By Jacob Baumann
Although Imagine Dragons gained mainstream success at the end of last year, their debut album, Night Visions (Deluxe Edition), was not released until Feb. 12.
The band has been on the Las Vegas music scene since 2008, and the best way I can describe their sound is rock mixed with British pop. The vocal delivery and use of electronics is where the British pop portion can be discovered, and the pounding drums and guitars is where the rock part can derived. Somehow a bit of a folky style manages to sneak its way into this album, so the only category this group can be put in is indie.
In the early part of 2012, Imagine Dragons released their first EP since they were signed to a record label, Continued Silence, to positive reviews and acclaim out West. I’ll be honest and say I dismissed it when I first heard the track “Round and Round,” which just happened to be one of the worst songs on the EP, but I am seriously glad that I went back and listened to it.
“Radioactive” is a perfect of example of the benefits technology can bring to the music industry. The use of synth, voice effects, and the pounding drums on the song are almost hypnotic. The voice of lead singer Dan Reynolds is very intense throughout the track, but the sound being produced behind his voice is where the power is delivered with even more strength.
For some reason I overlooked “Tiptoe” when I first listened to it, but it is just as powerful as the rest of the songs on the album. After listening to these first two tracks, I fell in love with the band’s style. The power that rises from the drums, guitars, and synth really make for a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere outside this group. The vocals are bit more clear on this track, and the song is possesses a lighter tone.
Probably the most well-known track on the album, “It’s Time,” has been the band’s most successful single from the entire LP and for good reason. However, this is not my favorite track on the album. This track is a bit poppy for my taste, but it is enjoyable to listen to. The instrumentation in this song is similar to folk rock, but the lyrics and vocals give it a more mainstream feel. Honestly, every band who wants success needs a song like this. It sounds mainstream, but the rest of their material is very different from it. Fans of this song will go onto to listen more of their work, and find out if they like them or not.
The fourth track of Imagine Dragons album, Night Visions, is possibly my favorite song they have to offer. It is less aggressive than the other tracks and has a more emotional feel to it. The vocal delivery made this song for me, because it seemed so sincere and from the heart. It discusses how being human cannot be altered, and that mistakes will always happen. I thought it was really interesting to hear someone sing about something that most people are afraid to admit, mistakes.
When I first heard “On Top of the World,” my first thought was summertime. This would be the perfect soundtrack for having fun with family and friends outside in beautiful weather. Every time I listen to this track my spirits are lifted, because I know that even when times are rough I know that I will come out on top somehow. With that being said, the song may be pretty but it is kind of plain and useless. Songs like this and “Round and Round” are there for the sake of having a simple tune.
Everything in “Amsterdam” but the vocals scream The Killers, which is not surprising, because the group spawned from the same place as The Killers and they looked up to them. This song brings up a common theme throughout the album, and that is coming up short of what you hope to accomplish. The song isn’t really that special, but it is very emotional and lyrically very well executed.
“Hear Me” is a very strange track in comparison to the first six tracks, mainly due to the change up in the vocal delivery and guitar sounds. The song slowly builds up as it progresses to the chorus, and when it reaches its peak it is very powerful. This track is often overlooked, and I’m not sure why. It is different, but that’s what makes it special. It demonstrates that the group is capable of more than just “Radioactive” and “It’s Time.”
“Every Night” is most definitely the worst track of the entire album. The lyrics are poor in my opinion, and it doesn’t seem too offer anything. The song does show off lead singer Dan Reynold’s vocal range and some brilliant guitar playing, but it drags down the album. It is repetitive, like most modern music, and it felt as though it was there just because they needed another track.
Yet another gem that this album brings to the table, “Bleeding Out” is in my top 5 from the LP. The song is emotional and slightly intense. The electronic noises along with clapping throughout the song make it all the more enjoyable to listen to. The emotion journey that this song discusses can be interpreted in many ways. I think of it as someone who has reached a low point in their lives, and wants the person they love to be at the same low as themselves. The lyrics are really quite underrated and are often overlooked by the everyday listener, so I highly suggest you give this track a listen.
“Underdog” is a bit generic, and it would probably do fair well for mainstream music lovers. The other songs contain some dubstep-esque sounds, but this just overuses it. I would personally have thrown out this track, but that’s just me.
Overall, I would have to rate Night Visions a 3.5/5, and it probably the best album to come out of 2012-13 and possibly my new favorite group. Although a four is a really high score for me, I feel that this group has a lot of potential. My only worry is that they will start making more and simple songs to satisfy the general public, and this is where most bands fall off the wagon. I just hope Imagine Dragons continues with work of this quality and not sell out to what fame and riches might bring them.