(Photo from imaginedragonsmusic.com)

Imagine Dragons experiments with new styles, sounds in long-awaited album

“Mercury – Act 1” was three years in the making since Imagine Dragons’ last album, “Origins.” In the new album, Imagine Dragons showcase different styles, but also draw on the sounds that make them so great in the first place. As usual, they make hit after hit with an album that’s catchy throughout. However, they fail to reach the heights of previous albums such as “Night Visions” or “Smoke and Mirrors.” I reviewed a few of my favorite and least favorite songs from the album. View ratings at the bottom of the article.

“Wrecked”

This song starts with passionate crooning by lead singer Dan Reynolds, punctuated by clear guitar strumming throughout. “Wrecked,” alongside “Follow You” and “Cutthroat,” was one of the three songs released before the full album dropped. And it definitely deserves that placement. “Wrecked” was written in honor of Reynolds’ sister-in-law, who died of cancer. It’s emotional and heartfelt because he truly pours out his grief in a way that really jumps out and sobers the listener. If you’re paying attention to the lyrics it can be a bit of a downer, but it’s masterfully made. It may take a couple of listens to fully appreciate, but it’s one of the top three songs on the album.

Favorite Lyric:

“These days I’m becoming everything that I hate / Wishing you were around but now it’s too late”

“Monday”

“Monday” is an upbeat love song. As far as I’m concerned, it’s OK. What I do respect is the uniqueness. Imagine Dragons has never made a song quite like this, and they tend to stay away from love songs in general. They chose to lean into the synthesizer a lot to create a digital sound that makes up a lot of the beat. The song was made to celebrate Dan Reynolds’ wife, and to symbolize how she never gets old and how he still loves her now. I find it a little overdone, especially the part where Monday is supposedly the best day of the week. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, this has been the most-streamed song out of the non-pre-released songs.

Favorite Lyric:

“A million calls will never do, I never get enough of you”

“Giants”

Great vocals and drumming make this song a good one to add to the growing list of Imagine Dragons essentials. “Giants” is the type of song you’d play to get hyped up for something like a sports match. With a wide variety of volumes, “Giants” ranges from a quiet almost-whisper to a signature ear-grating scream towards the end. An interesting thing about “Giants” is how the tone, note and volume all vary, oscillating back and forth during a lyric in a way that gives the song an uplifting vibe. The loud parts can be a bit much at times, but it adds to the vibe of the song in the typical quiet-loud Imagine Dragons’ style.

Favorite Lyric:

“Comin’ up for air in the deepest of the deep ends / I thought I learned it all, but boom, the plot thickens”

“Dull Knives”

“Dull Knives” is characterized by the combo of guitar riffing, rhythmic drumming, and Reynolds’ voice, all appearing markedly during choruses.  Similar to “Giants,” “Dull Knives” displays pretty big variance in volumes and primarily features Reynolds’ voice. This song is one of many others that focuses on the internal battle with depression and mental health that he has faced. Passionate singing and voice switches, with rapid switching to empowered belting of lyrics make this song great. A newer style for Imagine Dragons that clearly succeeded.

Favorite Lyric:

“I’m just hanging on, but you’ll never know / I smile all day, and cry through the night”

“Follow You”

“Follow You” spearheaded the release of this album. It was the first song to be released and by far the biggest hit. Catchy vocals with a hip-hop type beat create a melodic masterpiece. “Follow You” was in honor of Dan Reynolds’ wife. On his way to finalize their divorce, Reynolds received a text from his wife that led to them deciding to get back together. The passion and sincerity in this song make this my favorite song in the album and an all time Imagine Dragons hit. 

Favorite Lyric:

“I’ll follow you way down to your deepest low / I’ll always be around wherever life takes you”

“Cutthroat”

“Cutthroat” was by leaps and bounds the loudest and harshest song in this album. Imagine Dragons tried a totally different style. “Cutthroat” is a half-scream attempt at edginess that didn’t turn out right. As an Imagine Dragons fan, I give them props for trying something new, but it just didn’t work out. The unique sound effects just sound weird. It lacks refinement, variation, and meaningful lyrics. Combined, these factors make “Cutthroat” the worst song on the album.

Favorite Lyric:

“I’m so misunderstood, but I live for this / My money’s good and I came to win”

Mercury - Act 1
Wrecked
Monday
Giants
Dull Knives
Follow You
Cutthroat
Reader Rating6 Votes
4

— By Saheb Gulati

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