|Length 3:56 (album version)|
|B-side "Farther Away""Missing"|
Released April 22, 2003 (2003-04-22)
Format CDDVDdigital download
Recorded 2002 (2002) (Ocean Studios, Burbank, California, USA)
Genre Nu metalgothic metalrap rock
"Bring Me to Life" is a song by American Rock Band Evanescence. It was written by Amy Lee, Ben Moody, and David Hodges and produced by Dave Fortman. It also features guest vocals from Paul McCoy of the band 12 Stones. Wind-up released "Bring Me to Life" on April 22, 2003 as the lead single from Evanescence's debut Studio album, Fallen (2003). The song has been described as being associated with the nu metal, gothic metal and rap rock genres.
- Background and release
- Recording and composition
- Reception and accolades
- Chart performance
- Music video
- Live performances
- Cultural impact
- Usage in media
- Credits and personnel
According to Lee, "Bring Me to Life" has several meanings and inspirations; its subjects are an incident in a restaurant, open-mindedness, and waking up to the things which are missing in the protagonist's life. Lee later revealed that the song was inspired by her long-time friend and husband Josh Hartzler. Critical response to the song was mostly positive, with critics praising the melody of the song, Lee's vocals and their accompaniment by McCoy.
Following the inclusion of "Bring Me to Life" on the Daredevil soundtrack the song became a commercial and critical success, topping the charts in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy. It charted in the top ten in more than fifteen countries including the United States, Argentina, Germany and New Zealand. "Bring Me to Life" was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and twice platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The lyrics of the song have been interpreted as a call for new life in Jesus Christ, which helped the song to chart on the Christian rock charts.
The band won in the category for Best hard rock Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards where the song was also nominated for Best Rock Song. The accompanying music video was directed by Philipp Stölzl; it shows Lee singing and climbing on a skyscraper while having nightmares in her bedroom. "Bring Me to Life" was part of the set list during the Fallen and The Open Door Tour. Many artists recorded cover versions of the song, including the classical singer Katherine Jenkins and American pianist, John Tesh. The song was also used on several television shows.
Background and release
According to Amy Lee, the song has several meanings, the first being an incident at a restaurant. During an interview from a tour stop in Tulsa she told The Boston Phoenix: "I was inspired to write it when someone said something to me — I didn’t know him, and I thought he might be clairvoyant.[...] I was in a relationship and I was completely unhappy. But I was hiding it. I was being completely abused and I was trying to cover it up; I wouldn’t even admit it to myself. So then I had spoken maybe 10 or 15 words to this guy, who was a friend of a friend. We were waiting for everyone else to show up, and we went into a restaurant and got a table. And he looked at me and said, ‘Are you happy?’ And I felt my heart leap, and I was like, he totally knows what I’m thinking. And I lied, I said I was fine. Anyway, he's not really clairvoyant. But he is a sociology major." Lee said in a VH1 interview: "Open-mindedness. It's about waking up to all the things you've been missing for so long. One day someone said something that made my heart race for a second and I realized that for months I'd been numb, just going through the motions of life." During an interview with Blender, Lee claimed that she wrote "Bring Me to Life" about her longtime friend, Josh Hartzler, whom she married in 2007.
"Bring Me to Life" was released on April 22, 2003; it was the first Single from the band's debut album, Fallen. Wind-up Entertainment president/CEO Ed Vetri, revealed that when the Label was pushing the song to the radio, owners stated "We don't play pianos and chicks on rock radio." However, when "Bring Me to Life" was released on the Daredevil soundtrack, listeners demanded air play for the song. The Single includes "Farther Away" as a B-side. The first pressing of the Australian single contained the track "Missing" as a B-side, but this was omitted from later pressings and later released as a bonus track on the band's first live album, Anywhere but Home. An acoustic version was recorded and released on the "Bring Me to Life" DVD. Several other versions of the track have been released, such as remixes, acoustic and altered versions. The live version featured on the Anywhere but Home DVD contains a piano and vocal solo before the song's intro and features John LeCompt performing guest vocals.
Recording and composition
"Bring Me to Life" was written by Amy Lee, Ben Moody and David Hodges for their first studio album Fallen. Recording work for Fallen started at Ocean Studios in Burbank, California, where most of "Bring Me to Life" was recorded, prior to full album production. The song was mixed by Jay Baumgardner in his studio, NRG Recording Studios in North Hollywood, on an SSL 9000 J. A 22-piece string section was recorded in Seattle by Mark Curry. "Bring Me to Life" was mixed at the Newman Scoring Stage and Bolero Studios, both in Los Angeles. The orchestra parts were arranged by David Hodges and David Campbell. During an interview, Lee recalled that during the recording process of the song it was said to her that the song must have male vocals: "It was presented to me as, 'You're a girl singing in a rock band, there's nothing else like that out there, nobody's going to listen to you. You need a guy to come in and sing back-up for it to be successful.'"
