|Single by Evanescence|
|from the album Fallen|
|Released||September 9, 2003|
|Length||3:35 (album version)|
|Evanescence singles chronology|
"Going Under" is a song by American rock band Evanescence. It was released on September 9, 2003, as the second single from their debut album Fallen. It was written by Amy Lee, David Hodges and Ben Moody, while production was handled by Dave Fortman.
The song contains rock and metal influences among others and its main instrumentation consists of drums and guitars built around Lee's soprano vocals. The song received mixed to positive reviews from music critics. While failing to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, "Going Under" peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. It charted in the top forty in every country and it was certified Platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.
The music video for the song was directed by Philipp Stölzl and it was filmed in May 2003 in Germany. It shows Lee performing on a concert along with the band, while fans are turning into zombies. She designed both of the dresses she wears in the video. It ranked at number 4 on the list of "The 15 Scariest Music Videos Ever" published by Billboard. Evanescence additionally added the song to the set-list on their Fallen and The Open Door Tour.
Background and release
"Going Under" was written by Amy Lee, David Hodges and Ben Moody, while production for the song was handled by Dave Fortman. It was the last song written for Fallen although a demo version was recorded before the release of Fallen, and it featured a slightly different sound in the music and Lee's vocals. An acoustic version was recorded shortly after the release of Fallen, along with several other songs. According to Amy Lee, "Going Under" is about recovering from an abusive relationship, which she has stated in a number of interviews. In an interview with MTV News, Lee further explained 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."
The UK single of "Going Under" contains the album version of the song and a live version recorded at WNOR in Norfolk, Virginia. An acoustic radio version of "Going Under" and an acoustic version of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box," recorded at WXDX-FM in Pittsburgh are placed on the single as well. The fourth track is the music video for the song.
According to the sheet music published by Alfred Music Publishing on the website Musicnotes.com, "Going Under" is set in common time and performed in slow and free tempo of 84 beats per minute. It is written in the key of B minor and Lee's vocal range for the song runs from the musical note of E3 to D♯5. Associated with the nu metal genre, the song features several guitars and drum machine as Lee sings the lines "fifty thousand tears I’ve cried". 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."
Mikel Toombs of Seattle Post-Intelligencer found a Wagnerian arrangement and metal and classic rock influences in the song. Joe D'Angelo from MTV News 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." It was also described as a "goth-meets pop" song by Michael D. Clark of The Houston Chronicle. 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." 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."
Tim Sendra of Allmusic called the song "one of the harder tracks" on Fallen. Sendra also praised the acoustic version of the song placed on UK single saying that Lee's vocals are "free rein to soar." He wasn't 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.". Johnny Loftus of the same publication wrote that the song "surges nicely into its anthemic chorus, and when the guitars do show up (like on 'Everybody's Fool'), Lee matches their power easily." While reviewing Evanescence's second studio album, The Open Door, Brendan Butler of Cinema Blend compared the song with "Sweet Sacrifice" (2007) calling it the most "radio-friendly" song. Joe D'Angelo of MTV News wrote that the song "should be as omnipresent as 'Bring Me to Life". Vik Bansal of MusicOMH praised the song stating 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." It was nominated for the Kerrang! Award for Best Single.
Although "Going Under" failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it peaked at number 4 and 5 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles and on the Alternative Songs chart respectively. The song achieved its highest chart position in New Zealand where it peaked at number 4. It debuted at number 14 on the Australian Singles Chart on August 31, 2003 which later became the song's peak position on that chart. It was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) in 2003. In Italy, "Going Under" debuted at number 16 on October 16, 2003 and it later peaked at number 9 on January 1, 2004. On the year-end chart in the same country, "Going Under" was placed at number 56. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 8 on October 4, 2011 which later became its peak position. On November 8, the song charted at number 53 and it fell out of the chart the next week.
The accompanying music video for "Going Under" was filmed in Berlin, Germany, in May 2003 and was directed by Philipp Stölzl, the same director of the video for "Bring Me to Life". The video features the band performing a concert as the audience morphs back and forth into zombies. Additional scenes involve Lee underwater, representing the lyrics "Drowning in you". The video shows Lee designed both of the dresses she wears in the music video, and stitched the white dress used in the underwater scenes of the video, all while recovering from an illness in a hotel in Los Angeles, California which was the original filming location for the music video. She described the white dress during an interview with MTV News, "It's white and has a lot of shreds. It reminds me of something someone who died would wear. It's a long dress, ripped up. Different shreds of different fabric, just flying around underwater." The red corset that Lee designed was custom made by a designer, and cost US$2,500. Lee further explained the fashion and her style in the video, "I wear lots of funky stuff onstage. I like to mix it up. I like to use two basic elements for my clothing: rock — you know, metal and chains and stuff — mixed with fairies and drama and Victorian clothing — fantasy. Honestly I just wear what I like. You know why? 'Cause I can. I'm a rock star."
The video for the song starts with Lee in a room while preparing for a concert. Several makeup artists apply cosmetics to her face. Their faces begin to change and become distorted. Meanwhile, guitarist Ben Moody is shown being overwhelmed by several reporters and photographers in a press conference. He, like Lee, becomes shocked as they change with zombies-like faces. Those scenes are followed by Lee walking to the stage where the band starts performing the song. As Lee looks at the people in the crowd, they transform back and forth into demonic-like zombies. However, she continues singing the song and during the bridge of the song, she dives into the crowd, which appears to act as water (representing the song's lyrics "going under, drowning in you"). Several shots show her under the water as glowing jellyfish are surrounding her. Moody surfs the crowd during his guitar solo, while from below he is seen floating in the water above Lee and the jellyfish. Lee surfaces at the end of Moody's solo and both are thrown back onto the stage by the crowd, which has now returned to normal. At the end of the video, Lee looks at Moody. When she looks again, he has turned into a demon.
The music video ranked at number 4 on the list of "The 15 Scariest Music Videos Ever" published by Billboard. It was added that "Evanescence compares the trappings of fame to being haunted by ghouls in this clip for the band's 2003 single. 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." According to Joe D'Angelo of MTV News, the shots of Lee drowning in the video, shows a "distressed and emotionally wrought heroine."
Live performances and covers
Evanescence performed the song during the 2003 American Music Awards. During the performance, Lee was dressed in a colorful poodle skirt, tank top and flower-shaped tattoos on her forehead and neck. Evanescence performed the song during the 2003 Teen Choice Awards. On 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." According to Kelefa Sanneh during the performance, she was "bending over and pumping her fist". The band played the song live at their secret New York City gig which took place on November 4, 2009. On their concert at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 17, 2011, Evanescence performed "Going Under" in promotion of their new third self-titled album, Evanescence. They also performed the song during the 2011 Rock in Rio festival on October 2, 2011. On October 15, 2011, Evanescence performed the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. A live version of the song from Le Zénith, Paris is featured on their first live album, Anywhere but Home (2004). 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.
Usage in media
The music of "Going Under" can be heard in the credits of the video game Enter the Matrix and also features in the movie and trailer of the 2006 film Tristan & Isolde. The song was also used in promotional advertisements for the television series Angel and The Grid. This song was also released as downloadable content for Rock Band Network.
- "Going Under" (Album version) - 3:34
- "Going Under" (Live acoustic version) - 3:12
- "Heart-Shaped Box" (Nirvana cover, live acoustic version) - 2:47
- "Going Under" (Video version) - 4:00
*sales figures based on certification alone
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