“Bring Me to Life” Without the Yelling Man
“Bring Me to Life” is one of my favorite karaoke songs. I don’t think I am alone in this. It is so very emotive and dramatic to perform the 2003 rendition. There are these operatic female vocals and then the male voice just gets to yell some extra stuff. The story behind this song also contains this dynamic: A beautifully inspired song principally written by and for Amy Lee, and then some disconnected male voice making demands about it.
Here is how the yelling man got added. It’s an annoying story, but with a happy ending:
For starters, many of the original lyrics were inspired by songwriter, Lee’s experience meeting the man who is now her husband. And guess what: He’s a therapist!
In interviews she tells the story of how she was trying to move on from a toxic relationship and she meets this emotionally attuned guy that inspired the lyric, “how can you see into my eyes, like open doors…”
I obviously only know this couple from what’s published on the internet, but the vibe I get from how he’s described in the bits that I can read is that their marriage is #relationship goals. They have been married since 2007 and it seems like they are still going strong. Just recently she thanked him in an Instagram Father’s Day post, “my husband Josh – who makes touring possible by being a wonderful father to Jack [their son].” They started as a friendship and this partnership remains steady, yet supports all her artistic drama. I love that the drama of this song he inspired, the sweeping melodies and dynamic production, seems incongruent with what I imagine this relationship is actually like in the day to day. This is an example of how a steady healthy relationship supports such majestic artistic expression.
Anyway, this is a great song. Stand alone. Without the yelling man.
So why did the yelling man get added? The label made them put him on there!
Lee was an extremely talented young musician who had been writing hauntingly beautiful songs since she was a teenager. When she first developed this song, she was not trying to have some dude yelling on it. She was told by her label that as a female rock singer nobody would listen to the song without a male voice on it. (@#$%?!) They wanted her to be like a “female Linkin Park”…we’re all crying now… So that’s how Paul McCoy of the band 12 Stones ended up yelling on the track. An addition people have make fun of for decades.
Here is more on this story:
I like how this video talks more about how Lee and her bandmates did fight back and were able to keep most of her and the band’s identity authentic to them
The other aggravating thing in the story of this song is how it was co-opted into the Christian Rock category with many people in the scene amplifying it as a “born again” anthem. This was not Amy Lee’s wish for the song, but the co-opting kept happening. While attending college in the bible belt, I definitely heard this song enthusiastically performed by a Christian A Capella group right before they surprised us all with a sermon.
I like how this story ends, however, …..or is brought into a new life?
In 2017 Amy Lee re-released “Bring Me to Life” with just her vocals, dropping all the excess that was making the song silly. And despite all the breakups within the band, she’s still the front woman, and she’s still with her husband.
I’m sharing this story in my post for anyone who is feeling frustrated with overbearing people, a.k.a. “Yelling Men” right now. This is a story of someone breaking away and actualizing as herself. I can only imagine what it was like for Lee, at 22, feeling so outnumbered by men as a female in music, especially the rock music industry. Feeling like she wouldn’t make it unless she gave up some of her, her music’s integrity. Being asked to just go along with things she didn’t like and not be difficult.
Now she’s older, she’s wiser, she’s a mom, she and many more women have proven themselves over and over as a musicians. And now newer alternative singers like Billie Eilish are not being told that some dude needs to yell on their songs. At least if they are, they are able give an affirmative: No, thank you!
Especially during challenging times, I hope we can remember to stay true to ourselves.
And if you want the imagery of Lee choosing to take a leap into the unknown rather than be “rescued” by the yelling dude, here’s a link to the original music video: