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06.10.21 Childhood Revisited Pt. 1: Imagine Drag01.04.21 User's Top 50 Albums of 2020 Prediction
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Childhood Revisited Pt. 1: Imagine Dragons

Welcome to Childhood Revisited, a personal series where I look back at acts that I fell in love with as a young teenager (mainly the years 2012-2015). As with many at similar ages, this was easily the most emotionally unstable span of my lifetime. The opportunity to stabilize those emotions by listening to these groups is something I will always be grateful for. Now that I’m older, however, a question still remains: Do they still hold up? How are they doing today? First on the chopping block: Imagine Dragons (2012-2013)
95Imagine Dragons

Thunder – 1/10: Let’s get this out of the way: “Thunder” is Imagine Dragons’ worst song, even among their deep cuts. If “Believer” hadn’t signified the band’s sell-out after Smoke & Mirrors, “Thunder” completed that task with ease. Any attempts at experimentation, whether that be the chopped-up vocals on the chorus or the vocal effects on the bridge, feel so empty and add nothing to a song that already has nothing in it. The synths, drums, lyrics, vocals are so tired and basic that the song becomes nothing more than an empty void. It’s not like Imagine Dragons didn’t have bad songs before (there are plenty on this list), but this was the track that shaped Imagine Dragons into this generation’s Nickelback, an overwhelmingly disappointing but true comparison.
94Imagine Dragons

Stuck – 1/10: Dan Reynolds doing triplet flows? Seriously? Also, that chorus is disgusting. They still gotta force their big band sound on a pop-trap ballad. Absolutely awful.
93Imagine Dragons

Dancing in the Dark – 1/10: On this song, Imagine Dragons manage to make the verses sound worse than “Thunder”, an admirable feat. How are you supported by hundreds of millions of fans and still have production this gratingly terrible? I have no idea what in the world Dan Reynolds is doing on here either. Boring, dysfunctional, and malformed, all in one.
Golden Hour

Born to be Yours – 1/10: One of Imagine Dragons’ most embarrassingly generic songs. The “drop” is as flaccid as anything Kygo’s ever done and that chorus... lmao.
91Imagine Dragons

Bullet in a Gun – 1/10: Most of this atrocity is your average, bottom-tier Imagine Dragons material, but the post-chorus borders on self-parody for how horrendous it is. That deep-voice sample in the background cracks me up everytime I listen to it. That’s not to mention the incredibly awkward bridge-to-chorus transition. Don’t worry, we’ve got a lot more Origins and Evolve to go in this neverending oubliette.
90Imagine Dragons
Follow You / Cutthroat

Cutthroat - 1/10: Yo… wtf is THIS?!! It’s like the band’s actively trying to compete with their other failures for how appalling they can manage to make a track sound. The only reason it’s not lower is because of how insane this horror show of a performance is and that it created a string of reactions out of me. Reactions of disgust and terror, mind you, but reactions nonetheless.
89Imagine Dragons

Digital – 1/10: Imagine Dragons doing… breakbeat?????? It’s as hideous as you’d expect. Almost as hideous as its freakout, RATM-style bridge. Saying this was an unbridled dumpster fire is the biggest understatement I can think of. Though it might be the band’s biggest creative disaster, its relatively low boredom levels keep it out of the bottom five.
88Imagine Dragons
Speak to Me

Boots - 1/10: Not many people know about the 2008 days of Imagine Dragons… and it should stay that way. This is a cabaret attempt that resembles aural torture as you get to hear a young Dan Reynolds wail his way through a song where his vocals are mixed ear-piercingly loud. If you think the track starts off bad, just wait. This is one of those tracks that gets more and more grotesque as it goes on until it reaches the most vomit-inducing climax of their career.
87Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Polaroid – 1/10: By far the worst song of the NV/S&M era. Dan Reynolds’ flow on the verses is unbearably bad and was a clear sign of the cliff the band were about to fall off of in future releases. The instrumentals are some of the most do-nothing of the band’s career as they just meandered along pitifully like an asteroid floating in space.
86Imagine Dragons

