Sound: There are plenty of artists that state their music is never meant to cater to fans but if it happens, of course, it's never such a bad thing commercially speaking. Flyleaf has taken a bit of a different approach, in the fact that the latest EP Remember To Live was indeed created for the fans. The release includes several tracks are rarities, many of which fans have heard only at concerts and requested to be recorded. Flyleaf did just that, and the end product features everything from unreleased demos to acoustic versions of past studio recordings. In general there is a mellower vibe to the entire EP, but there are certainly moments when vocalist Lacey Mosley's powerful wail delivers a much-needed emotional burst to Remember To Live.
The opener, the acoustic Violent Love Version of Justice and Mercy, is certainly every bit a stripped-down take on the original. Because there is a bit more instrumentation than just one acoustic guitar, it often times comes across as a typical ballad. It's moving, yes, but it would have been intriguing to hear Justice and Mercy with an even more bare bones approach. Okay was an oft-performed track in concert preceding the song Tina, and it again shows off the mellower side of Flyleaf. It's by no means acoustic, but the quiet mix and Mosley's emotional delivery makes it all work.
Amy Says, a reworked demo written before Flyleaf's debut record, stands out as being one of the most impressive tracks. It builds and builds until it explodes into a monstrous chorus that is aided by chilling harmonies from Mosley. Dear My Closest Friend is taken from the band's earliest days (a time when they were called Passerby), and it's a heartfelt offering that is once again more about how Mosley sells it. You hear the pain ooze out of every word she sings, and although in some ways the song never goes anywhere that unique musically, it's still a moving song.
Ben Moody of We Are The Fallen and more well known as Evanescence's former guitarist and songwriter provides his own mix of Arise. The track originally showed up on the 2009 release Memento Mori, and the latest version dips more heavily into an electronic style during the verse. The chorus, on the other hand, seems to be layered with a much thicker wall of sound whether via regular gain or added digital effects. The tempo remains the same for the most part, and of all the songs, the latest mix doesn't necessarily make that much of a difference. There's a big crescendo at the end of Arise, which actually makes it more memorable given the fact that so much of the material on Remember To Live is a softer, gentler side of Flyleaf. // 8
Lyrics: Much like the musical content, the lyrics on Remember To Live are on the emotional side. The track Okay may be repetitive in some ways, but the reiterated lyrics pack a punch. Mosley sings, It's too important for us to forget; We'll unify our thoughts; God will hear and save; God will hear and save us. Likewise Amy Says deals with feelings of despair in lines such as, Amy says she's all alone; Says the world doesn't even know; About the pain she hides inside; Says happiness is just a lie. While the topics aren't unfamiliar, there is an honest aspect to the tracks that should connect with listeners and it seems they already have with the fans requesting these songs to be recorded. // 8
Overall Impression: Remember To Live has a passionate quality to it that even those who aren't fans of Flyleaf should find the EP highly listenable. There are a few songs that thrive on a slower tempo and don't ever veer from that state too much, and in those moments you might get antsy if you're expecting Mosley to deliver one of her powerhouse belts. Even so, Remember To Live is a much more impressive offering than one would expect from a short-and-sweet EP. // 9