Evanescence’s “Lithium” Lyrics Meaning

The easiest way to understand Evanescence’s “Lithium” is by realizing that, generally speaking, the titular “lithium” is an allusion to depression. Or as the song’s writer and performer, Evanescence’s lead singer Amy Lee, puts it, “lithium” is a “metaphor for happiness from a negative point of view“. Yes, in actuality lithium is a drug that is used to treat severe depression. But that alludes to the double meaning of this song, if you will.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Evanescence's Lithium at Lyrics.org.

You see, despite being a victim of chronic unhappiness, the singer has grown accustomed to it. So even though within the context of this song she apparently has a chance to overcome this feeling, for the most part she instead cleaves to her “lithium”. This alludes to the idea of her being reluctant to live her life without being depressed, as in being afraid of happiness. And it is strictly metaphorical, as she has stated that she never took the actual drug lithium.

So according to Amy Lee’s own words, that is the meaning of this song. However, some analysts and fans have also asserted that there is a romantic element to this song. That is to say that at certain points it becomes feasibly arguable that she is referencing a person – as in a romantic interest – and not “lithium”. And that individual is hypothesized to be Shaun Morgan, who is a fellow musician she dated from 2003 to 2005. Their relationship did not end favorably, and the reality of such is said to have been one of the inspirations behind this particular song. And while such may or may not be true, “Lithium” in its entirety is definitely not about Shaun.

What “Lithium” is really about

The lyrics are about a lady who is having a difficult time letting go of depression. Perhaps one of the reasons, which can be supported by certain lines in this song, is an inability to find lasting love. But either way, it is a situation where she is so used to being down that the idea of being up actually intimidates her. 

So we can conclude, to some degree, that the subject of this song is chronically depressed. But on a positive note, by the end of the track we can also see that, despite her reservations, she has decided to ‘let go’ of this feeling and implicitly strive for happiness.

Lyrics of "Lithium"

Amy Lee sheds light on the song’s meaning

In an interview Amy Lee had with MTV, she confirmed the song isn’t literally about the drug lithium. She further stated that she had never used that drug to combat depression. According to her, she used lithium as more of a metaphor throughout the song. Here are Amy’s precise words regarding the song’s real meaning:

Amy Lee talks about "Lithium"

Chart Performance

This song managed to make it onto three of Billboard’s charts, including the Modern Rock Tracks chart where it reached number 37.

It performed better across the pond, peaking at number 36 on the UK Singles Chart. It further topped the UK Rock Chart.

The country where Lithium performed the best was in Italy, where it reached number 2 on the FIMI’s Top Digital Download’s chart.

Who wrote “Lithium”?

It was written exclusively by Amy Lee. According to her, she originally penned the song when was only just 16-years old.

And the band’s frequent collaborator, Dave Fortman, took care of the song’s production works.

Release Date of “Lithium”

Evanescence released “Lithium” via Wind-up Records on 6 February 2007. It was originally featured on their second album which goes by the title The Open Door. It also served as the second single released from that project.

FYI: A rearranged version of the track also made an appearance on Evanescence’s hit 2017 album Synthesis. On Synthesis also appears a rearranged version of the band’s hit song “Bring Me to Life”.

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