Music: Imagine Dragons
"Above all, we try to write music that helps people cope with what can be a very hard life at times. We want to connect with the listener through the only means of communication we understand ó art."Imagine Dragons are an Alternative Rock band formed in Las Vegas in 2008. Their music ranges from Self Empowerment Anthems, to tunes about the Darkest Hour, from Silly Love Songs, to Breakup Songs. They rose to prominence with their album Night Visions in 2012, and the three hit songs that came from it; "It's Time", their first hit; "Radioactive", which earned the band a 2014 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, and "Demons".The band has also recorded songs for the movies The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Transformers: Age of Extinction, the mobile game Infinity Blade III, and the 2014 League of Legends World Championship. Frankenweenie and Iron Man 3 have some pieces from the band on their respective tie-in albums, but these do not appear in the movies themselves.
- Imagine Dragons EP (2009)
- Hell & Silence EP (2010)
- It's Time EP (2011)
- Continued Silence EP (2012)
- Hear Me EP (2012)
- Night Visions (2012)
- The Archive EP (2013)
- iTunes LIVE EP (2013)
- Smoke + Mirrors (2015)
This band provides examples of:
- After the End: The lyrics of "Radioactive" (alluding to a nuclear apocalypse). Also the music video for "It's Time" (showing the band exploring a desolate wasteland of a city).
- Album Title Drop: The phrase "Hell and Silence", the title of an EP, gets sung during "Emma".
- The Atoner: "Bleeding Out" seems to imply a message of "Hey, I did a lot of bad things to you, but I'm paying for it now."So I bare my skin
And I count my sins
And I close my eyes
And I take it in
Iím bleeding out
Iím bleeding out for you, for you.
- Audience Participation: Dan Reynolds often encourages those who attend the concerts to sing along.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: "Monster" and "Battle Cry" accompany fight scenes in Infinity Blade III and Transformers: Age of Extinction, respectively. Ironically, the first song of theirs that played in a Transformers movie, "All For You", sounds very mellow, and doesn't accompany a fight scene with Autobots.
- Book Ends: "Battle Cry" ends by repeating the first verse.Just one more time before I go
I'll let you know
That all this time I've been afraid
Wouldn't let it show
Nobody can save me now, no
Nobody can save me now
- Break Her Heart To Save Her: Assuming it's a her (which is left unclear), this is part of what happens in "Demons".
- Break Up Song: A few songs have this implication, such as "Demons", "Amsterdam", and "Leave Me", to name only a few.
- Cannot Spit It Out: "On Top Of The World" is about telling those you love you love them before they leave.
- Canon Discontinuity: The Internet didn't seem to indicate the existence of any Imagine Dragons EPs older than 2009, until some songs from a 2008 EP called Speak to Me appeared on Tumblr in December 2014. (However, there did exist this video of a former band member performing the title song, and Lyricsmania shared the lyrics to "The Pit") The band's manager, Mac Reynolds, explained that since only one of the members featured in those tracks-Dan Reynolds-remained with Imagine Dragons afterward, the band didn't really consider Speak to Me one of their own works.
- Careful With That Axe: Sort of. Dan doesn't necessarily scream on any of their songs (except during some live performances), but he's got a hell of a shouting voice that most tenors would probably die for, as heard most notably in the chorus of "Radioactive".
- Cover Version: Quite a few, most notably their live covers of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" and blur's "Song 2".
- Darkest Hour: "Demons", where the singer/protagonist has given up any hope for protecting anything other than someone he cares for. If you pay attention, quite a few of their other songs have similar vibes, like "Lost Cause" and "Nothing Left to Say".
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Dan Reynolds admittedly went through this in college, failing at different talents before deciding that his true calling involved becoming a musician.I really believe you donít do music [just] because you want to, you do music because you have to.
- Double Meaning Title: The name of "The Fall" can refer to either autumn, or the singer's downfall.
- Downer Ending: Smoke + Mirrors ends on a rather depressing note in both of its North American versions, as if the album didn't already have enough self-loathing/disillusioned-sounding songs.
- Standard 13 track version, which ends with "The Fall":Iím ready for the fall
Ready for the leaves
Ready for the colors to burn to gold
And crumble away
- Deluxe 17 track version, which ends with "Release":But look at me
Oh what a mess
I get caught up in the things that matter the least
Oh let me have release
I've let me down down down down (repeat four times)
- International deluxe versions end on a more hopeful note with either "Warriors"note or "Who We Are"note .
