Sunday, September 02, 2018

Weekend Diversion: Imagine Dragons

I can’t believe I haven’t talked about Imagine Dragons before, because they’ve produced some of my favourite songs of the past year or so. What reminded me to share them, however, was I saw a video about a side project by lead singer Dan Reynolds, and now I like them quite a bit more. I like when pop music and my values combine, especially when it helps LGBT+ youth along the way.

First things first, though, because it was about the music before I ever heard about Reynolds’ work. I like Imagine Dragons because of the usual things—melody, arrangement, performance of the band and Reynolds’ vocals, and also for the often very complex lyrics. I like empty pop songs as much as anyone else who, um, loves that sort of thing, but I especially love pop music that offers me more than a good beat and a catchy hook, and Imagine Dragons has always given me that.

The first song that made me finally learn the band’s name was “Thunder” (video above). It was released April 27, 2017, the second single from their third studio album, Evolve. The song reached Number 3 in New Zealand, Number 2 in Australia, Number 4 in Canada, Number 4 in the Billboard Hot 100, and Number 20 in the UK. The video is visually striking, so much so that it practically forced me stop and watch it, and because of that, I paid attention to the band. From my narrow perspective, that video was worth every cent they spent on it.

The first single from Evolve was “Believer”, which has gone on to become a sports anthem and lent its name to a documentary (more about that later). I saw this video well after I noticed “Thunder”, or maybe I had and noticed it because of "Thunder". Either way, I liked that song, too:

The thing I didn’t realise at first was that I’d heard “Believer” on the radio, though I didn’t realise it until I paid attention to them on our music video channel. In any case, the song hit Number 21 in New Zealand, Number 33 in Australia, Number 7 in Canada, Number 4 in the Billboard Hot 100, and Number 42 in the UK.

While I later heard them in other songs, it was those two songs that I was most familiar with. Today I was catching up on my YouTube subscriptions, and saw a video suggested to me, including one from ABC News titled “Imagine Dragons lead singer on his Mormon faith and supporting LGBTQ community” and posted August 8:

I didn’t know about any of this until today, and I instantly liked Dan Reynolds as a human being, not just as a singer/songwriter/performer. Naturally, I wanted to see a bit more:

I think both those videos were well done, talking about different things, but the same general topic. There’s an excerpt of his documentary “Believer”, the documentary he talked about on The Daily Show, available online (the HBO trailer can’t be viewed in New Zealand, so I won’t include that):

So this was a band I liked as soon as I saw their video for “Thunder” on our free-to-air video channel. Now that I know more about lead singer Dan Reynolds, I like them a bit more. But it really is all about the music.

In the ABC video, their song “It’s Time” was mentioned in passing. It’s a good song (from 2012):

The song was the band’s first Top 40 commercial hit, reaching Number 37 in New Zealand, Number 27 in Australia, Number 30 in Canada, Number 15 in the Billboard Hot 100, and Number 23 in the UK. Part of the success was because, as the ABC report said, the song was covered on Glee [WATCH/LISTEN], and it was used in commercials.

From their first single, on to their newest single, “Natural”:

There: I think I’ve made up for not talking about Imagine Dragons before. And I’m glad I found new reasons for liking them.


rogerogreen said...

I know way more about their religion/politics than their music! thx

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I only knew about their music until yesterday. That's not unusual, actually.

rogerogreen said...

I'd seen Reynolds on that Trevor Noah interview plus on CBS or NBC News