Whatever It Takes – 1/10: I have no idea why this is one of Imagine Dragons’ most critically acclaimed songs from this stage in their career. The rapping on the verses is just as horrible as it had been every other time Dan Reynolds has tried it. The energy in the chorus is nonexistent and that “Old Town Road” flow on the pre-chorus is a complete sin. When “Believer” is the better single, you know the song’s a total trainwreck.
85Lil Wayne
Tha Carter V

Sucker for Pain – 1/10: A song with more features than I can count where everyone massively underperforms. A movie with more features than I can count where everyone massively underperforms. Are you seeing a pattern here?
84Imagine Dragons

Zero – 1/10: Yet another lovely movie tie-in song. Dan Reynolds is completely phoning in the chorus on this one and the verses couldn't have sounded more drab if they tried. An absolute snoozer of a track.
83Imagine Dragons

Love – 1/10: You see, on an album closer, you’re supposed to send the project off on a defining note, whether that be as a grand showcase of its main concepts or a simple compilation of its ideas. “Love” fits those categories. The problem: it closes Origins. As a result, it’s just as terrible as the rest of the album is. Note that we’re not even halfway through the tracks from that album at this point. How wonderful is that?
82Imagine Dragons
Speak to Me

Living Musical - 1/10: Drunk karaoke night at the bar with Dan Reynolds. Never again.
81Imagine Dragons

Rise Up – 1/10: An infinite corn maze of corniness that only taints the legacy of Imagine Dragons’ old sound. Other than the painfully strained chorus, there’s absolutely nothing else notable about this wasteland of a song.
80Imagine Dragons

Cool Out – 1/10: Another one of the many awful snap anthems on Origins with a hilariously terrible melody on the chorus. Equally terrible is the strange vocal mixing on the second verse. So many artistic elements attempted on this song are so mishandled I can’t really give it credit for trying. Better luck next time?
79 Imagine Dragons
Shoutout to Sputnikmusic

Roots – 1/10: Here it is: the worst production job in Imagine Dragons’ career. There’s no way the band listened to how the drums and the synths sounded on this and thought, “Yeah, it’s ready for release”. I refuse to believe it. Most demos sound better than this.
78 Imagine Dragons
Some Hallmark Movie Soundtrack

Not Today - 1/10: Easily one of the most boring songs Imagine Dragons has ever written. It probably took them 30 minutes to make for the movie soundtrack. There’s literally no reason to ever listen to it again.
77Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

I Bet My Life – 1/10: Commercial-core that a newcomer could’ve sworn was on the back half of the band’s career, which is unfortunately not the case. This was easily the band’s worst smash hit at the time this album dropped and its comparisons to the equally horrendous “Best Day of My Life” are well justified.
76Imagine Dragons

Believer – 1/10: After all these years, this still stands Imagine Dragons’ biggest hit song, which is obviously unfortunate. Since everyone reading this has likely heard this at some point in their lives, I’ll advise one thing: pay attention to how wimpy those guitar chords sound in the backdrop of the chorus and convince me it’s a quality song after hearing that.
75Imagine Dragons
It's Time

Tokyo - 1/10: A trashy, abominable reject that Night Visions was gratefully spared of. You know your place as a B-side when you can’t even make the deluxe edition of a debut album. Tokyo was the worst of them. What were they thinking with these lyrics?!
74Imagine Dragons

Walking the Wire – 1/10: One of the more truly generic songs the band has ever written. Even right after listening to it, I can’t remember a single thing about it, and neither should you.
73Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

I’m So Sorry – 1/10: It was torturous enough knowing we had “I Bet My Life” as the album’s commercial-core song, but, of course, it had to have a friend in its dreadful category. It’s basically a rock version of the aforementioned song. Don’t even bother.
72Imagine Dragons
Continued Silence

All Eyes - 2/10: God-awful production with stunted vocal patterns I could’ve come up with myself. Think of the most generic 2000s pop punk possible with peak sound washout and the band’s playing at its most amateur. Yep, you’ve got a song that rightfully stayed in the “never release this on an LP” bin.
71Imagine Dragons

Real Life – 2/10: A strong competitor for the most cringy lyrics in the band’s entire catalogue with faux-indie vocal patterns and barren verses. Keyboard enthusiasts might find this song tolerable. Might.
70Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Every Night – 2/10: As much of a sucker I used to be for Night Visions, I always remembered this as a terrible throwaway that should’ve just stayed as a B-side (or rather a D-side if possible). That opinion still holds up. Cheesy with the weakest songwriting on the album by far. It was a skip then and it still is now.
69 Imagine Dragons
We Are the World?