- Standard 13 track version, which ends with "The Fall":
- The End Is Nigh: The subject of "Fallen":Tell everybody, tell everybody
Brothers, sisters, the ending is coming
- Some versions of Night Visions use this as the last track.
- Grief Song: The singer of "Clouds" apparently had his heart broken, and consequently proclaims that he wants to die. He changes his mind after the third chorus, but still acknowledges the mortality of man. Additionally, said chorus says something about "prisoners" in London waiting "for their turn to be dead."
- Heel Realization: One interpretation of "The River" explains that the singer has realized his own selfishness, and decided to perform a spiritual cleansing.
- Hidden Track: "Rocks", at the end of "Nothing Left To Say", begins after a two-and-a-half minute outro and fifteen seconds of silence. Even though the name is in the track title, you'd be forgiven for thinking the track didn't exist.
- Humans Are Bastards: In "Demons", the line "No matter what we breed / We still are made of greed" implies that basic human selfishness will always be present, no matter how you teach the next generation.
- I Am a Monster: The aptly-named "Monster".
- The Insomniac: Wayne Sermon, as referenced in some of the songs.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Cool name, even though none of their songs have anything to do with dragons. The first EP had a Magic Eye puzzle of a dragon on its cover, though.
- The Invisible Band: Imagine Dragons doesn't appear in the Animated Music Video for "Warriors", and only make a cameo in the video for "I Bet My Life". Additionally, a few videos on their pre-Vevo YouTube channel consist of simply the band singing while random clips play.
- Ironic Echo: "Pantomime" makes four usages of the phrase, "It's just a matter of, 'Oh, don't touch me. Don't you, don't you touch me no more.'", the last of which replaces the second "don't you" with, "dare". The singer uses it twice during the first verse, when hesitating to take an ex-girlfriend back in, especially as her friends try to help him rebound. It appears two more times in the second verse, which details how the singer and the ex broke up (she left him for a rich and handsome man), and why she started pursuing him again (the rich and handsome man keeps brushing her aside in favor of making more money).
- It's Not You, It's Me: The singer of "Amsterdam" blames himself for a romance falling through, but apparently it took a snarky remark from the lover for him to develop this attitude.
- Large Ham:
"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH DIG MY SHALLOW GRAVE! It's not meeee you'll save, 'Cause I'm a lost cause. I'M A LOST CAUSE! A LOOOOOOOOST CAAAUUUUSE!"
- The entire chorus of "Radioactive", natch.
- "Lost Cause" almost delves into Chewing the Scenery territory. Dan Reynolds really knows how to hit the high notes, and only as one volume: LOUD.
- "A MONNSTER A MMONNTSER AND IT KEEPS GETTING STRONNGEERRR"
- Lonely at the Top: "Gold" makes material wealth sound like an inadequate replacement for human companionship.
- Long Song, Short Scene: Only the intro of "Who We Are" plays during Catching Fire, and at the end of the end credits.
- Love at First Sight: "Living Musical" is sung from the perspective of someone experiencing this.
- Love Martyr: Most of Night Visions.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Demons" and "Every Night" both start with lyrics before the instruments begin. "Every Night" is a particularly apt example - it's basically A Cappella for the first line.
- Lyrical Dissonance:
- "I Need a Minute," the first song from the group's first EP, sounds like a peppy dance song. However, the first verse goes like so:Welcome to the land of fire
I hope you brought the right attire
The crippled man is waiting at the door
He said "your eyes are much too bright"
The things you say are never right
The sins of all the world lie on your head
- "On Top Of The World" has a perky instrumental for a songs who's lyrics are about saying "I Love You" before it's too late.
- "Shots" has lyrics that seem to imply a romance broken beyond repair, but the instrumental actually sounds peppy.
- "I Need a Minute," the first song from the group's first EP, sounds like a peppy dance song. However, the first verse goes like so:
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch:
- Dan Reynolds admittedly thought showing a world-shattering apocalypse in the music video for "Radioactive" would seem too predictable, so how does it cover the song's themes of empowerment instead? It tells the story of a young woman who rescues Imagine Dragons from Lou Diamond Phillips, with help from her teddy bear, who slays a puppet monster.
