The first single from Evanescence's self-titled third studio album finally saw the light of day in the summer of 2011, four years after the band's previous single release, "Good Enough
Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee
penned the song at her house in New York with bassist Tim McCord and guitarist Terry Balsamo. She told MTV News: "We were just jamming, like, recording demos, and obviously the song has grown a lot since then, with everyone else. For me, it was - and I need to remember this, so I can apply it in the future - it wasn't trying so hard to be some epic, massive chorus. I was just doodling around on the piano and the guys were like, 'Do that
. Whatever you just did, that's an awesome melody.' And I was like, 'Really?' Sometimes you just need your friends to be like, 'Do that!'"
Lee explained the song's meaning to MTV News: "It's about freedom - that's definitely a constant theme on the record - but, it's like Evanescence, and me, and my relationship with the music and the fans, and coming to that [realization] of 'This is what I'm supposed to do ... I want to do this,'" she said. "And when it says, 'Remember who you really are,' that's exactly everything you could assume it means."
The song features strings arranged by Beck's father, David Campbell, who has also worked with Adam Lambert, Metallica and My Chemical Romance, amongst others. He also previously collaborated with Amy Lee and co on The Open Door.
The song's music video was directed by Meiert Avis, who has also worked with the likes of U2, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. It was filmed on July 30, 2011 in Brooklyn, New York and is a biographical clip of the band from their early days to their reconvening after their hiatus.
"This video is sort of, like, the history of the band," Amy Lee told MTV News. "This club [set] is emulating old shows we used to play in the beginning - we used to play this club called Vino's in Little Rock [Arkansas] - it's sort of like back then, the gritty, dirty club, sweaty. And basically, it's also [about] New York, where I've been, [and] where [bassist] Tim [McCord] lived in the past few years since we've been gone. And it's sort of about escaping New York and coming back out into the world."
Lee told MTV News why the band chose this track as the lead single for Evanescence. "On one hand, we had a lot of songs that we all felt like we would like to be singles, but it was a really natural choice [to go with 'What You Want]," she explained. "It's kind of about coming back in some ways, about the fans, about this Evanescence renaissance we're having. I think it makes sense."
Amy Lee invited her sister, Carrie, to the recording studio to come up with some ideas for the video "She's a writer, so I was like, 'Would you just sit here with me and listen to the song a couple times and just tell me what you see?'" Lee recalled to MTV News. "She just started saying things that were right on. She was like, 'This should be in New York. You guys need to do something different, this song feels different.' And she started talking about running across the Brooklyn Bridge, and it being where I live, and I was like, 'Oh my God, this is great.'"
The climactic scene, in which the band wades into the surf at New York's Coney Island, was Amy's idea. "That was my real part, I kind of came up with the ending; I feel like it's a representation of us coming back to the world," she told MTV News. "We have a pretty large international fanbase, so I always think about us going on tour, and so much of touring for us is going overseas. But it's a little more than that; it's us heading into the unknown, coming into a new world, coming back after a long time; you've seen the past in the rest of the video, and that's the unknown future."
Lee explained to Reuters that the song is a self-directed pep talk concerning her return after spending four years away from the spotlight. "That song is me talking to myself about not being afraid and coming back to this thing and living the life I was born to live," she explained. "Sometimes, it takes a lot to do this. And I do love it very much, but there is always that fear of putting yourself under the microscope."
Lee insisted to Kerrang! magazine that it's a coincidence that the chorus of the band's first new song for four years begins with the line, "Hello, hello, remember me." She explained the 'me' is actually intended to represent "chaos."