“First comes the blessing of all that you dreamed/ But then comes the curses of diamonds and rings./ Only at first did it have its appeal/ But now you can’t tell the false from the real/ Who can you trust?” So goes the memorable intro to the hit song “Gold” by Imagine Dragons, who released their album “Smoke + Mirrors” on Feb. 17. Each song in the album has its own unique sound, evoking brilliant and powerful images with the deliberate lyrics, powerful beats and overall mysterious and striking feel of the album. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart in the United States. Considering that this is only their second studio album (their first was “Night Visions”), it is amazing how quickly they are rising up the charts.
“Gold” is easily one of my favorite songs on the album. Frontman Dan Reynolds shows his skilled vocal expertise in bringing forth emotion while singing, and the song is reminiscent of someone who is at constant conflict with his inner emotions. The song reminds me of somebody who is crushed to find that his high expectations and dreams will not be met. It speaks of someone who has regrets from the past and cannot distinguish dreams from reality anymore. The catchy repetition of the word “gold” continues to pound in your head long after the last word has been sung. It also seems to be about someone who has lost and suffered a great deal, and doesn’t feel like he has anybody to turn to. He expected to feel disappointed, but it is almost like he has put up an emotional barrier protecting him because feeling the depth of his emotions would be too painful. I enjoy that the lyrics are open to interpretation and can be about many different ideas—heartbreak, solitude, expectations, reality or pain. The song is one of the more popular songs on the album.
“I Bet My Life” is another one of my favorites on the album. The song is so full of anguish and regrets that it is easy to feel those emotions conveyed through the music. “I’ve told a million lies but now I tell a single truth/ There’s you in everything I do.” Those words basically sum up the pain and heartache captured in the song. The song is also easy to relate to—all of us have felt disappointed and also felt terrible for making the people we love feel that disappointment. And those feelings are caught so well in this heartbreaking song (whose official music video does it justice by perfectly capturing those visual feelings and that ambivalent atmosphere of regret). Although I haven’t grown tired of listening to this song yet, I am more moved by it when I haven’t listened for a couple of days.
The song “Dream” is also another powerful hit, and captures the raw emotions and sadness of everyday life and the desire to escape from it all. The strong piano in the background is a great touch to help feel those deep and heartfelt emotions. Other songs that really touched me on the album were “I’m So Sorry,” “Polaroid” and “The Fall.” But really, every song on the album is wonderful in its own right and deserves to be listened to. It is so easy to see the pure emotion and hard work that went into creating this album, because it is full of beautiful and emotional songs.
The album conjures many different emotions. I am sure that each listener will be reminded of their own memories and experiences that matter to them, because listening to the songs will bring to surface those emotions. In my experience, Imagine Dragons is one of those bands that succeeds precisely because their songs are so raw and pure that it is impossible not to feel something while listening to them. “Smoke + Mirrors” has already sold over 80,000 albums in the first week, and it is exciting to see how popular it has become in the span of just one week. I am really excited to see what Imagine Dragons will come up with next, but until then I am more than satisfied with this impressive album.