I ran across the band Flyleaf on one of my student’s iLike page (a Facebook application that enables you to share what music you like). Flyleaf would be categorized as a metal band. I’m not especially into metal music– I looved Evanescence’s Bring Me to Life when it was on the radio back in 2003 but that’s as far as my metal lineage goes. I like to see what music my Facebook friends like so I checked out the band–even though I was skeptical. I cruised over to Myspace where I like to listen to band’s music streaming while I do other things on the internet. Alot of times when I check out a new band on myspace it doesn’t last long. One song and then I get sick of the generic sound, or offended by the lyrics. I found myself surprised when I listened to all of the songs without either occurring. In face I enjoyed the music. I then scooted over to the band’s website and read their bio. check this out:
Heavy music and pained lyrics go together like cake and ice cream, and Belton, Texas quintet, Flyleaf, aren’t about to break with tradition. But while many loud rockers reopen old wounds by singing about their broken homes and broken hearts, Flyleaf confront past traumas to heal old scars and prove in the process that hope shines brighter than despair.
‘I used to be in a really negative band, and that seemed to almost fuel my emptiness because that’s what the songs were about,” says charismatic singer Lacey Mosley. “That’s why I think what we’re doing is important because there needs to be something heavy out there that has a positive message so people see that it’s possible to get through the worst situations.’
While Flyleaf gets alot of Evanescence comparisons basically because it is metal and has a female singer, I won’t do that because I know so little about metal music I don’t want to embarrass myself. While their music is definitely skilled and masterful, they do sound similar to other metal bands with female singers. But their positive lyrics set them apart as a band in this genre trying to make a positive difference.
See my post entitled “Is Rap Inherently Evil” to see how I view stereotypically negative music genres. Flyleaf truly identifies with the powerful emotions of pain, confusion and disorientation many feel. The difference with Flyleaf is that they do not glorify these emotions not do they present them in an end to themselves. The band instead points to hope at end of the tunnel. Indeed often we need to go through horrific experiences before we can get to this hope.
The topics Flyleaf sings about in their self titled debut album (2005), range from what saying ‘I’m Sorry’ means, shame, moving on to a new life, emptiness, selfishness, and a song about the girl Cassie who was killed in the Columbine massacre. The lyrics use powerful imagery to depict emotions that effect our bodies and our thoughts. They lyrics sort of channel the energy in these emotions to a positive end, but without ignoring where they came from. Though rich with symbols, sometimes I’m not sure what the lyrics mean, like in the song Sorrow. There could be many possible meanings and interpretations, perhaps even the band wants us to find our own meaning (as many bands do) or perhaps they just weren’t specific in that song. Many of the songs’ lyrics resonate so much with the experience of being a born again Christian I did a little hunting and discovered the the lead singer Lacey Mosley is indeed a Christian. The band shakes off the title of “Christian” however and says what they sing about comes from who they are. Indeed few “Christian” bands so unabashedly walk this line of being broken yet strong.
Generation X members will recognize and appreciate the 90’s grunge influences. But Flyleaf does not sound like a grunge band; they definitely know when to rock out screaming and when to slow it down for affect. If you don’t like metal I think you could still like this band although if you get a copy of the CD, the first song, I’m So Sick, starts out right away with actual screaming. Better to first listen to more palatable (and my favorite) tracks Fully Alive and All Around Me.
Flyleaf recently (2007) put out a short EP, Much Like Falling. I haven’t checked it out but if you like to keep your music current you might want to listen to this first before this 2005 album.