I Love You All the Time (Play It Forward Campaign) – 2/10: Manager: Okay, you’re competing with Chelsea Wolfe, My Morning Jacket, Jimmy Eat World, and Savages for this. Show us what you’ve got! Imagine Dragons:
68Imagine Dragons

Natural – 2/10: If you described the “overblown chorus” Imagine Dragons meme to someone who’s never heard of the band, this is the exact song that would pop up in their head. There’s hardly a difference between this and their previous smash singles other than this uses slightly more organic instruments than its predecessors on Devo- I mean Evolve.
67Imagine Dragons
Follow You / Cutthroat

Follow You - 2/10: I forgot this song as soon as I heard it. Literally nothing stood out other than the fact that it wasn’t horribad like its mistake of a sibling.
66Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Hopeless Opus – 2/10: Starting off the song ripping of your own melody (“Round and Round”) is not a good sign of things to come. That harbinger rings true as it’s essentially a much more lifeless version of the hit bonus track.
65Imagine Dragons

Start Over – 2/10: Imagine Dragons try out a psychedelic instrumental! The result: sleeping audiences worldwide.
64Imagine Dragons

Only – 2/10: Um… of all the inspirations Imagine Dragons should be taking from, The Chainsmokers are the last group I’d ever think of. But nope, they make a Chainsmokers song. And, yep, it’s terrible alright.
63Imagine Dragons
Speak to Me

Speak to Me - 2/10: Sloppy Christian rock shlock that should be locked up for ages. Mom, get the glock, ‘cause I’ll be joining the flock of angels above after this song clocks in.
62Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

The Unknown – 2/10: This track is just a total mess. It’s an indie rock ballad mixed with hip house?! It’s a combination only top-tier indie rock bands who really know what they’re doing can pull off. Unfortunately, Imagine Dragons are not one of them.
61Imagine Dragons

Yesterday – 2/10: “Dancing in the Dark” is not the only song on this album with inexcusably horrid production. Outside of that, it’s nothing more than a power pop song you couldn’t pick out of a line up. It’s not your Beatles “Yesterday”, that’s for sure.
60Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Working Man - 2/10: The most aggravating version of Night Visions-era Imagine Dragons reared its ugly head on this horrible bonus track with an embarrassing chorus and a nonsensical bridge. Just like “Every Night” this was always a skip in the past and that hasn’t changed today.
59Imagine Dragons

Machine – 2/10: Yet another abominable attempt to mix Imagine Dragons’ big room sound with random genres, but this time with trip hop and alt rock. Its individual elements do make for standouts, if you could call them such, on Origins, but calling bastardizations as such is what makes Origins such a horrific album.
58Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons

I Need a Minute - 2/10: A trite pop punk number with so little memorability except for its awful vocal mixing and the random guitar solo on the bridge. This is one of those songs where, even though the band’s creative trajectory is constantly moving downward, I’m glad they didn’t go in a direction where they sounded like this again.
57Imagine Dragons

Boomerang – 2/10: Just because this song gets a tribal beat doesn’t mean it escapes imminent doom. It’s got a bottom-of-the-barrel chorus, even for the band’s standards at this point. There’s even a vocal sample at the beginning that they just forget to use after the first thirty seconds?! The song sounds better without it, but its inclusion is no less baffling.
56Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

America – 3/10: It took me nearly halfway up the list to get to something that’s at least regularly bad, which is saying quite a lot about how low these guys have drilled themselves into the ground. Anyways, this is a D-tier Night Visions bonus track with tacky, corny lyrics that try to tackle subjects way over the band’s songwriting caliber. Other than the synth flourishes during the chorus, there’s nothing about this you could deviate from forgotten indie rock groups of the past.
55Imagine Dragons

West Coast – 3/10: How do you write an average Jack Johnson song, only to go, “You know what? This ballad doesn’t have enough soy in it. Let’s throw some Vance Joy in there, too.” Just throw in some painfully mediocre lyrics and you’ve got “West Coast”. It tastes wonderful, and by wonderful I mean boring and bad.
54Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons

Drive - 3/10: A complete mess of a ballad riddled with horrible production and and pathetic synth inclusions. Dan Reynolds’ attempts at vocal flourishes on here sound so awkward and unpolished, clashing with the soothing guitar and drum patterns. Speaking of which, the instrumental performances from everyone here seemed really off. It’s a nice track in theory, but it just came out very wrong.
53Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons

Curse - 3/10: An obnoxious and distorted pop punk cut from their early days. The mixing on this is straight-up abhorrent, but I suppose I don’t mind the zeal and edge the track at least tries to bring.
52 Imagine Dragons
We Are the World Pt. 2?

