Imagine Dragons Creates New Sound with ‘Origins’


Photo Courtesy of Interscope Records

Imagine Dragons new album ‘Origins’ creates an interesting new sound.

Famous rock and alternative band Imagine Dragons released their new album, Origins, on Nov. 9. While not as experimental as Evolve had been, the band did find a unique way to incorporate electronic and synth music with the sounds which launched them to fame in 2012 with Demons and Radioactive. Imagine Dragons used happy upbeat sounding backing tracks and layered them with sad, dark lyrics, which created a very interesting and contrasting mood for the album.

The best songs on the album are Natural and Boomerang. Natural is the opener for the album and is one of the best, starting with a deep resounding humming that slowly got louder until the chorus. The song uses the raw, emotional sound of lead singer Dan Reynolds’ voice to remind the listener of their old sound and portray a very cynical view of the world. The soft, whispery bridge added to the tension built by the song, making it a good one to listen to when you need hyping up or are feeling the need to let out some emotion. Boomerang is a close second because of the contrast in it. The song itself sounds like a feel-good, peppy song, but as you listen to the lyrics, they reveal the sorrow Reynolds feels. He questions his relationship, asking “How many tears do we have to cry? How many sleepless lonely nights?” to the backing of a upbeat tempo. The sadness in his voice and the way the song ends, unresolved, makes me love this tune.

Some songs which really stuck out were Machine and West Coast. Machine somehow sounded exactly like its title — very rhythmic and thundering. While the lyrics were forgettable, the general sound of the song stayed with me even as other songs played. West Coast was definitely an outlier on this album because it was the only one with a country feel. It started off with a twangy string instrument and reminded me of growing old with a loved one, sitting on rocking chairs on a porch and staring off into the horizon. I enjoyed the clapping in it, the message of being good even though you are imperfect, and the overall comforting vibe it left me with at the end.

Despite the catchiness of the music, a lot of the songs on the album sounded similar and the message in them wasn’t really clear. While it was great that Imagine Dragons covered a lot of topics, the songs ranged from being about heartbreak to turning off your phone and looking at the real world. They tried too hard to make every song different; some unity in the overall message would have been nice. There are also contradictions within the songs. For example, in Natural, Reynolds portrays himself as having a hardened worldview and not really expecting the best from anything. But by the end of the album, in the song Love, he talks about how everyone should stop hating each other and asking why that happens. It’s a good message to send and important in this world, but my personal preference would’ve been if he had stuck to being either a cynic or someone with a big heart. Also, most of the songs were characterless and didn’t really differentiate Imagine Dragons from other pop bands. In trying to set themselves apart, they somehow managed to blend in.

Overall, this album is slightly better than their last one, but still not up to par with their older music. Most of the songs were a little bland and sounded generic, but that’s not to say the album was without its redeeming qualities. A few of the songs had an impression with their emotion and power. The theme of the album, though confusing at some times, had the right intentions and was overall positive. I would recommend this to people who aren’t looking for anything too wild or out of the ordinary, something to listen to in the background of a party or while doing homework.