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Going Under

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"Going Under"
A woman with black hair and black dress can be seen. Three men are surrounding here. The men are not very visible. In front of the woman the words "Evanescence" and "Going Under" are written with white letters.
Single by Evanescence
from the album Fallen
ReleasedSeptember 9, 2003 (2003-09-09)
Recorded2003 (2003)
GenreNu metal
Producer(s)Dave Fortman
Evanescence singles chronology
"Bring Me to Life"
"Going Under"
"My Immortal"
Music video
"Going Under" on YouTube

"Going Under" is a nu metal song by American rock band Evanescence. Recorded for their debut studio album Fallen (2003), Wind-up Records released it as the album's second single on September 9, 2003. The song was written by Evanescence members Amy Lee, David Hodges and Ben Moody while its production was handled by Dave Fortman. The song contains rock and heavy metal elements and its instrumentation consists of drums and guitars built around Lee's soprano vocals. Lyrically, "Going Under" was written about an emotionally difficult past relationship. It received mostly positive reviews from music critics, most of whom praised its anthemic chorus and Lee's vocal performance. "Going Under" peaked at number five on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart, charted in the top ten in Brazil, Italy, New Zealand and the UK and the top forty in various other European countries and Australia. It obtained a platinum certification in the latter country by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

A music video for the song was directed by Philipp Stölzl and it was filmed in May 2003 in Berlin. It features the band performing the song live, while spectators from the audience turn into zombies and water in which lead singer Lee drowns, illustrating the song's lyrics of sinking. The singer designed both of the dresses she wears in the video. Evanescence performed the song live during the set list of their concert tours in support of Fallen (2003-2004) and The Open Door (2006-2007) as well as the Evanescence Tour (2011-2012) in support of their self-titled third studio album. They also performed it during several of their televised appearances, such as the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, the 2003 American Music Awards and the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show in 2011.

Background and composition[edit]

"Going Under" was written by Amy Lee, David Hodges and Ben Moody, while its production was handled by Dave Fortman.[1][2] It was the last song included on Fallen (2003) although a demo version with a different arrangement was recorded before the album's release. An acoustic version was recorded shortly after the release of Fallen, along with similar versions for several other songs from the album.[3] According to Lee, "Going Under" lyrically talks about recovering from an abusive relationship. In an interview with MTV News, she further elaborated the meaning and the inspiration behind the song, "The lyrics are about coming out of a bad relationship, and when you're at the end of your rope, when you're at the point where you realize something has to change, that you can't go on living in the situation that you're in. It's cool. It's a very strong song."[4] "Going Under" was initially supposed to serve as the first single from Fallen but its release was scrapped in favor of "Bring Me to Life".[5] It was released as the second single from Fallen on September 9, 2003. A CD maxi single contains the album version of the song, a live version recorded at WNOR in Norfolk, Virginia, an acoustic radio version and an acoustic version of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box," recorded at WXDX-FM in Pittsburgh.[3][6] The music video for the song is also included on the CD single.[3]

According to the sheet music published by Alfred Music Publishing on the website, "Going Under" is set in common time and performed in slow and free tempo of 84 beats per minute.[7] It is written in the key of B minor and Lee's vocal range for the song runs from the low musical note of E3 to the high musical note of D5.[7] Initially, her vocals in the song start as whispers and gradually turn into louder screams as the song progresses.[8] Associated with the nu metal genre, the song's instrumentation is provided by guitars, a drum machine and piano.[9][10] Lyrically, the song talks about a hard relationship and includes an empowering message.[8] A writer for The Boston Globe said that 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".[11] Mikel Toombs of Seattle Post-Intelligencer found a Wagnerian arrangement and metal and classic rock influences in the song.[12] "Going Under" was also described as a "goth-meets pop" song by Michael D. Clark of the Houston Chronicle.[13] Tim Sendra of AllMusic said that the "tinkling pianos and hip-hop-inspired backing vocals, [are] making the song perfect for those who find the male histrionics of Limp Bizkit and their ilk too oppressive".[3] Vik Bansal of MusicOMH compared the song with Evanescence's previous single, "Bring Me to Life" saying that it contained "Amy Lee's temptress vocals, pseudo-electronic beats à la Linkin Park, understated but menacing metallic riffs in the background, and a ripping, radio-friendly rock chorus".[14]


