Becoming the next big band isn’t a one step process, but a culmination of years of hard work through constant studio time, touring, and self-promotion. Three years ago, Imagine Dragons embarked on this musical journey and are now garnering notoriety outside of their loyal Las Vegas and Utah fan bases, where it all started.
Continued Silence is their eponymous release since signing with Interscope Records back in November of 2011. Collaborating with hit producer, Alex Da Kid, responsible for hits such as “Love the Way You Lie,” the two show that anthemic, pulse pounding tracks with something to say is not simply an allusion to another time in music when bands were at the center, but a reality in the form of four rockers who started out in Provo, Utah.
Surprisingly enough, the EP dropped back on Valentine’s Day of this year and slowly gained speed until a couple major film/tv syncs, which include “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” feature trailer and the Olympics cross-promotion with new NBC drama, “Chicago Fire,” sparked national interest. With their music reaching millions of viewers, an upcoming fall tour with AWOLNATION, and an EP that is now in the top ten on iTunes, the future seems very bright.
The opening track, “Radioactive,” which can be heard during the Olympic Games telecast, sets the tempo for the rest of the record. Opening harmonies make us believe that it is a slow heartfelt track, that is until the bass drops and Dan Reynolds (vocalist) sings, “I’m waking up to ash and dust/I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust/ I’m breathing in the chemicals." These opening lines serve to demonstrate that these aren’t generic boy band lyrics that talk about love, but a proclamation that their sound is something fresh and exciting, yet still relatable. “Welcome to the new age, to the new age...I’m radioactive,” Reynolds states in the chorus, and deservedly so.
“Demons” and “My Fault” are the two prominent songs about love and loss on the EP. The hooks are catchy, the instrumentation is spot on, and Reynolds’s voice shows its wide range. That said, the true beauty lies in the lyrics and message derived from each track. Unlike most top 40 songs, which we like purely for the catchiness of them, these songs resonate on a more personal, intrinsic level. When the words, “Is it my fault/Is it my fault/We’ve been missing each other/We’ve been missing each other,” are heard, as a listener, we can try to understand the thought process that went into writing this. The constant second guessing of ourselves and our relationships; the repeated phrases that reinforce we are not alone in how we feel at times.
With some darker, more melancholic themes and instrumental elements, “On Top of the World” is a smart record that allows for a change of tone and pace. It’s a feel good song that you can see yourself singing on a summer day trip with your best friends. Like the rest of their tracks, lyrical content is never sacrificed for the sake of making a song more” poppy” sounding.
Incorporating a driving guitar chord progression and incessant drum beat, “Round and Round” is the perfect pump-up music song. Breaking free from the metaphorical shackles that bind us—trepidation, complacency—it’s a call to arms, telling us to not be afraid of who want to become. Until we do this, everything in our lives is cyclical.
The first hit single off of Continued Silence, “It’s Time,” was the perfect choice, and for good reason. It’s by far the most radio friendly of the six tracks. The stomp-claps that start the song off get your head into the motion, followed by an insanely captivating riff that evokes a sense of world music influence. It’s a pop song, but it’s not. It’s much more than that. It’s a call to stop the fighting, to stop the bigotry, and to come together and be not just a good person, but a unified whole. The chorus says as follows:
“It's time to begin, isn't it?I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admit
I'm just the same as I was
Now don't you understand?
I'm never changing who I am.”
At the heart and soul of a person is the desire to do better, whether it for ourselves and/or others. Alongside this, however, we cannot be blind to how we treat others, even if it is the road less traveled. We are all in this together, after all.
Be on the lookout for their first full length album, Night Visions, which drops early September!