Once upon a time, Evanescence's Amy Lee was seen as a Christian rocker -- at least until she figured out it would be more profitable to come across as a secular rocker with a spiritual side. Now, however, she's transformed herself into the Celine Dion of gloom. Throughout The Open Door (the chart-topping followup to the 2003 blockbuster Fallen), Lee wails fervently over backdrops that drip with dark-hued drama. There are no shortage of over-the-top touches, including the crazed choir heard during "Lacrymosa," which could pass for an Andrew Lloyd Webber outtake, and the faux strings that swirl around "Lithium," a rafter-rattler that finds Lee declaring, "I want to stay in love with my sorrow." Self-pity like this is more convincing when it's delivered with maximum emotionalism, and Lee is more than up to the task. The results will probably strike many music lovers as silly and overwrought. But for the right kind of listener -- say, a middle-schooler who's just been dumped for the first time -- Lee's exhortations will seem heaven-sent.


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