Imagine Dragons will always have a special place in my heart. I know that this review is coming a little more than a year and a half late but why not take the time to give "Smoke and Mirrors", their latest album, the time it deserves?
I have to admit that I jumped on the "Night Visions" bandwagon, becoming a fan of what I heard on the radio. After a couple of good singles, I finally got the album and devoured it. Really good. It was on repeat forever.
However, "Smoke and Mirrors" is what really made me a lifelong fan of this group. As others have said, Imagine Dragons really could have capitalized on their success of their previous album and really sold-out to make this one radio polished. I didn't listen to any of the singles that were released before the album premiered because I like to treat myself to the surprise of unwrapping an album via listening. It's like Christmas Day for me. Upon first listen to the album all the way through, the only thing I could concentrate on was how sad it was. How often the singer pleads for forgiveness stood out immediately (Shots, I Bet My Life, I'm So Sorry) and the intro screaming in some tracks caught me off-guard. Overall, I liked it, but it stayed unlisted to in my ITunes library for around a year.
Then, as life would have it, I was going through a hard time and I found myself going back to the album. During the second listen, something really stuck with me and it was instantly one of my most favorite albums of all time. Renoylds really doesn't try to hide his despair or his depression or whatever he has experienced. He sings honestly, with a despair that I could relate to. I find the album to be deeply and quietly religious, something Imagine Dragons is inadvertently known for. "The Fall" is a perfect way to close an album that opened up so much, so honestly. It's one of my all time favorite songs- ever. This is probably due to how significant and lyric heavy this album is. Everything comes full circle with the last song.
I read an interview from the band awhile ago, and I'm not sure who said this, but it was something to the extent of "Listeners who have not yet sold their souls to the devil will really enjoy this album" which really ticked me off. This album is about the human experience. It's about realizing that there are material things in life (Gold) and feeling depressed (Smoke in Mirrors, Dream, etc) but still acknowledging that life goes on (The Fall). This album is grounded in love and everything good in the world. They captured life's messiness in the most relatable way.
Being a strong advocate for their often overlooked second album, I attended their concert last New Years Eve at Foxwoods. The Smoke and Mirrors tour was equally as impressive as their album and the best concert I've ever been to. I've always rolled my eyes at the over hype concerts sometimes receive but this one was as close to religious experience for me.
I'm excited to hear what comes after The Fall.
What we're listening to.