I Was Me – 3/10: An mediocre-sounding acoustic ballad with bad lyrics and an even worse vocal performance. It’s not offensively bad like some of their later stuff is, but it’s so inoffensive that I’m not sure what risks the band are trying to take here, if any at all.
51Imagine Dragons

I’ll Make It Up to You – 3/10: A generic Imagine Dragons cut with some late 80’s/early 90’s synthpop influence. Some of the synths are pretty nice, but the rest is totally forgettable. Also that vocal volume change in the bridge was totally whack.
50Imagine Dragons

Birds – 3/10: A single perfectly fit for a pop radio hit, and when I say perfectly fit, I mean that it’s bad and generic. I forgot the song as soon as I heard it. Wait… you mean nothing offensively bad stood out? Umm… album highlight! Jesus, Origins was so bad.
49Imagine Dragons
It's Time

Leave Me - 3/10: I forgot this song existed immediately after I heard it.
48Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

On Top of the World – 3/10: Ah, “On Top of the World”, once a favorite from young me. Then I heard it in commercials. How cool is that! Then I heard it in more commercials, and more, and more… yeah, no, this thing is bad. That’s not to imply that hearing it in TV commercials for years made me dislike the song, but it does come off as an irritating, overly peppy song whose euphoria is only designed to get on my nerves rather than numb them like it’s supposed to.
47Imagine Dragons

I Don’t Know Why – 3/10: The funky electropop experimentation is admirable to a degree and I think the production does favors for it on at least some levels. However, like many of these more experimental tracks that are lower on the list, this is just not the band to pull it off without glaring issues, especially with that god-awful bridge.
46Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Friction – 3/10: I mean… it ‘s got a decent amount of energy. However, this questionable southern Asian influence/hard rock combination goes over so, so awkwardly on the chorus and the ending. This is honestly one of the band’s most bizarre songs, but unfortunately a “I wanna turn this off” kind of bizarre rather than a more intriguing version.
45Imagine Dragons

Bad Liar – 3/10: A telltale sign of quality downfall is when Imagine Dragons’ best hit in years is an inoffensive piece of electropop with a vocal melody on the chorus I swear I’ve heard a million times. It does bring a genuine anthemic energy that’s been sorely missed since the Smoke and Mirrors days, but it’s just so uninteresting instrumentally and lyrically that I can’t ever seem to attach to it.
44Imagine Dragons

Mouth of the River – 3/10: On today’s edition of desperate influence reaching, we have Imagine Dragons writing a Snow Patrol song. You get exactly what you’d expect out of an actual Snow Patrol song: something that “sounds” nice, but is pretty much a wasteland in its most important aspects.
43Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Underdog – 3/10: This honestly has the foundation for a fun indietronica song, but the terrible lyrics, boring-as-hell hook, and the horrendously mixed backup vocals on said chorus ruins whatever fun it once had. I didn’t like this much when I was younger, and surprise! It’s still bad now.
42Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons

Uptight - 3/10: A bastardized attempt at a dance punk cut where the synths and guitars mix together about as well as oil and water. Below-average lyrics plague the track as well, just adding on to the issues making a potentially fun track obnoxious and bad.
41Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors – 3/10: Come on, man. The Five for Fighting melody?! I mean, it’s not the worst execution of that melody, but between that and the head-scratching compositional decisions, the listen was not very pleasant to say the least. Not even the refreshing guitar solo could save it from being a throwaway cut.
40Imagine Dragons
It's Time

Pantomime - 4/10: It’s basically “Hear Me” but more mediocre in about every single way. Those vocal inflections on the verses are totally ridiculous and unnecessary, but they at least make the song interesting?
39Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