Critical reception[edit]

Tim Sendra of AllMusic called the song "one of the harder tracks" on Fallen.[3] Vik Bansal of MusicOMH stated that the band "have poured bits of metal and goth into the cauldron, and by using a smattering of pop, produced a mix that makes those two musical genres more palatable to the general public."[14] Sendra also praised the acoustic version of the song placed on the CD single, observing that Lee's vocals are "free rein to soar."[3] He was not satisfied with the cover of Nirvana which appeared on the single, saying that Lee's vocals are on the "overly dramatic side here and serve to make the song into a bad joke."[3] Johnny Loftus of the same publication wrote that the song "surges nicely into its anthemic chorus, and when the guitars do show up... Lee matches their power easily."[15] While reviewing Fallen, Christopher Gray of the Austin Chronicle noted that "Going Under" was one of the album's songs which are connected by "yoking Lee's inner turmoil to the band's tumultuous riffs".[16] PopMatters writer Adrien Begrand, although criticizing the album as a whole, praised Lee for making some of the song's "banal lines", such as "fifty thousand tears I've cried", sound sincere.[10]

While reviewing Evanescence's second studio album, The Open Door, Brendan Butler of Cinema Blend compared "Sweet Sacrifice" (2007) with "Going Under" calling it the most "radio-friendly" one on the album.[17] Joe D'Angelo from MTV News suggested that Avril Lavigne's song "Nobody's Home" from her second studio album Under My Skin (for which she collaborated with Moody) features "toothy riffs" reminiscent of "Going Under", which makes it sound like "an Evanescence song with Avril, not Amy Lee, on vocals".[18] In another article, D'Angelo predicted that the song should become "as omnipresent as 'Bring Me to Life" by the start of their first worldwide tour.[19] Christa Titus, writing for Billboard, noted that although "Bring Me to Life" was the song that brought popularity to the band, "'Going Under' is just as impressive as the band's career-defining debut... The stop/start cadence of Moody's rugged guitars, rippling piano and Lee's defiant wail pack a startling wallop."[5]

In 2004, "Going Under" was nominated for the Kerrang! Award for Best Single.[20] In 2011, Mary Ouellette of Loudwire placed "Going Under" at number seven on her list of 10 Best Evanescence songs, calling it a "perfect arena ready, anthemic rocker" and praised Lee's gradually increasing vocals in the song, "showing off her massive range and ability to control her larger than life pipes."[8] Brittany Porter from AXS placed it at number two on her list of the band's best ten songs in 2016.[21]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Going Under" did not chart on the main US Billboard Hot 100, but managed to peaked at numbers four on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, which acts as a 25-song extension to the Hot 100.[22] It also peaked at number five on the Alternative Songs chart on October 5, 2003, where it has spent a total of 25 weeks charting.[23] "Going Under" also attained the position of 26 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.[24]

The single managed to enter the top thirty in various countries across Europe. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart on October 4, 2003; that position would end up being its peak.[25] The song was last seen on the chart at number 53 on November 8, 2003 and it fell out of the chart the following week.[25] In 2013, "Going Under" entered the UK Rock Chart at the position of 23.[26] In Italy, "Going Under" debuted at number 16 on October 16, 2003 and later peaked at number 9 on January 1, 2004, spending a total of 5 weeks in the chart's top twenty.[27] "Going Under" also managed to peak at number 16 in France,[28] number 15 in Germany[29] and 13 in Switzerland.[30] The single also achieved successful in Australia and New Zealand. In the former country, it debuted at number 14 on the ARIA charts on August 31, 2003 which later became the singe's peak position on that chart.[31] It was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) in 2003, denoting shipment of 35.000 copies in that country.[32] It achieved its highest chart position in New Zealand where it peaked at number four on October 5, 2003 and spent a total of 13 weeks on the chart.[33]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Going Under" was filmed in Berlin, Germany, in May 2003 under the direction of Philipp Stölzl, the same director of the clip for "Bring Me to Life".[4] Lee designed both dresses she wears in the music video, and stitched the white dress used in the underwater scenes of the video during her recovery from an illness at a hotel in Los Angeles, California, which was the original filming location for the music video.[4] She said that the dress contains a lot of shreds, seems ripped and contains fabric that floats in water; according to her, it was something "someone who died would wear".[4] The red corset Lee wears was custom-made by a designer for US$2,500.[34]

