“My Immortal” is about feeling trapped in the pain of losing a loved one. The song’s speaker has lost a companion forever but feels as if their presence hasn’t totally departed. The lyrics switch between describing the pain of the present and remembering the joy of the past.
Quite a few interesting events took place involving the composition, reception, and release(s) of the track. For one, this song was primarily a Ben Moody creation, although Amy Lee is credited for developing the bridge. Sometime after the song’s release for Evanescence’s Fallen, the group created a “band version,” which was more polished. This pleased the band members, who reportedly disliked the former recording.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this song’s heartbreaking lyrics in order to decipher their intended meaning. We’ll also dive into the story behind the song’s creation, as well as the universal themes that make the track so celebrated. Without further ado, let’s get started!
The track begins by stating the singer’s problem directly. She’s “tired” of being “suppressed” by fear and stuck in one spot. Why is she afraid? The “presence” of an unknown figure still “lingers” around the singer, which haunts her.
The pre-chorus reveals that the loss of this figure was a painful thing for the speaker. “Time cannot erase” the suffering she feels, meaning the relationship must have been very close. After establishing this backdrop, the song wastes no time in getting to the chorus.
In the chorus, the singer reflects on the happy times she enjoyed with her departed companion. It was a devoted, meaningful connection. She would “wipe away” his tears and was apparently very attached to him “for all of these years.” Even though he’s gone, she still feels as though she belongs to him.
The line about wiping away tears has captured a lot of attention, as some believe it may be a Biblical reference. In the book of Revelation, the text describes God wiping away the tears of the faithful. Basically, this lyric may be not only a sign of the singer’s devotion but also an allusion to something involving the afterlife or spirituality.
After the first chorus, verse two continues contrasting the singer’s previous joy with her current suffering. She describes being captivated by the “resonating light” she saw in her companion. Now, that same extraordinary pull is torturing her. In her dreams, his face “haunts” her and drives her further into a deep, maddening depression.
Simply put, the lyrics point out the fact that the deeper a connection is, the more harm is done when it’s lost. This can result in getting stuck in the past and being unable to move forward, which is exactly the subject the song is dealing with.
Evanescence has reportedly conceded that the song refers to a lingering “spirit” that haunts a loved one left behind. However, Moody wrote the lyrics purely as a “storyteller,” not from specific personal experience. As a result, the application of these lyrics can be very broad. Though the track is dedicated to Moody’s grandfather, the lyrics themselves are fictional.
At this point, the song repeats the pre-chorus and chorus. This leads to an interesting and emotional bridge, during which the singer reveals more about her grief. She’s “tried so hard” to accept the permanence of the loss but feels her companion is “still with her.” At the same time, she is both “alone” and with her departed loved one.
After one more chorus, the song comes to a close. To sum up, “My Immortal” is about the heartbreak involved in losing your other half. It describes the strange reality that a lost person can feel immortal even if they are gone because they live on in the memory and the heart. As the song explains, this can be a curse at times.
“My Immortal” existed in many forms before it became what we know today. The earliest recordings of the general idea date back as far as 1997. The lion’s share of the concept and lyrics are attributed to Ben Moody, although Amy Lee also contributed (most notably in the song’s bridge).
Evanescence’s demo CD, Origin, contained a recording of the song that was later used on another album release, Fallen. Although the band members didn’t like this recording, it was used by the studio against their will. Essentially, the group had grown far beyond where they were at the time of the demo and felt as if they were being cheated out of artistic progress.
This didn’t last for long since the band re-released the track as a single in 2003. This time, the preferred recording was used, which included better orchestration and a fuller performance. Evanescence could finally rest easy in the knowledge that their art was complete.
Even this release, however, was not without some social oddities. A section at the end of the track led some listeners to speculate about a hidden morse code message. Despite the rumors, the claim is definitely without merit. According to Evanescence, the beeping sound at the end of the track is simply a “preset pattern” on a synthesizer used in the track.
Despite everything surrounding the composition, production, and release, fans have unapologetically loved this song to death. It charted at #7 on the Billboard Top 100 and was nominated for a Grammy in 2005. Critically and commercially, this song can only be considered a success.
The next time you press play on this powerful song, let these little bits of background information make your experience even more special!