- Possibly bearing even less relevance to its song, "On Top of the World" has a video in which the band visits The Sixties and televises a staged moon landing.
- Mondegreen: Some songs fall victim to this, requiring Dan Reynolds to Tweet fans the correct lyrics. For at least one tune, "Destination", he admitted considering officially changing the words to match the misheard version ("I think a little 'bout a lot/I reach a verdict" —> "I think a little 'bout a lot/I'm introverted").
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Anywhere from a 2 ("Demons") to a rough 6 ("Friction").
- Mood Whiplash:
- In Night Visions, "Bleeding Out" has very dark lyrics (see above), but transitions into the lighter "Underdog", which is both faster and in a major key.
- Same with "Demons" followed by "On Top of the World", on both Continued Silence and Night Visions.
- Moon Landing Hoax: The video for "On Top Of The World" eventually reveals that the Apollo 11 Moon Landing was filmed in a stage, with Imagine Dragons as the astronauts, Stanley Kubrick as the director, and Richard Nixon watching next to Kubrick. After the "success" of the landing, the stage is swarmed by fangirls who listen to the band perform.
- New Sound Album: Smoke + Mirrors has the band experiment with genres that Night Visions didn't explore.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, two of the band members are named "Daniel".
- One Woman Song: "Selene" and "Emma"
- Patriotic Fervor: Expressed in "America", sung from the perspective of a soldier motivated by a desire to protect his country, and also by inspiration from the Heroic Sacrifices made in past battles.
- Product Placement: Not specifically advertising, but rather a tribute to the game. The music video for "Warriors" was made very specifically for League of Legends.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Some of their songs do this.It's woven in my soul
I need to let. You. Go.
- Race for Your Love: Discussed in "Curse".Cause I can't sit oh I can't talk
I gotta leave this town and run to you
Curse these nights that speak your name
I gotta leave this town and come to you
Break (oh) this (oh) curse (oh)
- Repurposed Pop Song:
- "It's Time", "Radioactive", "On Top of the World", "I Bet My Life", "I'm So Sorry", and "Friction" have played in various commercials and trailers.
- "Monster" was used in a video package for Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30.
- A Target commercial that premiered at the 2015 Grammys comprised entirely of Imagine Dragons performing "Shots" live from Las Vegas.
- Revolving Door Band: Every original member besides Dan Reynolds has left.
- Serious Business: "Warriors" treats League of Legends like this. Since it never refers to League of Legends by name, listeners could apply it to any competitive activity.Farewell, I've gone to take my throne above
But don't weep for me
'Cause this will be
The labor of my love
- Significant Anagram: The band's name apparently is one, but they don't plan on revealing what it is anytime soon.
- One of their favorite fan interpretations is the phrase "God is in a manger", which even Sermon called "a better band name than Imagine Dragons".
- Silly Love Songs: "Every Night" and "On Top Of The World".
- Spelling Song: The title song of the lost EP Speak to Me has a bridge that spells out, "Imagine movement. (Imagine) Let us be fearless." The last song, "Boots", spells out, "judgement", a few times.
- Surreal Music Video:
- "I Bet My Life" has a young man, portrayed by Dane Dehaan, get sucked into a dam during a fistfight. He goes through different environments of sea, air, and land, which become revealed as All Just a Dream as the other fighter pulls him out of the river. Clips of this video also appeared in a Jeep commercial.
- "Shots" places the band in environments inspired by the surrealist covers painter Tim Canton produced for Smoke + Mirrors and its singles.
- Title Drop: Like most singers, they have a tendency to use song titles in their lyrics. Averted in "The Unknown", and possibly also "Shots".note
- Unplugged Version: The EP the band recorded for iTunes includes acoustic versions of five songs, two of which hadn't received public release before.
- A Wild Rapper Appears: Kendrick Lamar appears in the remix of "Radioactive".
- Windows of the Soul:
- The song "Demons" is all about this trope.
When you feel my heat
- From the chorus:
Look into my eyes
It's where my demons hide
It's where my demons hide
Your eyes, they shine so bright
- From the bridge:
I want to save that light
- "I Need a Minute" also briefly touched on this, as quoted earlier in this page.
- The song "Demons" is all about this trope.
"Now don't you understand
That I'm never changing who I am"
That I'm never changing who I am"