A Project for Better Journalism chapter
A&E, Audio

Illusions broken with Imagine Dragon’s new album ‘Smoke and Mirrors’

Today, February 17, Imagine Dragons has finally come out with their highly anticipated new album “Smoke + Mirrors.” After the band’s huge commercial success with “Night Visions” and top charting songs like, “It’s Time” and “Demons,” there has been a lot of slander on the band’s purity to ‘true’ rock and roll. They’ve been accused of turning too pop and whiny for all the cool rock kids.

Personally, after listening to “Smoke + Mirrors,” I could care less whether or not the band stuck to traditional rock roots. Imagine Dragons has influences from amazing bands like The Killers, Coldplay, The Kooks, and Arcade Fire. (I would just like to point out how no one has a problem with these bands’ commitment to ‘the right kind of rock’) Furthermore, the message in each song, though slightly sad, reflects how the band tries to see past the illusions in their lives. The facades they face are nearly identical to what we, as ordinary teenagers, also experience.

There are a lot of different messages relayed in the album but one of my favorites was found in “Fallen,” where the subject is doubting their potential and addresses how it’s easy to give up on yourself when others doubt you. It’s a powerful (and sarcastic) wake-up call letting listeners know that we shouldn’t be “breaking up with [our]selves, that [we] should[nt] just keep to the things that [we] have been told, [not to] wait for the color to turn to gold.” If there’s a chance out there for you, you should take it. Stop waiting for others to contemplate about giving it to you.

The other powerful reality-check was ironically called “Dream,” in which the band separates listeners and themselves from a messy world, seeing things, “in the tier of everything that rides below the surface.” The song takes a rather negative view on the world around, painting things to be tiring and chaotic. The singer and the listeners just want to partake in the dreaming everyone else fools themselves into believing, instead of being the only ones awake and aware. But it’s clear the need for everyone to realize their surroundings in order to help clean up the mess the world seems like it’s become.

These messages are a lot heavier than “It’s Time” but just as catchy and easy to sing along to. Imagine Dragons has matured as a band and has taken the stage they’ve made from a less poignant album, to capture the world’s attention with a truly honest album.