Fallen is the debut studio album by American rock band Evanescence, released on March 4, 2003, by Wind-up and Epic Records. After releasing several EPs and a demo CD, the group signed to Wind-up in January 2001. Writing songs for Fallen started near the time of the band's formation; several of the songs that would feature on the album appeared on the band's earlier releases. Fallen was recorded between August and December 2002 in several locations, including Conway Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. This was followed by a two-week period of mixing at Conway Recording Studios in North Hollywood. It is Evanescence's only album to feature guitarist Ben Moody, who left the band later in 2003.
Fallen is the band's most commercially successful album to date, selling over 8 million copies in the United States and over 17 million copies worldwide, making it the 6th best-selling album of the 21st century. It debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 with 141,000 copies sold in its first week, peaking at number three in June 2003. The album topped the charts in more than ten countries, and has been certified seven-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
After Evanescence was formed by Amy Lee and Ben Moody in 1995, the band released three EPs and one demo CD. In January 2001 they signed with Wind-up Records, their first major label. Composing Fallen took eight years; in an MTV interview, Ben Moody said that he wrote with Lee "maybe two or three times in eight years".
I didn't want it to sound too fabricated. I love electronics and I love digital manipulation, but I wanted to first establish us as a real rock band. We're actually playing all of those parts: The strings are real, the choirs are real, the piano is real.
Dave Fortman said that for the rest of the drums, he used a D112 on the inside of the kick drum, a U47 on the outside, and an NS-10 speaker as an outside mic. The producer used 414 microphones on the ride and hi-hat cymbals, recording the drums on two-inch tape on a Studer recorder and inputting the results into Pro Tools. The guitars (Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Mesa Boogie, Marshall Amplification) for the album were cut at Mad Dog Studios in Burbank with an old Mesa Boogie guitar cabinet. Lee's vocals, pianos and the background vocal by the Millennium Choir were recorded at NRG Recording Studios. The orchestral parts were arranged by David Hodges and David Campbell except for "My Immortal", which was arranged by composer Graeme Revell. Fallen was mixed over a two-week period at Conway Recording Studios in North Hollywood and mastered by Ted Jensen at Sterling Sound in New York City.
Amy Lee said that most of the album was inspired by an abusive relationship she was in. "Bring Me to Life" is a nu metal-rap rock song written in common time and performed at a moderate tempo (96 beats per minute). Lee wrote the song after a then-acquaintance asked her if she was happy; she was unhappy and in an abusive relationship at the time, but lied in response. Thinking that the acquaintance saw through her facade inspired her to write the track. Lee later said that person was Josh Hartzler, a therapist who became a close friend and she married in 2007. "Going Under" was Fallen's second single. Lee said the lyrics are about "coming out of a bad relationship".
"Everybody's Fool" is about celebrities with false images. In a VH1 interview, Lee said: "My little sister was really getting into these, I don't want to offend anyone, but like really fake, cheesy, slutty female cracker-box idols, and it really pissed me off. She started dressing like them and she was like 8 years old. So I gave her the talk and I wrote a song." "My Immortal" is a piano rock ballad. "Tourniquet" was originally written by drummer Rocky Gray for his Christian metal band Soul Embraced. "Imaginary", a song from Evanescence's 1998 self-titled EP, was originally intended as Fallen's fourth single. The midtempo "Taking Over Me"'s lyrics are about Lee being consumed by another person's obsession with her. Lee wrote "Hello" about her little sister who died of an illness when Lee was six years old. The lyrics of "My Last Breath" explore emotional survival, with the lack of air a metaphor. "Whisper" features the Millennium Choir singing in Latin against muted guitars, but the choir is credited in the booklet by each individual vocalist rather than by the choir's official name. Lee also wrote the choir parts on the album.
