"My Heart Is Broken" is the fourth song on the self-titled album Evanescence. It was released on October 31, 2011 as the second single from their eponymous third studio album. The song was written by Amy Lee, Terry Balsamo, Tim McCord and Zach Williams, while production was handled by Nick Raskulinecz. Musically, My Heart Is Broken is an uptempo ballad that begins with piano and Lee's vocals before transcending into guitars and drums. Lee revealed that the song was written after seeing victims of sex trafficking.
The song received favorable reviews from music critics, who praised Lee's vocals accompanied by piano, guitars and drums and chose it as a highlight on the album. The song has reached number 36 on the Austrian Singles Chart. It is also a part of the band's set list on their third worldwide tour in support of Evanescence.
Background and CompositionEdit
"My Heart Is Broken" was written by Amy Lee, Terry Balsamo, Tim McCord and Zach Williams and it was produced by Nick Raskulinecz. The song was recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. During an interview, Amy Lee stated that she originally wrote the song on a harp. She added that the band wrote the song along with "What You Want" and the piano part at the beginning of the song was written on a harp which was a slower and an easier instrument for her. However, during the pre-production of Evanescence the band made the tempo of the song faster so when it was time to record the song it was impossible to play it on a harp. Lee said that the song sounded better with the piano part because it was a stronger and more prominent instrument which made the song "one of the most passionate songs on the whole album". During another interview with rock magazine Kerrang! Lee revealed the inspiration of "My Heart Is Broken" saying: "A good friend of mine heads up an organization in New York that rescues victims of sex trafficking. My husband and I got involved and were really moved and horrified. As I was writing the song I was putting myself in that place - what would it be like to be trapped? Threatened? Alone? Unable to tell anyone what was happening because you're afraid of what would happen?".
In 2017, an alternate, stripped back version of the song was released on Synthesis.
This song was inspired by a story I watched on sex trafficking, which took me to a horrible, dark place that is just so incredibly common. It’s heartbreaking. What’s cool about this song is it’s returning home to its original form, musically. I first wrote that song with a harp and a drum loop. The piano which drove the song on Evanescence was a harp part, and by the time we added the band to it, it speeded up and turned out more of a rocker than a ballad. It went too fast for me to play on harp, which you couldn’t hear in the mix, so instead, I played it on piano. For this album, we took out the piano, and replaced it with the harp, which was played by the woman [Kirsten Agresta Copely] who originally taught me to play. We then had her harmonize in a duet with the piano before the vocals come back in.
The song premiered online prior the official release of the album on September 27, 2011. On August 22, 2011, Lee went to Toronto's Liberty Studios to preview five mastered songs from the new album to a selected crowd of thirty people. "My Heart Is Broken" was one of the five previewed songs. During an interview with MTV News, the band revealed that they wanted the song to be included on the soundtrack to the movie The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Will Hunt the drummer of the band said, "I've been screaming for [new song] 'My Heart Is Broken' to land in that, because I think it would fit the story so well. I got sucked into the 'Twilight' vortex by the girls at home, so by default, I've got to watch it." However, the song was not included on the soundtrack. During an interview with NME, Lee confirmed that the song will be released as the second single from the album. The song will be sent to pop, hot adult contemporary and Hot/Mod/AC radio stations in the United States on November 1, 2011. It will be also served to mainstream radio stations the same day. The song was made available for digital download on November 14, 2011.
Music video Edit
A music video for "My Heart Is Broken" was released on January 24, 2012 and was directed by Dean Karr. It was shot in Los Angeles, California. The video takes a more surreal direction as opposed to "What You Want", showing off shots of Amy lying in fields of grass under a dark sky or stuck in a dark room. Various effects of light are used to further symbolize the feeling of being trapped from the outside world.
- “We have an air conditioner this time," she laughed. "This [video] is going to look a lot different. Actually, I kind of wanted it to be the opposite. The first video, for 'What You Want,' was very real, and this is very surreal."
Amy playing the piano in the video. To help get that surreal feel, Lee explained that she drew inspiration from a decidedly below-the-radar source: the 1988 British fantasy/horror film "Paperhouse," which stuck with her since she first saw it as a teen. "[It's about] this girl, and everything that she would draw would come to life in her dreams, and she was creating this dream world for herself. And at first, it was cool, but then it's like this nightmare," she explained. "So I sort of thought it would apply, and be cool, to have it be this dream that you're trapped in. So you're in a place that, at first, is a magical world, but at the same time, you're isolated and trapped there, and that's the reason you want to come back to reality after a time. "We're playing with fiber optics, and so it's basically like I'm drawing the world around me from nothingness, and when I draw things with my hands, it's like they actually come to life," she continued. "So it's a lot of fun with creating this surreal dream world, and the guys' performance is sort of like the dream within the dream, in an abyss of darkness; it's very cool."”
- ―Amy Lee
Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic chose the song as a highlight on the album. Steve Beebee of rock magazine Kerrang! also chose the song as a highlight on the album, adding that it "develops into a searching, soulful hook, ranging high among the best material this band has ever recorded." Digital Spy's Lewis Corner chose the song as a tracks to consider downloading, further writing that "'My Heart Is Broken' would strongly beg to differ, with a dashing piano riff skittling over growling guitar strums serving as a backdrop for her emotive alto-soprano." Rick Florino of Artistdirect said, "On 'My Heart Is Broken', a gorgeous piano intro rises alongside Lee's vibrant vocal delivery as Will Hunt's airtight drumming propels the tune into another realm." Tom Goodwyn of NME praised "Me Heart Is Broken" saying that it "sounds quite a lot like a Disney ballad, beginning with Amy Lee cooing 'I will wander until the end of time' over a piano line straight off Powers Ballad Vol.12. It gets heavier at the end though, don't worry." Chris Willman of Reuters concluded that the song was "bluntly titled", while The Hollywood Reporter's Sophie Schillaci called it a "gut-wrenching" ballad. Calling the song "fiery", Chad Grischow of the website IGN noted that in "My Heart Is Broken", "Lee's siren-esque vocals shine, [and] the band takes a few interesting chances late in the album." Marc Hirsh of The Boston Globe called the song "a banshee howl of defiant, [and] self-lacerating rage." Billboard magazine's Christa Titus wrote that Lee's voice was "powerful and flexible as ever, as heard in her piercing wails on hit-in-waiting 'My Heart Is Broken'." Serene Dominic of The Arizona Republic wrote, "Really, when your heart is broken, you want a song that's as idea driven as 'My Heart is Broken' to carry you through and that's what she [Lee] delivers."
For the week ending November 25, 2011, "My Heart Is Broken" debuted at number 36 on the Austrian Singles Chart. It also debuted at number 92 on the German Singles Chart on November 28, 2011. On the US Adult Pop Songs, "My Heart Is Broken" debuted at number 40 for the week ending December 4, 2011.
Evanescence performed "My Heart Is Broken" live for the first time during the 2011 Rock in Rio festival on October 2, 2011. They later added the song to the set list on their third worldwide tour in support of Evanescence. Sophie Schillaci of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Lee's "high energy and an undeniably fierce vocal style" were best demonstrated during the performance of "My Heart Is Broken".
- ↑ Restore NYC (September 10, 2010) Had the first meal with @AmyLeeEv @plunkosante Josh & Norma in the safehouse last night. We got lots of work to do. Twitter
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/Evanescence/posts/10154862809831786