Friday, 2 April 2010

2003 Evanescence: Bring Me To Life

I'd like to think that in my time I was a fairly average teenager. After all, I went through the whole 'no one understands me' existential angst of black bedroom walls and tortured poetry of despair dedicated to unspeakably pretty girls who never so much as cast a glance in my direction. So yes, pretty average I reckon. And the pretentious horror of those years still resonate so vividly I can pretty much summon up the person I was back then and confidently say I would have loved Evanescence and 'Bring Me To Life'. As a mid-eighties teen, the self indulgent wallow I outline above was played out to a soundtrack forged in a Gothic indieland where the earthreality of the Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance met the hardcore guitar chestpoke of The Sisters Of Mercy and X-Mal Deutschland in a head on smash of black sparks and warm, sunny days spent indoors. Yes, you would have loved to have met me as a 14 year old.

It's from once being such a genre fan that, on the basis of 'Bring Me To Life', I'd place Evanescence at the heart of a Venn diagram where the most obviously commercial trademarks of the above (and other similar) acts intersect to offer elements of influence that provide the necessary hand holds that allow them to distil these four minutes of "save me from the nothing I’ve become" Goth metal despair, sweetened into a hit by the siren wail of alt girl pin-up Amy Lee and roughed up by the less than sweet "Wake me up" barked commands from Paul McCoy and the band's neo-death metal thrash. It's all here - the doom, the gloom and the none more black, but by opting to bite off only the most easily digestible portions from their source material into designer Goth predictability, Evanescence ignore the more 'difficult' components that made those influences interesting - this is deliberately more Stephenie Meyer than Bram Stoker.

That's not a point of criticism per se (even Stoker could be said to have commercialised vampirism), yet in flattening the jags until they're more Danni Minogue than Dani Filth, 'Bring Me To Life' crystallises into an impenetrable hard ball of deathly seriousness with no heart. There's no warmth here either, no coldness, no mystery and none of the atmosphere usually associated with the genre. 'Bring Me To Life' is a flat, reflecting surface that requires nothing off the listener save their own 'misunderstoodness' and in turn offers nothing back to fall into save a stage school "don't let me die here, there must be something more, bring me to life" drama that's as hokey as Meat Loaf and as studiously forced as all those awful poems I used to write. Which I guess is a roundabout way of saying that this is a young man's game that I'm too cynical and jaded to fall for anymore. Which, on a personal level, is far more tragic than anything 'Bring Me To Life' has to offer.



1 comment:

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