Fallen received generally positive reviews from music critics. Johnny Loftus of AllMusic wrote that the album “does include flashes of the single's PG-rated nu-metal ("Everybody's Fool," "Going Under"). But it's the symphonic goth rock of groups like Type O Negative that influences most of Fallen."Entertainment Weekly, graded the album B-minus: "The genre now too old to be called nü-metal isn't exactly overflowing with spine-tinglingly great vocalists – let alone female ones. Amy Lee, lead singer of gloomy Arkansas rockers Evanescence, is an exception." Kirk Miller of Rolling Stone said that "when vocalist Amy Lee croons about lying 'in my field of paper flowers' or 'pouring crimson regret,' she gives Fallen a creepy spiritual tinge that the new-metal boys lack."
Billboard's Christa Titus called the album a "highly polished, hook-filled affair." Melissa Maerz of Spin gave it four out of five stars: "Nu metal gets a powdering of Andrew Lloyd Webber theatrics as Lee aces her piano A-levels, adds a string section, and tackles capital letter issues – God ('Tourniquet'), Love ('Going Under'), and Death ('Bring Me To Life') – with the grandeur they deserve." Adrien Begrand of PopMatters opined that the album "has a small handful of transcendent moments, but a complete lack of musical adventurousness has the band mucking around either in stultifying nu-metal riffage, pretentious high school journal caterwauling, or even worse, both." Begrand praised Lee's "soaring, enchanting, angelic" voice, writing that "Evanescence would be nothing" without her. Christopher Gray of the Austin Chronicle found the album to be "a little too by the numbers to fully capitalize on Lee's obvious talents." According to Village Voice critic Robert Christgau, "Their faith, as embodied in Amy Lee's clarion sopralto [sic], lends their goth-metal a palpable sweetness". He jokingly concluded, "Now if only it wasn't goth-metal at all." In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Fallen number 99 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time", calling it an "unlikely classic" with "a horror-movie-level ambience that was as chilling as it was campy".
Evanescence's Amy Lee and Ben Moody in a 2003 Barcelona performance
Fallen was a commercial success, selling more than 17 million copies worldwide since its 2003 release. The album debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, with more than 141,000 copies sold in its first week, and it has sold more than 8 million copies in the United States to date.Fallen was the eighth-bestselling album of 2004 and the nineteenth-bestselling album of the 2000s. By October 2011 the album had spent 106 weeks on the Billboard 200, with 58 of those weeks in the top 20. Peaking at number three on June 14, 2003, it re-entered the chart at number 192 on March 13, 2010.Fallen spent 223 weeks on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart after it fell off the Billboard 200. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album platinum in April 2003; by June 2008, it had reached seven times platinum.
On the UK Albums Chart, Fallen debuted at number 18 with sales of 15,589 copies. The album reached number one (with 38,570 copies sold) seven weeks later, after "Bring Me to Life" topped the UK Singles Chart. It sold 56,193 copies in December 2003, its highest week of sales (although it was number 28 on the chart that week).Fallen spent 33 weeks in the top 20 and 60 weeks in the top 75. The album re-entered the UK chart at number 35 the week after the release of Evanescence's second studio album, The Open Door. It was successful elsewhere as well, topping the charts in more than ten countries and reaching the top ten in over twenty countries worldwide. According to Nielsen SoundScan figures, after more than three months in the top 10 of the Canadian Albums ChartFallen peaked at number one on August 13, 2003 with sales of 8,900 copies.
Although Evanescence was originally promoted in Christian stores, the band later made it clear that they did not want to be associated with Christian rock. In April 2003, Wind-up Records chairman Alan Meltzer sent a letter to Christian radio and retail outlets explaining that despite the "spiritual underpinning that ignited interest and excitement in the Christian religious community", Evanescence were "a secular band, and as such view their music as entertainment." Meltzer also wrote that even the label "strongly feels that [Evanescence] no longer belong in Christian markets." Soon after receiving the letter, many Christian radio stations pulled Fallen songs from their playlists. Terry Hemmings, CEO of the Christian music distributor Provident, was puzzled by the band's about-face: "They clearly understood the album would be sold in these [Christian music] channels." In 2006, Lee told Billboard that she had opposed Evanescence being identified as a "Christian band" from the beginning; Moody had supported it, whereas she had not. In 2011, Lee told the San Antonio Current: "I am a Christian, and I'm proud of being a Christian, but [Evanescence] has never been a 'Christian band.'"