According to the sheet music published by Alfred Music Publishing on the website Musicnotes.com, "Bring Me to Life" is set in common time and performed in a moderate tempo of 95 beats per minute. It is written in the key of E minor and Lee's vocal range for the song runs from the note A3 to D5. In the song, Paul McCoy sings the lines "Wake me up/ I can't wake up/ Save me!" in a rap style. St. Petersburg Times' Brian Orloff called the song a "...boffo hit" in which Lee sang the lines "'Call my name and save me from the dark' over surging guitars." Ann Powers from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote: "'Bring Me to Life,' with its lyrical drama and crunchy guitars, branded the band as overdone nu-metal." Blender' writer Nick Catucci called the song a "crossover goth-metal smash" Kristi Turnquist of The Oregonian called the song a power ballad. Joe D'Angelo from MTV wrote that the "...toothy riffs" of songs like "Going Under" and "Bring Me to Life" might suggest that "...Nobody's Home" (2005) from Avril Lavigne's second studio album Under My Skin will sound like "an Evanescence song with Avril, not Amy Lee, on vocals."
Rolling Stone's Kirk Miller wrote that: "...thanks to the song's digital beats, clean metal-guitar riffs, scattered piano lines and all-too-familiar Mix of rapping and singing", "it was similar to Linkin Park's material. Nick Catucci of The Village Voice found "...piano tinkles, Lee's breathless keen, dramatic pauses, guitars like clouds of locusts, [and] 12 Stones singer Paul McCoy's passing-12-kidney-stones guest vocals." Vik Bansal of musicOMH compared Evanescence's own song "Going Under" with "Bring Me to Life", noting their similarity to Linkin Park's material. Lee said, during an interview with MTV News: "Basically, we go through life every day, kind of doing the same thing, going through the motions, and nothing phases us for the most part. Then one day something happens that wakes [you] up and makes [you] realize that there's more to life than just feeling nothing, feeling numb. It's as if [you've] never felt before and just realized there's this whole world of emotion or meaning that [you've] never seen before. It's just like, 'Wow, I've been asleep all this time.'"
Reception and accolades
According to The Boston Globe, the song "...is a mix of Lee's ethereal soprano, piano interludes, and layers of serrated guitar crunch that conjure visions of Sarah McLachlan fronting Godsmack." In his review of Evanescence's second studio album, The Open Door, Brendan Butler of Cinema Blend compared "Sweet Sacrifice" (2007) with "Bring Me to Life" calling them "...radio-friendly songs." Jason Nahrung of The Courier-Mail called the song "...an ear-grabber". Adrien Bengrad of the website PopMatters said that Lee and McCoy made "Bring Me to Life" sound "...like a love song between a Lilith Fair girl and an Ozzfest dude." Blair R. Fischer from MTV News called the song a "...ubiquitous rap-rock confection". Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times said that "Bring Me to Life" "...floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee and then hits like a brick." Richard Harrington from The Washington Post called "Bring Me to Life" a "...crunching metallic" song which helped the band to win a Grammy Award. Joe D'Angelo called it an "...unrelenting paean that begins as hauntingly delicate" and that "Lee's vocals soar above the whole sludgy mixture to keep it from sinking into tired mediocrity."
Ann Powers from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the song a "...mix of voluptuous singing and metallic guitar (the latter enhanced by guest vocalist Paul McCoy's rap-rock declamations)". Bryan Reeseman of Mix wrote that the song was a "...grandiose and moody single" which features a "...dramatic trade-off" between Lee and McCoy. While reviewing Evanescence's second studio album, Don Kaye of Blabbermouth.net praised the songs on The Open Door saying that they lacked "...the annoying faux-rapping that was a key component of the band's first big hit, 'Bring Me To Life' (here's hoping that more rock bands feel less pressure to include some sort of hip-hop nod on their records)." David Peschek of The Guardian said: "Take away the identikit rock riffs and Bring Me to Life could be a Britney Spears song, or one of those cheesily portentous techno-pop mini-symphonies for the Gatecrasher kids." Nick Catucci of The Village Voice compared the song with works by American rock band Creed, and said that it sounds like "church-burning, brain-eating European dark metal." John Hood of Miami New Times called "Bring Me to Life" a "... huge, heavy, and mightily histrionic" song while complimenting McCoy's "... rap-infused gruff" and Lee's soaring voice.