The Fall – 4/10: A decent opening passage with steel drums?! There’s no way the boys can mess this up, right? Wrong. Leave it up to Dan Reynolds to give a subpar vocal performance and turn the whole thing into a mediocre latter-day Imagine Dragons experience. The shimmering, climatic ending doesn’t do much to help matters either as it tries to live up to the epicness of its preceding closer with futility.
38Imagine Dragons
It's Time

Look How Far We’ve Come - 4/10: Literally just “Amsterdam” again but less memorable. It’s not an inherently bad song, but “Amsterdam”’s existence completely nullifies any worth this has in their discography.
37 Imagine Dragons
Iron Man 3 Soundtrack

Ready Aim Fire - 4/10: Another one of those movie-tie in songs that couldn’t help itself but crave that overblown Imagine Dragons we’ve all come to know and love. The production’s actually pretty okay on this one, but the dubstep instrumentals are a bit much with a bridge that does almost nothing. It could’ve been worse, I suppose.
36Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Fallen - 4/10: A rather forgettable Night Visions B-side that everyone else seemed to forget as well. Perhaps its lack of terribleness increases that forgettability, but that still doesn’t justify its existence much, does it?
35Imagine Dragons

Next to Me – 4/10: Imagine you listening to this album and hearing this song. You think to yourself, “Well that was underwhelming. Maybe the singles or the deep cuts will make up for this.” Little do you know… this is the best song on the entire record. Oh, Evolve, you despicable deformity.
34Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Battle Cry – 4/10: Imagine Dragons’ first and only progressive rock-sounding track. It’s also unique in how frustrating its shortcomings are. This actually had the potential to be great, among one of the band’s best and most unique songs. Then I noticed what sounded off about it: the production on this is total garbage. And, yes, it’s bad enough to ruin the entire song, but at least I know now that Imagine Dragons tried something like this.
33 Imagine Dragons
Jennifer Lawrence Movie Soundtrack

Levitate – 4/10: Probably the second-best movie tie-in song the band’s been involved with, but I wouldn’t say it’s less annoying for having that distinction. It’s essentially an average electropop song that doesn’t do nearly enough to keep the attention it needs to reach that next step.
32Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Bleeding Out – 4/10: This is considered one of the better deep cuts by many long-time fans, but I’d argue that this isn’t even in the top half of Night Visions. The lyrics are noticeably generic here and that “bombastic schtick” meme transcends the chorus on this song and spreads to the verses like a contagion. I wouldn’t call it bad, per se, but Imagine Dragons have definitely written better deep cuts than this during the Night Visions era.
31Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Who We Are – 4/10: Kinda like “Bleeding Out” without its legacy. The marching drum instrumentals are pretty alright, but other than that, it’s bread-and-butter Imagine Dragons. Take it or leave it.
30Imagine Dragons
Speak to Me

Pistol Whip - 4/10: A folky cut from their early days that’s not as disconcertingly atrocious as some of the stuff from that EP, but it still feels emptier than one would expect from such a sound.
29Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Demons – 4/10: Another childhood favorite, this was likely the point where people who even enjoyed “Radioactive” for its time started to realize the band’s defining gimmick: a bombastic chorus with overly sentimental, uplifting lyrics and an indie rock underlying. Though on this song, the guitars are so drowned out in the mix you can hardly hear them, so I’m not sure how “indie rock” this one truly was. Either way, a lot of people enjoyed this and then got tired of it, not helped by the fact that it hasn’t aged too well as a composition. Between this and “Radioactive”, though, I suppose it holds a special place in my heart for my first true introduction into the larger music world.
28Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Gold – 4/10: Imagine Dragons bring some dynamic edge on this track, which I respect quite a bit, but Dan Reynolds just has to ruin it with an unbelievably awkward vocal performance on the chorus. Well, that, and I guess the synth layering on here sounds pretty bad, too. Eh, it’s at least expected quality for a mid-tier S&M song.
27Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

