Imagine Dragons have achieved a lot during their ten years of unstoppable activity. It is undeniable that they are one of the major players in the pop-rock world and the music they produce is touching the hearts and souls of millions of people worldwide. Today I am here as a fan who has been missing out on their recent activity way too much and has decided to rediscover what the Las Vegas rock quartet has been dealing with lately. I will briefly explore Origins in terms of themes and sound and for those interested in more details I will say a few words about each song in a track by track commentary. Enjoy!
I was heavily obsessed with Imagine Dragons during the Night Visions era and I have replayed the album around 100 times at least. Smoke+ Mirrors was another album I loved and a notable step forward for the band which I highly appreciated – their experimentation and development were remarkable. With this being said, I completely missed out on Evolve and Origins even though I was following the band – their work seems to have slipped away between everything else happening in the rock scene (that’s not an excuse I know). Regardless, I believe Imagine Draongs is a band which deserves attention and have lots to offer to listeners – from thought-provoking lyrics and empowering messages to amazing beats and instrumentals combining classic rock and new-age electronics.
The artwork of each Imagine Dragons album has an impressive consistency and incredible appeal. The cover of the latest one hints the conflicting topics discussed very well.
Origins is a good album. There is lots to explore but the overall topic circulating amongst the fifteen tracks is love and relationships. More specifically – the record is a way to help Dan Reynolds cope with the complicated relationship and separation with his ex-wife – Aja Volkman (who, by the way, also makes an appearance in the album as a co-writer and back vocal in Stuck). Honest, heartfelt, and open the majority of the songs from Origins talk about a state of mind and a stage of life which is immensely hard to deal with. However, Dan Reynolds and the band (together with co-writers and producers) manage to give hope and strength to listeners and highlight important things to keep in mind no matter what. Another topic which often finds its place in the tracklist is the current state of society and how sad, pathetic, and wrong things are going for humanity. The band makes bold statements and calls for a positive change in a super affecting way which only they are capable of creating.
When it comes to the sound the album is yet another step towards an experimental ambiance. By listening to the first few songs you can immediately tell this is Imagine Dragons you are rocking to – their unmistakable sound and vibe are present 100% during the course of the tracklist. Another bold combination and surprisingly well-working mix of classic rock riffs and modern new age electronic infusions makes its way to show that the band still plans on doing what they feel is the right direction for their music. It’s not the first time Imagine Dragons are called sellouts and are being condemned for taking a more poppy feel to their sound instead of the classic and rebellious true rock tone. However, I don’t see this as a problem since it is obvious the band are not doing it to get played on the radio or anything like that – the sound matches the emotional tone of each song perfectly well and shows that the quartet is willing to push their boundaries further and further. Speaking of aggressive, rebellious rock tunes – worry not there are some present in Origins (Digital and Natural f.x) and the band certainly still has the passion and energy to be loud and make themselves heard.
I most certainly highly respect the persistence, passion, and everlasting honesty of the band and I am looking forward to their next pieces of work. While Origins explores a certain turbulent state of life which some of the band members had to navigate through there are hints for topics occupying their mind which might surface more in the upcoming tracks of the band. I am happy they managed to make it out once again and produce an album of such quality where they also send out hope, love, and life-saving reminders to listeners. Truth be told, Origins might sound a bit repetitive and similar to what the band has already done several times but nevertheless, it still sounds fresh and its relevance is undisputed.
Track by Track Commentary
A perfect kickstart of the album, Natural is incredibly inspiring and powerful rock-infused track. Something I definitely see performed at NBA, NFL, or Football games making the crowd go crazy and the athletes filled with energy and motivation to do their best. It is an inspirational track which serves to remind listeners that everything is manageable and we need to keep pushing forward.
Boomerang gently introduces the main topic of the album and declares Dan‘s determination to keep fighting to improve his relationship with Aja. It is honest, heartfelt and emotionally striking with a super catchy chorus and the familiar supreme combination of rock instrumentals with electronic elements.
The third song introduces the next topic which will circulate through the album and does it in a solid way. The track is incredibly bold, provoking listeners to stop and think about their lives a bit more. Not being part of the machine symbolizes following your own heart, desires, truth, and pace and not being tempted to fall into to mainstream idea about success and happiness of society. The song is empowering and also features mild political provocations which blend well with the overall theme of following the masses like a sheep.
Cool Out once again takes Dan‘s feelings towards his ex-wife Aja as a main inspiration and elaborates on his regret and learned lessons. It gives us a closer look at a complicated relationship where many differences and hardships complicated it but love remains everlasting (but maybe not enough). It has a super relaxing tone and vibe perfectly fitting the lyrics and enhancing the melancholy in the song.
A song which Aja Volkman co-wrote with Dan Reynolds solely about their relationships. It gets deeper then Cool Out and explores the unfiltered and raw feelings both experienced during the hardest year in their relationship. The song has a bold and energetic sound and features a more rocky feel which makes it an anthem for everyone struggling with a relationship in a difficult period of time.
You can literally experience the melancholy rushing through when you hear the first few seconds of the song. A powerful and clever love song which has taken inspiration from country music makes a great sequel to Bad Liar emphasizing that no matter what his commitment and love towards the love of his life will never fade. A beautiful and incredibly emotional masterpiece.
The super simple structure and upbeat tempo make Zero an energy bomb. Looking closer the lyrics get deeper and deeper and explore the fate of the misfit and navigating your way while being misunderstood and mistreated. Another empowering and motivational song which has lots of moral lessons and value (also the soundtrack of Raplph Breaks The Internet).
Bullet In A Gun
A steady and consistent beat and instrumental unite with subtle lyrics dealing with the topics of faith, the consequences and risks of trying to make it into the music world, the way some people perceive change and the fight to stay true to yourself.
Digital is definitely the most different and unique song on the album. The classic rebellious and aggressive rock vibe return to express the irritation and disappointment of the band towards the direction modern society is heading. It perfectly captures the concerning and overwhelming speed of digitalization and encourages us to reconsider our mindset.
Another song exploring the relationship between Dan and Aja in a classical love song way.
Aja Volkman appears as a co-writer once again and contributes with her beautiful voice as a back vocal in the chorus. Once again the main topic is regret and wrong decisions which affected the relationship and hurt the person you love.
Once again a bold and loud call for a positive change in the world. Love explores the sad state of modern age, the countless issues we are trying to avoid so hard as possible instead of fixing – the violence, discrimination, terrorism, lack of empathy and understanding. Incredibly relevant and affecting the songs is a pleasant blend of acoustic instrumentals and electronic beats.
A resonating melancholic love song with an immense amount of emotion poured inside. A vow of love and a statement for wishing only the best for the person you love, being supportive despite ending a relationship. Probably my favorite on the album.
An overpowering inspirational anthem similar to Natural in terms of topics. It explores staying strong in a difficult time and keeping hope and faith alive regardless of the struggle you have to face.
The last song in the deluxe edition of the album once again reminds listeners for the importance of finding our way and coping with the hardships of the real world. It sends important and relevant messages to listeners and gives hope and empowerment. Just enough until Imagine Dragons return with another motivational hymn.
In overall, I believe Origins holds a lot of value and depicts a certain state of mind and stage of life extremely well. Melancholy and relatability are hardly avoidable and the tracks will fill you with various emotions and tought food. Certainly a good step forward for Imagine Dragons which sets the stage for the next record quite well. I am excited to see what comes next and while I’m waiting I will happily abuse the reply button on Origins.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this review, a huge thank you to everyone who read it! I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on the album so don’t hesitate to reach out on any of my social media (also taking recommendations on what I should listen to next)!