Bill Lamb of About.com placed the song at number twelve on his list, "Top 100 Pop Songs 2003" and number seven on his list, "Top 10 Pop Songs – Summer 2003". and wrote: "Evanescence blasted onto the pop scene seemingly out of nowhere with this massive hit single." "Bring Me to Life" won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards. The song was nominated in the category for Best Rock Song at the same event but lost to "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes. "Bring Me to Life" won an award for Choice Music Rock Track at the Teen Choice Awards in 2004. At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards the band was nominated in the category for Best New Artist for "Bring Me to Life". The song was nominated at the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Song. At the 14th annual Billboard Music Awards, it won the award for Soundtrack Single of the Year. The song ranked number 69 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 2000s.
"Bring Me to Life" peaked within the top 10 of more than 15 countries, and within the top 20 of several other countries, making it the band's most successful single to date. It was certified Platinum in 2003 for selling more than one million copies in the United States. It topped the Billboard Alternative Songs and Pop 100 charts and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. It also peaked at number four on the Adult Pop Songs chart. The song initially peaked within the Christian rock charts as well, because its lyrics were interpreted as a call for new life in Jesus Christ by several listeners. "Bring Me To Life" charted at number 73 on Billboard's Best of the 2000s Rock Songs Chart, the only song by a female-led band on that chart. The song topped the charts of Australia, Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom. It peaked within the top 5 of Austria, Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Netherlands, and Sweden. On the ARIA Singles Chart, "Bring Me to Life" peaked at number one where it stayed for six weeks.
"Bring Me to Life" charted within the top 20 of every other country of its release. The song spent four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom and helped Fallen reach number one on the UK Albums Chart. The song also topped the European Hot 100 chart. On June 4, 2011, the song returned to the top of the UK Rock Singles Chart, eight years after its release, remaining at number one for two weeks, on June 11, 2011 to June 25, 2011. It fell to number two, remaining there for three weeks, and on July 17, 2011, "Bring Me to Life" returned to number one again and remained there for three weeks. The song remained within the top 10 into October 2011. As of June 2013, the song has sold more than 615,500 copies in the United Kingdom.
The accompanying music video for "Bring Me to Life" was directed by Philipp Stölzl. After the success of the video, Lee received some film offers. Talking about the video, Stölzl said: "On the one hand, it brings out the most catchy part of the song, the bridge, the duet with the male and female vocals. On the other hand, it reflects the ['Daredevil'] soundtrack background of the song. I did not know if I would have to use a stunt double for most of the angles, which would have restricted me a lot, but then it turned out that Amy did everything herself, hanging on Paul's arm for hours without getting tired. In the end, she is the one who made that shot strong."
The video begins with Amy Lee dressed in a nightgown, barefoot and asleep in a bed within a building, dreaming of falling through the air below a skyscraper. As the chorus begins, the band and Paul McCoy are performing in another room as Lee awakens and makes her way to the window. Lee climbs out of the window and climbs the building with the wind blowing her hair and dress until she reaches the window of the room where the band is performing. During the bridge, McCoy notices Lee and opens the window, which causes her to lose her balance, and she grabs the ledge. Throughout the bridge and chorus, McCoy unsuccessfully attempts to reach Lee, who falls off the building. However, she is shown asleep in her bed again.
Ann Powers from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote: "You might not immediately recognize Amy Lee's name, but you would know her if she plummeted past you from the top floor of a tenement building" and: "That's how anyone with basic cable first saw the singer for the band Evanescence, in the video for the song "Bring Me to Life": falling backward in slow motion, her hair unfolding like a long black veil as she headed for hard pavement below." According to Joe D'Angelo of MTV News, Lee's "...teetering on a ledge" in the video shows a "...distressed and emotionally wrought heroine." Corey Moss of MTV wrote: "...certainly as intense as a superhero movie, the sequence also gives a nice visual to the song's most memorable lyric, 'Save me.'" MTV's Gil Kaufman wrote that "...singer Amy Lee dreams that she has super Spidey powers, climbs up the outside of a building, spies on her creepy neighbors, then plunges into the abyss" and added, "...even if your boyfriend is a buff rap-rocker guy, he might not be able to save you from falling off a 20-story building to your death. And don't play on ledges in a billowy dress on windy days." John Hood of Miami New Times wrote that the "gothopolis backdrop" used in the video "would make Tim Burton green with envy". The music video for "Bring Me to Life" was nominated at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Rock Video.
