Wind-up Records, October 2011

The chorus of the first song, ‘What You Want’, has a lyric going “Remember me? I’m everything you can’t control” which I find hilarious with the following part of this sentence; I cannot remember most of the songs on the album and I can control what I listen to. And that could be the end of the review. Unremarkable. There is barely anything of note. Sure, it has Amy Lee and her amazing voice and yes, there are some enjoyable guitar riffs and it would be completely remiss to say there’s nothing at all of value. Indeed, I quite like the second song. Then that’s it. So, let’s see what the hell happened, shall we, to create this adventure into Blandville.

‘What You Want’ is Evanescence going “Hey guys, we’re back!” And they are. And I’m sorta happy about that.  I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of them, in the same way I’d say I was a fan of Mars bars, but I like them, enough that I own all three major album releases from them. I think the first half of their second album is fantastic and far away eclipses the entirety of this collection. What I’m saying is I can appreciate them. I can appreciate the first track. Them saying “We’re back” after five years, I get that. I do.  The momentum they build with it is carried absolutely forward to the next track, ‘Made of Stone’, particularly its chorus which just hits every right note. That loving combo of the harmony in full action. I’d say it sort of lives for the chorus, but it’s such a mighty one that I don’t mind.

After that the momentum feels lost. The rest of the album is ostensibly Evanescence through and through. It’s hard to quite put into words though why I don’t care. I have no desire to give any attention to the lyrics, they just happen. By this point I feel like I know all of them; angsty that, love this, relationship control here and so on. This might seem unfair for calling out such a distinctive voice for being so hum-drum, but it’s exactly because of that. Like it or not, and I do like it, Amy Lee has an incredibly distinguishing voice and it lends itself well to this piano-and-rock style, but because it stands out you hear the lyrics and I’ve already heard them before so many times. It’s an unfortunate advantage, I suppose.

At this point I want to point out when writing music reviews, I listen to the music while I’m writing it. At this particular moment in time, I’m skipping through tracks to see if there’s anything else I can remember as standing out one way or the other. Hmmm, I guess if we skip five tracks to get to ‘Lost In Paradise’, there’s the rock ballad trope playing at its fullest…eh, skip. Skip. Skip skippity skip…”Now I will tell you what I’ve do…”…wait a minute, that’s too far. Which is my point entirely; you could skip almost the entire contents of the album without feeling like you’ve missed anything. Yes, there’s slower songs, softer songs, heavier songs and so on, but it’s so bloody boring. I’ve listened to the album three times before sitting down to writing this and I cannot remember a damn thing apart from the first two songs which have their own catchy hooks.

I don’t know what happened. There’s a lot of energy, brought in, but it seems wasted initially. Dissipated into nothingness, which really could be a lyric itself. Soulless. Passionless. That sounds unfair, but I’m listening to, well, now I’m listening to ‘Going Under’ and thinking it’s much better. I want to like the album and no doubt I will put it on when I want to do work for background noise that doesn’t distract me, but for me that’s not enough for what I want out of music. I want to air guitar. I want to sing along. This does almost nothing for me. I don’t not like it, I just don’t care. That, perhaps, is the most damming thing of all.

Oh and for what it’s worth; why the hell are the lyrics in the booklet so tiny?

Update 2012 (September) – Videos from songs off the album have been added. At least the first one is a good song.