Imagine Dragons’ album makes great use of vocals

By Julia Chirls || Staff Writer

Imagine Dragons has yet again graced the music industry with a new album, Smoke + Mirrors. Recorded in 2014 and released on February 17, their second studio album debuted number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the US, number one on the UK Albums Chart, and number one on the Canadian Albums Chart. As an alternative rock and indie rock band, Imagine Dragons has been in the music business for just six years and has quickly gained an international fan base.

The original two band members, Dan Reynolds and Andrew Tolman, met in college, joined forces, and soon after recruited Tolman’s wife Brittany and his high school friend “Wing” Sermon. The band first rose to fame in Utah and later moved to Las Vegas where they would record their first three EPs before signing a record deal. In recent years, they have incorporated alternative pop into their music, citing The Beatles and Nirvana as two of their many influences.

The band’s first studio album, Night Visions, was recorded between 2009 and 2012 and was finally released in September of 2012. Included in the debut album is a mixture of alternative rock, indie, folk, hip-hop, and pop and two singles, “Radioactive” and “It’s Time,” two of the most popular songs on the track list. Night Visions quickly hit number two on the Billboard 200 in the United States and sold more than 83,000 within the first week of release. At the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, it was named Top Rock Album.

Prior to the release of Imagine Dragons’ newest album, Smoke + Mirrors, listeners caught a glimpse with three singles. “I Bet My Life” and “Gold” were released in September 2014 and December 2014, respectively, and “Shots” was released in late January 2015. It is nearly an hour of catchy music and easy listening. Most tunes on the album have a drum beat, which occasionally becomes repetitive. However, each song does have a unique aspect to it.

“I Bet My Life” is the first single on the album, the fifth song on the track list, and the most popular among iTunes listeners. I like the background vocals during the chorus as well as the repetition of the chorus. It engages the listener, allowing them to sing along!

“Hopeless Opus” is not among the more popular songs on the album, but it is different from many of the others, in a good way! The vocalists of Imagine Dragons sing at a higher pitch, which adds to the pleasantness of listening to it. The producers of the music made a wise decision when choosing to solely include the vocals and a drumbeat. Their voices essentially resemble instruments. In fact, listening to it reminded me of a cappella! So, if you are fan of a cappella like me, this song is for you.

“Friction,” the seventh song on the track list, is full of energy and contrasts in all ways possible from “Hopeless Opus.” It is not anything like the Imagine Dragons’ music that I have listened to. Rather than acting as an instrument itself, the vocals are a perfect accompaniment to the drums, synthesizer, and electric guitar. Quite honestly, I would not listen to the vocals apart from the music. I would, however, be willing to listen to the music without the vocals accompanying it.

All fans, and more, will find something unique in every song on Smoke + Mirrors. Imagine Dragons has had an ever-successful six years in the music industry and reflecting on the success of this new release thus far, they will continue to grow in the years to come.

 

Sophomore Julia Chirls is a staff writer. Her email is jchirls@fandm.edu.

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