Evanescence performed "Bring Me to Life" as part of the set-lists of the Fallen and The Open Door tours. The band performed the song on August 13, 2003 in Chicago during their Nintendo Fusion Tour. During the performance, former Evanescence guitarist John LeCompt replaced McCoy during the song. According to Blair R. Fischer: "The guitarist did an adequate job imitating McCoy while he laid down the song's fiery, Iron Maiden-esque riff." The band performed "Bring Me to Life" in Wantagh, New York on July 23, 2004. According to Joe D'Angelo from MTV News: "...the massive popularity of the song was a smart set-list assembly that helped the crowd respond in kind." The song was performed on November 21, 2007 at WaMu Theater.
Evanescence performed "Bring Me to Life" at the Webster Hall in New York City in September 2003. During the performance, Lee wore an Alice in Wonderland dress covered with scrawled words, including the words Dirty, Useless, Psycho and Slut. She explained her reasons for wearing the dress. On her previous visit to New York City, Lee had met a DJ from the radio station K-Rock, who had made what she called horrible comments about the pleasure he had derived from the picture of her face on the cover of Fallen. She had felt too ashamed to say anything, so she decided to respond through the dress, which represented something innocent that had been tainted. The band performed "Bring Me to Life" during their concert at The Great Saltair on October 25, 2006. Lee wore red and black, with a skirt. She was called a magnet of the night by the Deseret News' reviewer Larry D. Curtis. Other performances of the song were in Magna, Utah in October 2006, and the Air Canada Centre in January 2007. The band also played the song at a secret gig in New York City on November 4, 2009. During their concert at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee on August 17, 2011, Evanescence performed "Bring Me to Life" to promote their third album, Evanescence. They also performed the song during the 2011 Rock in Rio festival on October 2, 2011. While reviewing a concert by the band, Caroline Sullivan wrote "Slowly raising her arms during Bring Me to Life's thunderous, strobe-lit fade-out, she's missing only a chariot."
Evanescence were promoted in Christian stores until the band made it clear they did not want to be considered part of the Christian rock Genre, such as fellow Wind-up Records artists Creed. In April 2003, Wind-up Records chairman, Alan Meltzer, wrote to Christian radio and retail outlets to explain that, despite the "...spiritual underpinning that ignited interest and excitement in the Christian religious community", Evanescence are "...a secular band, and as such view their music as entertainment." Therefore, he wrote, Wind-Up "...strongly feels that they no longer belong in Christian markets." Almost immediately, many Christian radio stations removed "Bring Me to Life" from their playlists. Terry Hemmings, CEO of Christian music distributor Provident, expressed puzzlement at the band's about-face, saying: "They clearly understood the album would be sold in these [Christian music] channels." In 2006, Amy Lee told Billboard that she had always opposed Evanescence being identified as a Christian band.
Welsh classical singer Katherine Jenkins recorded a cover version of "Bring Me to Life" on her 2009 album Believe. Jenkins said: "I'd mentioned that I wanted to try Evanescence's Bring Me to Life and David [Foster] said 'you can't sing that'. I came out there questioning my vocal abilities. I'm just not used to being told that. I went home that night and I just thought to myself 'you have to pull yourself together, he's worked with so many incredible artists you have to step up the plate.' I did talk myself round and I went in there the next day on a mission. It's good to be pushed sometimes – and I proved him wrong!" Jenkins decided to change the guitar-led and percussive original version and instead, "make it more orchestral with the percussion coming from the strings." Alfred Hickling of The Guardian gave a mixed review of Jenkins' cover, calling it "...histrionic." However, a writer of BBC Online chose her version of the song as a highlight on the album. On November 23, 2011, Jenkins sang the song live at the Leicester Square station in London.
Usage in media
Mixtery used up-beat samplings of the song in a hit also titled "Bring Me to Life" featuring Nigerian Eurodance artist Eddy Wata.
"Bring Me to Life" was included in the games Rock Band, Rock Band Unplugged, Band Hero, DLC for SingStar, and Fight Girl Battle World. The song was used during the Calgary Flames' run in the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs. The song served as the official theme song of the WWE pay-per-view event No Way Out (2003).
Credits and personnel
Credits are adapted from Fallen liner notes.