Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Evanescence: My Heart Is Broken (vs. My Immortal)

The Amy Lee Music Project AKA Evanescence AKA This Blogger’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure has released their second single off of their most recent album, Evanescence. It was a good choice as the album’s second single, and not just because it’s my favorite track off the album. “My Heart Is Broken” is the one song that Amy has released that is closest sonically and thematically to the sound of their first album Fallen. As I remarked in my review of the album itself, “My Heart Is Broken” is a classic example of the power of Amy’s voice to take rather melodramatic lyrics and sing them so convincingly that one can’t help but be caught up in the uplifting emotion that she is conveying (again, as melodramatic as it is). The video for the song is pretty good as well, even if it pales in comparison to the artistic value of “My Immortal’s” video.

Okay, I know that blathering on about the “artistic” value of Evanescence’s videos can potentially ruin any indie or insightfully bombastic cred I might have as an “alt” rock blogger (Evanescence isn’t necessarily “alt” anything), but we all have our guilty pleasures, and Evanescence is mine, so deal with it. What I do find incredibly interesting about Evanescence is that even though Amy has long abandoned her Gothic-Christian Rock roots, Christian imagery continues to pop up here and there in her videos, and quite interestingly at that. The video for “My Heart Is Broken” shares some of the same type of dark Christian imagery that the “My Immortal” video does. Amy takes on the visual role of the failed sacrifice/savior through the “My Heart Is Broken” video’s imagery. The stigmatic light that shines forth from the palms of her hands creates a world around her where she seems to be creating a way to escape “sorrow’s hold,” but later realizes that the only way the real light (symbolized by the light that shines through the slatted window) can enter is if she destroys the mirror image of herself (hence her self-serving image as a messiah), and allows the light behind it to shine through. Therein lays her only escape from the sorrow since her own (deluded?) powers of creation fail her. It’s an interestingly and symbolically loaded video that does wonders to bring some relevance to its parent song's rather trite lyrics. Kudos go to Amy for allowing her song to be interpreted intelligently.

Still though, "My Heart Is Broken" doesn’t compare to the dark Christian imagery of the video for “My Immortal,” which is also a better song as well. “My Immortal” is often taken as a simple and straightforward love song. Again though, Christian elements abound. The lyrics Amy sings are from the perspective of a lover who has lost the one whose hand he or she “has held for all of these years,” and taken care of emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Seems simple enough? Well, not really. In the video Amy once again displays stigmatic elements. Her hands and feet are bandaged suggesting wounds not unlike the Christ’s. Also, Amy never touches the ground throughout the entire video. This suggests that she is the “My Immortal” that is the subject of the song. Christ’s love for his church is often described as the love felt between a bridegroom and the bride (yeah, kinda kinky when you first think about it, but actually a beautiful analogy once you pull your mind out the gutter). Interestingly, it might be Christ who is the speaker of the lyrics of the song. He could be interpreted as making a plea to his wayward “lover” (his flock or whatever you want to call it) to return since they still “have hold” of him. There’s plenty more at work here in this video and song thematically and allegorically when one considers these points. It’s enough to keep MA English grad students tied up in debate and conversation for a semester. That’s what makes this song and video so cool, and you thought that there was no literary integrity in Evanescence’s music.

Evanescence might not be the most literary, or intelligent, or thought provoking band out there, but they aren’t as simplistic as one might think, even with all the gothic imagery and trite lyrics that characterize their music. Sometimes you have to work to get at the literary aspects of a song or video. In the case of at least these two Evanescence songs, the rewards are well worth the intellectual exercise.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful voice. I like her voice and Forever Jones.