The video for the song starts with Lee in a dressing room, preparing for an upcoming concert. Several makeup artists apply cosmetics to her face and while doing so, their faces begin to distort. In the meantime, guitarist Ben Moody is shown being overwhelmed by several reporters and photographers at a press conference. He sees their faces distort in short instances as well. Those scenes are followed by Lee walking to the stage where the band starts performing the song's chorus. As Lee looks at the people in the crowd, they transitionally turn back and forth into demonic-like zombies. She nevertheless continues singing the song and during the bridge, she dives into the crowd as it turns into water (representing the song's lyrics "going under, drowning in you"). Several shots show Lee floating underwater, surrounded by glowing jellyfish. Moody surfs the crowd during his guitar solo, floating in the water above Lee. She surfaces at the end of Moody's solo and both are thrown back onto the stage by the audience, which consists of humans again. At the end of the video, Lee looks at Moody who shortly turns into a demon, alarming Lee and causing her to hurry offstage.[35]

According to Joe D'Angelo of MTV News, the shots of Lee drowning in the video, show a "distressed and emotionally wrought heroine".[36] The music video ranked at number four on the list The 15 Scariest Music Videos Ever published by Billboard in 2013.[35] The writers summarized the clip, writing: "Evanescence compares the trappings of fame to being haunted by ghouls in this clip... Singer Amy Lee's makeup is applied by a gaggle of sinister old women, while the crowd at the band's show morphs into a ravenous pack of zombies. Lee eventually overcomes the visions - only to find that guitarist Ben Moody is a demon as well."[35] In 2016, the song's clip was also included on the Official Charts Company's list titled "13 of the scariest, spine-chilling videos in the history of music" with writer Justin Myers calling the scenes of audience members turning into zombies "pretty freaky".[37]

Live performances and usage in media[edit]

Evanescence performed the song live at the 2003 Teen Choice Awards, taking place on August 2.[38] They also performed it at the 2003 American Music Awards on November 16. For the performance, Lee was dressed in a colorful poodle skirt, tank top and had flower-shaped tattoos on her forehead and neck.[39] "Going Under" was added to the set list of the band's tour in promotion of Fallen (2003-2004). A live performance of the song from the concert at Le Zénith, Paris as part of the tour is featured on their first live album, Anywhere but Home (2004).[15][40] At the 2006 Jingle Ball, Evanescence performed "Going Under" and "Call Me When You're Sober". Before starting to sing the song Lee announced, "We're going to do something completely different from everyone else tonight — and rock as hard as we can".[41] "Going Under" was further part of the set list of the band's second worldwide tour (2006-2007) in support of their second studio album, The Open Door.[42] The band played the song live at their secret New York City gig which took place on November 4, 2009.[43][44] The song was later added to the set list of the band's concerts as part of the tour in promotion of their self-titled third studio album released in 2011, the Evanescence Tour (2011-2012).[45] They also performed the song during the 2011 Rock in Rio festival on October 2, 2011 as part of a concert from the tour.[46] On October 15, 2011, Evanescence performed the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[47] The band later included the song on the set list of their tour visiting cities in the US and Europe in 2016 and 2017.[48]

American rock band We Are the Fallen, which is composed mostly of the original line-up that recorded the song as Evanescence, covered the song live in June 2009 during a concert in Los Angeles.[49][50] The music of "Going Under" can be heard in the credits of the video game Enter the Matrix and also features at the end of the trailer of the 2006 film Tristan & Isolde.[51][52] "Going Under" was also released as downloadable content for Rock Band Network.[53]

Track listing[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[32] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[80] Silver 200,000double-dagger

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


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External links[edit]