Imagine Dragons was certainly on an upward trajectory for a while after releasing their breakthrough album Night Visions in 2012, which sold more than five million copies worldwide. The album’s hit single “Radioactive” reached number one on Billboard charts. Soon after, the band released its 2017 album Evolve which was nominated for two Grammys and contained masterful songs like “Believer,” “Thunder,” and “Whatever It Takes,” which showcased the band’s vulnerability by recognizing both the joys that life brings as well as the hardships that often occur along the way.
The band set very high standards for itself after releasing Evolve. Unfortunately, these expectations were not matched this time around. Mercury – Act 1, released Sept. 3, does not have the cohesiveness that one would hope for from an album that has been in the works for a few years now, especially from a band with as much artful skill as Imagine Dragons.
Lead singer Dan Reynolds undoubtedly has one of the more unique voices in contemporary music. His powerful falsetto and raw vocals are apparent on the album, but at times they come off as more unpolished than one would hope for.
“Easy Come Easy Go” falls back on repetitive lyrics as it nears the end of the song, repeating loose variations of the same line over and over again: “Guess that’s just the way it goes (Guess that’s just the way it goes) / Easy come, easy go.”
The songs that have a better musical composition lack any thoughtful lyrics, like “#1”. While it is an improvement in terms of melody, the theme of the song is “I’m my own number one.” The message of self-confidence might have been the original goal, but the only thing it really illuminated was that this album certainly was not their “number one,” or anything close to it.
The one exception is “My Life,” which is worthy of being put on the list of the band’s best tracks of all time. This piece certainly encompasses the authentic Imagine Dragons sound—equally dynamic and sentimental. The combination of the strings and piano is very powerful and the song has a terrific build. The lyrics are both honest and reflective as they sing, “These years pass by and we’re growing older / And I think of you, all we’ve made it through / Some have passed away, some have moved on / But I’m still here today (I’m here today).” This is the clear gem of the album, but the rest of the songs do not share the same kind of musical sophistication and lyrical depth.
The band’s intentions were admirable, but the execution was lacking. The cover of the album depicts a man falling—a fitting image because this album was unfortunately a fall for them. Fans will now have to patiently wait for Imagine Dragons to produce something worthy of their exceptional talent.
Photo Courtesy of KIDinaKORNER