Thursday, November 29, 2012

Anywhere but Home

One of my favorite things in Freegal is how it's helped me find some hidden gems that I never would have known about otherwise. Now, most of the time, when you hear the phrase "hidden gem," it's referring to a band or album that was overlooked despite being amazing. For me, however, there's another kind of hidden gem: songs or albums by some of my own favorite artists that I never knew existed. These are particularly exciting in my opinion because they blend the familiar with the unfamiliar, the new with the old. You get the excitement of discovering something new even though it still sounds comfortably familiar.

My hidden gem for today is "Anywhere but Home." It's a live album recording from Evanescence, recorded during a 2004 tour. Now, I'm a fan of live albums for several reasons; I think it's interesting (albeit sometimes sad) to hear the difference between a studio album and a live one. In my opinion, there's something more visceral about hearing the music without all the cleaning, modifying and other audio tricks that go into a studio work. Most importantly, however, is that you can usually find a hidden gem on a live album that didn't make it into the studio release.

“Anywhere but Home” is a great Evanesence collection in and of itself. You’ve got a collection that includes the band’s finest earlier works, which are themselves worthy of your Freegal downloads for a few weeks. What makes me give “Anywhere but Home” a special nod, however, is the final track on the album: Missing. This song wasn’t included in the original “Fallen” album, nor is it available anywhere else to the best of my knowledge.

Missing is a haunting piece of music that is the perfect sound for the onset of winter if you prefer your winters a little more Grimm and a little less department store holiday cliché. It’s haunting and cold in all the best ways with a vocal performance that tugs at both the heartstrings with darkly evocative lyrics even as you marvel at Amy Lee’s raw vocal talent. It’s not just the best song on the album. It’s one of my favorite songs, period.

Missing is the kind of song that is good enough to make me buy an album just for that song. Usually, that’s a bad thing; it always felt like a waste of money when nothing else measured up to that one song. “Anywhere but Home” is a strong enough collection that it’s really worth listening to the entire thing, but if you prefer to get straight to the highlight, this is a perfect example of why Freegal is a wonderful way to acquire music. You can grab this one particular gem and give it a listen to see if it's to your taste. If gothic rock and haunting vocals are your thing, I'm pretty sure this one will be to your liking.

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