Imagine Dragons returns to its ‘Origins’

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Photo via Flickr (Anna Hicks) under Creative Commons license

Earlier this November, Imagine Dragons dropped their latest album “Origins” consisting of fifteen songs. The picture above features Daniel Platzman, resident percussionist and one of the four members of the group.

Grace Maneein, Staff Writer

On Nov. 9, Imagine Dragons dropped their newest album “Origins.” Equal parts pop and indie, this is definitely an album geared toward the modern audience.

Formed in 2009, indie pop band Imagine Dragons quickly gained a grassroots following by touring extensively and releasing EPs. On the “About” page on their website, they introduce themselves as a song-producing quartet hailing from Las Vegas. Ever since their 2012 release of “Night Visions,” their first major-label release, Imagine Dragons have been on the go, creating material for their next album to capture the exhilaration of their extensive tours. Performing since day one to spread their name, and later, their fame, much of the music they produce is made on tour. They have been signed with KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records since 2012.

Unlike their past songs, they make far more direct statements in both act and volume, all of them encompassing an attempt to define the difference between ‘me and you’.”

— Staff Writer Grace Maneein

The name “Origins” alludes to returning back to their roots, to returning home, to returning back to their tradition, as opposed to “Evolve,” the name of their previous album. I’m not going to pretend that I know of exactly what kind of origin they’re referring to. According to Spotify, the greatest achievement of “Evolve” according to Imagine Dragons is absolute honesty. “Instead of hiding behind metaphors, I was able to be more direct in my lyrics,” said Reynolds, lead vocalist of the group. “I really focused on searching deeper for lyrical value.” This leads me to believe that this new album furthers the band’s trend of undoing their majestic metaphors, and making more direct statements about the world around us.

This can be seen throughout the new album. Unlike their past songs, they make far more direct statements in both act and volume, all of them encompassing an attempt to define the difference between “me and you,” or rather, a singular person vs. somebody that impacts their lives, whether it be in a positive or negative manner. The first song in the album, “Natural,” released as a single back in July, additionally hints to the album-wide theme of less whimsical metaphors and more direct impacts. Though, as Imagine Dragons has not released any official statements regarding their choice in naming this album, I can only speculate.

Listening to the entire album comprising of 15 songs, I can say with great confidence that this is an album for everyone who likes indie or pop. The intersection of two extensive genres in themselves, every song varies wildly from the next in melody, harmony, meter, and key.

I can generally sort the songs into three distinct types within the album. There are softer, more acoustic and melodious tunes, such as “West Coast” and “Birds.” Then there the songs that are inherently ethereal in quality, with slower beats and a distinctive blending of harmony that gives off an infinite sort of vibe, such as “Cool Out,” “Boomerang” and “Bad Liar.” My personal favorite are the ones with a heavier beat that tend to utilize the drum-set more generously, such as “Machine,” ”Digital” and “Love.”

Speaking on behalf of the modern audience, as a general consensus, it can be stated that our music tastes have really branched out as a whole. Imagine Dragons have realized this and utilized it, perhaps realizing that their target audience have broadened their tastes in recent years.

Below, my three top picks from “Origins” are listed and elaborated upon. If you don’t have a chance to hear the other twelve, check these tracks out.

KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records
KIDinaKORNER/Interscope Records

“Natural”

My music taste is one that cannot be easily described, so much so that I can’t even describe my own music taste if prompted. But whatever it consists of, I know “Natural” is a part of it. I love every aspect that makes up this song, from the heavy beat, to the alternations between major and minor against the overarching major key, to the insightful, universally relatable lyrics. In particular, I am incredibly fond of the background chords. I think they’re beautiful and bring a new level of sophistication with the two most-played chords being only a half-step off of one another.

“Machine”

When first skimming this album, I was immediately entranced by this track above all the others. Featured in the title was the perfect amount of “edginess.” Besides that, I really loved the heavy beat, as well as the contrast between the song intro and the initial singing bit. The concept this song gave off is very mechanic, with the louder parts giving off the suggestion of metal striking against metal, and the more muted bits giving off the idea of the precision and focus a machine can accomplish.

“Love”

In comparison to my other two favorites, I was really caught on the flow this song seemed to possess. It’s very much a process in itself, much like its subject matter — love. In this day and age, there seem to be fewer ballads heralding the idea of love, and more of them exploiting the intense pain love can bring. A trait of significance this song has is the joined, synchronization of multiple voices, giving off the illusion of a singing crowd, blissfully embracing the idea of love. This song is a breath of fresh air in both its resident album and the music world.

Listen to “Natural,” “Machine,” “Love,” and all of Imagine Dragons’ newest songs on iTunes and Spotify.