My Fault – 5/10: A respectable, albeit average ballad with an overblown chorus (it’s Imagine Dragons, what else do you expect). I honestly prefer the lyrics over the instrumentals here, but I never minded this song too much throughout the years.
26Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Monster – 5/10: Typical Imagine Dragons fare with decent production. The lyrics on paper sound like something I should despise, but I actually don’t mind them too much. I don’t know why I actually find this song okay. Is it due to all the terrible songs I sat through in their catalogue? Even I won’t know.
25Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Tiptoe – 5/10: An icy slice of indie rock with pretty great keyboard and drum performances to keep the attention away from its rather corny lyrics. It’s basically a mid-tier take-it-or-leave-it Night Visions cut.
24Imagine Dragons

Burn Out – 5/10: You know how I said that Night Visions was spared of some awful B-sides that happened to not make it on the album? Well I’d say this song was saved by not being associated with Origins as its artistic intentions are way more thought-out and executable than some of the abominations on that album. The piano and electronica flourishes come together decently on here, even if the production is much too clean in my view.
23Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

It’s Time – 5/10: Here we go: my very first introduction to Imagine Dragons and not a bad one at that. While I’m fairly indifferent to somewhat average pop rock sound now, it was a monumental step in growing interest in music past what was playing on mainstream radio stations. That I can’t ignore.
22Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Trouble – 5/10: A song with a dash of nostalgia in its lyrics and a welcome horn section appearance. It’s a somewhat basic and safe song in terms of structure, but it’s one of the bands better deep cuts if that says anything.
21Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Second Chances – 5/10: A mellow, cinematic pop rock tune that’s not too bad. The instrumental performances sound a little off at times, but the production’s pretty decent and I actually like the multiple vocal directions taken on this. It’s kinda cheesy, but Imagine Dragons hardly ever escape that trap, so why not just jump right in at this point?
20Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older) – 5/10: Ah, Dan Platzman’s best performance on drums! Unfortunately, it’s quite inconsistent in what aspects are, you know, any good (ahem, chorus, ahem). However, it’s instrumentally strong enough to keep it out of more worthless territory, so that’s respectable in its own right.
19Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Release – 5/10: Even the band’s best acoustic ballad still can’t get over that middle ground hump, but the performance is okay enough as it is. At least the production’s considerably better than their other attempts at such tracks.
18Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Radioactive – 5/10: The song that broke the band into international stardom. Honestly, I think it’s seemingly endless appearances on the radio had garnered it a little bit of overhate, but its uplifting passion is still recognizable to this day. Is it dated? A little bit, but it’s passable even now. Except for that “sister moan” sound-alike line. I have no idea how they didn’t go over that again in the studio and think, “Hey, doesn’t that sound a little weird?” I hoped they enjoyed the years worth of jokes and memes that caused.
17Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Dream – 5/10: Your usual Imagine Dragons bombasticness. Even if it’s not too much different from most of their other chorus-heavy songs, I somehow dig some of what’s going on in here. The verse-to-chorus transition is pretty cool even if the chorus itself is throwaway at best.
16Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Shots – 5/10: Believe it or not, this is the band’s most acclaimed song on RYM. It’s not a bad song for sure, but I think they’ve even had better variations of this sound before. The guitar lead is kinda nice and the M83-ish synths are a decent addition, but everything else runs from average to forgettable.
15Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

It Comes Back to You – 6/10: A respectable take on modern indie rock. The 8-bit-like synths in the second chorus and the bridge make for a great addition, even if song runs too short for them to truly shine. It’s a glimpse of the band at a genuinely high potential that hardly ever got reached.
14Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Hear Me – 6/10: An understandable fan favorite that captures many of Imagine Dragons’ best elements into a somewhat strong Night Visions resident. The chorus on this has grown well off of me at this point, but the rest of the lyrics are at east pretty decent. Nostalgia points may or may not be involved either.
13Imagine Dragons
Continued Silence

Emma - 6/10: One of the band’s more subdued songs at this point. This is an indie rock banger with subtle but decent instrumentals at hand. No one really goes above and beyond on here, but the songwriting is interesting enough to keep an ear out for.
12Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Summer – 6/10: Imagine Dragons with an angular beat? What math rock blasphemy is this?! It’s actually not terrible; the rather unorthodox instrumental fits the song’s vibe fairly well. It’s not great or anything, but it’s a somewhat welcome shift in sound from a band that desperately had been needing it.
11Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Round and Round – 6/10: No, not Ariel Pink’s bedroom pop hit, but it’s yet another quality Night Visions bonus track. The funny thing is that not much truly stands out other than the 80’s style toms that’ll sometimes pop up at the end of a measure. It’s just a decent Night Visions-era Imagine Dragons cut. Nothing more, nothing less.
10Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons

