difficult to say why Lee does not attempt to do more interesting things with her voice, although the clarity of the lyrics is surprisingly crisp.
Nicely enough, “The Change” features traces of classic piano elements. The tone is sadder than the first track but picks up a bit as it progresses. Lyrics again deal with personal suffering typical to the record. “I thought I was strong. I never meant to lie, but I am not the girl you think you know”. In a similar anguished fashion “My Heart is Broken” follows. It has nice piano, great drums and really heavy guitars. The track is more musically creative. “The Other Side” has heavy drums. The heavy guitars complete the sound but not surprisingly it’s another pain song.
“Erase This” has a good tempo with guitars playing in steady rhythm. Here, it’s not the music but the vocals that are a tad more upbeat and creative, almost Journey like. Piano starts the piece along with guitars and drums. Lyrics are along the lines of “Is it so hard for you because it’s so hard for me to believe that what we dream will never come to life again if only I can just erase my mind.” A piano back up is nice on this song as it ends with a very decent guitar solo.
A very calm piano vocal intro is present for “Lost in Paradise”. The lyrics on this song are a bit silly because they are not profound or deep. “I’ve been believing in something so distant as if I was human”. Pleasantly a violin makes an appearance in the track. Guitars come in towards middle but overall the tone is much calmer than what we’ve seen before.
“Sick” has great and steady guitars and drums. The song is much more aggressive and spirited. There are dabbles of piano. The next track resembles Disturbed or Staind from the golden days of angst music. “I found a bird closing her eyes one last time and I wonder if she dreams just like me”. A synth guitar and more metal drumming pound away as the disillusioned singer complains of her relationship; apparently she is leaving it in the “End of the Dream”. Next is “Oceans”, it’s not bad but nothing that particularly stands out.”Never Go Back” is a heavy song musically but is a soft vocal lament. “I won’t give up on you. Save yourself don’t look back tearing us apart until … ”
Finally the last track on the album, “Swimming Home” begins. It is the most successful song on the album because it is completely different from the rest of the songs. It is calm, soft, slow, and very smooth. Lee actually sounds beautiful and approachable since she is not consumed with hate or anger. The music is more acoustic and positive in its tone. The sound is similar to a mix between Massive Attack and Sarah Mclachlan.
Music is about expression, as far as Evanescence goes, the band expresses a lot of feelings that are less than positive and more than redundant. It is perfectly alright to have a few songs dedicated to negativity. But to create an album where the entirety of the lyrics center around the singer’s pain, well, the effect wears off after the first 2-3 songs and the tracks are all longer than 3 minutes. Evanescence has great potential to be an amazing band, but they have to get over their redundancy and try something different.
out of 5
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