Lately, I’ve found myself completely bored with new music. I’ve listened to local radio stations, and I find myself swapping channels constantly. I cannot seem to find something worth listening to, and it kind of makes me lose hope in popular modern music. However, I have found a gem that stands out from the rest. “Radioactive” by Las Vegas, NV-based band Imagine Dragons caught my attention with its heavy drum and bass and apocalyptic lyrics.
I was amazed by the inclusion of bass modulation that made it feel almost like dubstep, while it maintained a beat and energy that made it perfect for pop stations too. Its dark tones kept my attention and made me wonder about the band. It was definitely one of those songs that could be interpreted a dozen different ways, so I decided I wanted to hear more Imagine Dragons.
After a small YouTube search I found the album Night Visions, which the single “Radioactive” is from. Luckily for me “Radioactive” was the first song, but after that my ears were sent on a crazy trip.
To my surprise the rest of the album really didn’t sound like “Radioactive.” The next song after “Radioactive” stunned me. “Tiptoe” was nothing like “Radioactive,” because to me it sounded like the 80’s puked on today’s music. The synthesizers screamed like a blast from the past, but I moved on with a hope in my heart that the rest of the album would not sound like this.
I had also heard the next song on the radio. “It’s Time” was completely different from “Radioactive,” so much so that I didn’t realize it was the same artist. The song is very upbeat with acoustic guitar but deeper subject matter. However, it occurred to me at this point that the album was more of an experiment than a complete album. The band wanted to see what they could accomplish, and it made me want to continue listening.
The experiment took my ears through the amazing journey of a band that was trying to find its own distinct sound. Most of the songs were just as deep as “Radioactive,” in their sound and subject matter. “Demons,” was a perfect example of this. Simple at first however, at second glance extremely well thought out choruses and lyrics that truly give each song a different tune.
There were songs that pulled away from the depressive lyrics such as “On Top of the World,” that were happy, upbeat, and filled with hopeful lyrics that made me bare a stupid grin. “Underdog” fits into the same category of happiness. Reminiscent of 8-bit music, it carries on with a tropical type sound.
After that, the styles from previous tracks started reappearing. “Amsterdam,” “Hear Me,” and “Bleeding out,” showed a definite style starting to show up in Imagine Dragons’ music. In these three songs in particular, the vocal style is similar to “Radioactive” while the musical style is more similar to “It’s Time” with its upbeat, folksy guitar. The happy music juxtaposed with the darker vocal style and sometimes deeply personal lyrics created a very relatable contradiction that kept my attention throughout the album.
Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this album and by Imagine Dragons. The fact that they are a new band kind of ticked me off because now I have to wait for them to release more. I would definitely suggest to any music lover with two thumbs up.