Cover Up - 6/10: Another one of Imagine Dragons’ more raw cuts from their early days, but this time around, they make some elements work into their raw sound like the nice guitar work and the decent backup vocals. As with many of these earlier songs, the production is severely dated and the pop punk attitude could’ve been pulled off more convincingly, but Dan Reynolds gives a genuinely great performance here.
9Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Thief – 7/10: This just goes to show that, even when all hope is lost, that trying again is sometimes the best answer. The messy, cobbled up mixture of Eastern instrumentation and American indie that plagued “Friction” thrives on “Thief”. This is partly thanks to a much stronger chorus and one of the band’s meatiest guitar performances to date. Not a bad song to start up the handful of actually good songs by the band.
8Imagine Dragons
Smoke + Mirrors

Warriors – 7/10: Okay, I’m selling into nostalgia bias on this one; “Warriors” is actually pretty good. It’s no wonder why Imagine Dragons kept trying to be a soundtrack band when the lush orchestration of “Warriors” fit the band’s overly epic style like bread and butter. It’s a pretty hype song in my opinion. Though I will recognize that it’s probably one of the more emotionally driven takes I have on this list, so not everyone has felt the same about it necessarily.
7Imagine Dragons
Continued Silence

I Don’t Mind - 7/10: Title of the track is surprisingly accurate for how I feel about it. It’s got a good dose of that cheesy Christian contemporary flavor to it, but this is probably the best version of that flavor Imagine Dragons could have provided. The production’s actually pretty great on this cut as it makes the drums and guitars pop out very nicely in the mix. It’s also got that Arcade Fire-esque indie quality to the vocal harmonies, too, which I found honestly endearing.
6 Imagine Dragons
Frankenweenie Unleashed Soundtrack (yes, seriously)

Lost Cause - 7/10: Imagine Dragons? Frankenweenie Unleashed? There’s no way this is any good, right? But it actually is. Dan Reynolds pulls off a rare and passionate performance on here with a fittingly spacey synth lead. I do wish the production strayed away from this awkward boombap style in the percussion department, but it’s a pretty great song by the band’s standards.
5Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

The River – 7/10: The bonus tracks on Night Visions included some of the best material the band would ever go on to make, and “The River” was one of the strongest in the pack. Genuinely good performances from everyone around with production that helps set up a fittingly pristine atmosphere to the track.
4Imagine Dragons
Speak to Me

The Pit - 7/10: How in the world do you go from the unlistenable “Boots” and “Living Musical” to this?! “The Pit” is a, believe it or not, pretty great alt rock tune whose instrumentation fits well with its lyrical themes. It’s solid in the songwriting department despite the vocal setbacks at the time.
3Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Nothing Left to Say/Rocks – 7/10: Ah, the epic-sounding closer to an epic-sounding album. Admittedly, the instrumentation aside from the string section is pretty basic, but it’s progression is still excellent and the transition between the two tracks is one of the most successful stylistic payoffs of the band’s career. Nicely wrapped with a great vocal performance from Mr. Reynolds himself, this one I’ll always hold my heart out for.
2Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Amsterdam – 8/10: Probably the song most beloved by longtime fans of the band, “Amsterdam” was Imagine Dragons at their best with a great sense of subtlety in the lyrics and passionate instrumentals. It’s a wonderful balance of radio-friendly poppiness with enough of a rock edge to capture the band’s energy. Nostalgia could just be speaking again, but I’m still confident that this is easily one of Imagine Dragons’ very best songs.
1Imagine Dragons
Night Visions

Selene – 8/10: We’re finally here: my standing favorite song from my first childhood band. Much like “Amsterdam”, this is the marriage of pop rock and indie rock I used to adore Imagine Dragons for when they were in peak form. The main guitar riff and funky, four-on-the-floor beat are earwormy as hell. The chorus foregoes the synthetic loudness the band notoriously known for and instead goes for a more organic cacophony of guitars, keyboards, cymbals, and vocals into an honestly beautiful mix. “Selene” reminds me of a modern rendition of Good News… era Modest Mouse and it’s all the better for it.
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