Imagine Dragons
Mercury - Act 1


1.0
awful

Review

by Aeri USER (42 Reviews)
September 3rd, 2021 | 67 replies


Release Date: 09/03/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There are only so many times we can do this, boys.

Why.

At this point, it isn’t even a question that warrants an answer anymore… but I’m asking it anyway. Why, Imagine Dragons? Why are we still doing this? Why are you still pursuing the same exhausted, overblown, overworked, overproduced, over commercialised nonsense? In fact, fuck it – I’m done being nice. Why are we still stomping around in this vapid, flaccid, cookie cutter bullshit?

Over the last nine years, Las Vegas, Nevada-hailing pop rock (… and arena pop, and alt rock, and electronic rock, and arena rock …) act Imagine Dragons have released a grand total of five albums. And maybe – just, maybe – across all sixty tracks produced from Night Visions to Mercury – Act 1 there is a salvageable ten track experience in there that could be crudely pieced together. But you know what? If you did in fact decide to Frankenstein yourself together a listenable Imagine Dragons album from nine years’ worth of (what you would hope to be) accumulated stylistic growth, experimentation, and increased emphasis on trying new ideas for the sake of keeping things fresh and interesting, you wouldn’t have a clue where any of it came from. Because in spite of my snide reference to several genres’ that could technically be associated with the band, this wasn’t at all to imply that Imagine Dragons actually intends on genuinely committing to any of them. Sure, with the goal of pandering to as many commercial audiences as logistically possible, you’ll get the odd R&B flavoured track, the occasional guitar riff and solo, or some peppered instances of EDM… but it’s all been violently shoved into the Imagine Dragons Magic Music Machine, and the mincemeat that eventually comes out the other end all looks the fucking same.

Now, to put my cards on the table as open and honestly as possible… I genuinely wanted to like this album. I want to believe that no matter how poor an artist’s output becomes, there is always the chance of recuperation – take Eminem’s whiplash recovery from Revival to Kamikaze, or Nickelback’s Feed the Machine, for example. I wanted Imagine Dragons to release something that actually drops the pretentious golden eagle of soulless trite that the four-piece has seen fit to wave in our faces for the last decade, and just make something good. Am I a naïve, optimistic fool for doing so? Sure, why not. Hell, I wanted to like this band once upon a time… but here we are, and while the group’s latest offering Mercury – Act I may choose to swan around masquerading as an experience ripe with musical diversity, proudly standing tall to loudly proclaim Act I as if inferring the beginning of a grand, majestical auditory tale, it does so with the arrogance and stupidity of a sentient plank of wood.

Even just reading through the track list is enough to warrant a quiet groan of exasperation, as you will likely begin to imagine the exaggeratedly bombastic choruses that – no doubt – all chant the track title with the same miserably repetitious manner as has been seen to befit the last four releases from Las Vegas, Nevada’s crown jewel, Imagine Dragons. ‘My Life’, ‘Easy Come Easy Go’, ‘No Time For Toxic People’, ‘Giants’ and ‘One Day’, for instance – all of which I already feel like I’ve heard before the track even begins. I see ‘My Life’, I hear ‘I Bet My Life’. I see ‘One Day’, I hear ‘Monday’ before I’ve even gotten around to listening to the damn thing. I feel like Ellen Burstyn in Requiem For a Dream being screamed at constantly by Shooter McGavin, and I just want it to stop. By this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if one or a few readers are now questioning whether or not my ramblings even make sense or where I’m going with this. Well, wherever I’m going, I certainly hope it isn’t in a U-turn back towards this album.

‘My Life’, for instance, is an exhaustingly self-indulgent ballad; Dan Reynolds drearily bears his soul atop a plinky-plonky keyboard melody, with such lyrical choices as ”I’m running out of my mind, is this really my life”. It’s dull, and it would also appear that Rick Rubin kicked in the studio door at the two-minute, twenty-seven seconds mark with the hopes of inspiring the band to change things up a little. Shockingly, they do… by immediately ripping off U2 for the last minute or so. Elsewhere (and speaking of ripping off), ‘Lonely’ is a blatant stab at the guitar-led pop rock space that Ed Sheeran so comfortably (or not) inhabits, whilst ‘Monday’ is an absolute mess of combined inspirations. On one hand, Reynolds attempts his very best impression of an uncomfortably breathy Michael Jackson, while on the other ‘Monday’ also appears to be dabbling in some instrumental lifting from the likes of Michael Sambello’s ‘Maniac’, until finally it all completely goes to hell with one of the most bizarre Muse-esque electronic breakdowns you are ever likely to hear. It’s bad. There’s no other way of saying it. It’s very, very bad.

And to be honest, it never really improves either.

Second-time Ed Sheeran wannabe number ‘Easy Come Easy Go’ evokes absolutely nothing from the listener, except the unpleasant realisation that the ‘clock’ sound Dan Reynolds emits whilst enunciating certain words is the force fed ASMR trip you wish you’d never had the misfortune to experience. ‘Dull Knives’ also sees fit to borrow some outside influence, and admittedly is something of a surprise as (yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen) Imagine Dragons can now add emo rock (and glam rock, I guess?) to the list of butchered genres now associated with the band, with the four-piece deciding to Edward Scissorhands’ themselves together three and a half minutes of My Chemical Romance/The Darkness inspired pure, unfiltered, rock – all while flailing miserably in the process.

Elsewhere, ‘Giants’ feebly endeavours to recapture that grandiose ‘Radioactive’ soundscape of better days gone by, yet it is an entirely forgettable attempt up to the moment that Reynolds himself seems to realise the matter and decides to change things up a bit... by screaming. In fact, some of the most hilariously absurd screams you can possibly imagine. It has been a long, long time since I burst out laughing whilst attempting to seriously critique a bad album, but ‘Giants’ broke that streak with flying colours - and it’s not even the worst thing on here, because that honour goes to ‘Cutthroat’. It is with absolute zero exaggeration that I state the following: ‘Cutthroat’ has to be, hands down, one of the most nonsensical modern pop rock offerings ever produced. Amidst a clunky, awkward instrumental backbone and Dan Reynolds’ hoarse wails of "only one of us gonna make it out alive – try me", the track eventually implodes into what is essentially a combination of blasting fog horns and indecipherable screaming with Linkin Park-esque ‘Blackout’ vocal manipulation, and it is terrible.

And, if I’m completely honest, I have nothing else to say about this album. Mercury – Act I is an awful hodgepodge of bad decisions that only further hammer home Imagine Dragons’ place among the Nickelback’s of the world. I tried, Imagine Dragons – truly, I did. I wanted nothing more than to be pleasantly surprised by this album, and instead I feel like I’ve been fucking poisoned by it. There’s nothing left except the pitiful desire to crawl into a dark hole and stay there until the manic, incoherent mess of instrumentation and vocal delivery throughout Mercury – Act I has finally dissipated from my mind. Please, I beg of you, have mercy and just leave me alone.



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user ratings (60)
1.6
very poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
Aerisavion
September 3rd 2021


3145 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I hated every minute of working on this.



As always - feedback appreciated. I'll probably tidy up the odd bit here and there after work, but to be honest the effort I put into this matches the album's quality rather accurately.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
September 3rd 2021


26865 Comments


I am glad you took this one for the team Aeris, have a pos.

Digging: Tomb of Annihilation - End of Time

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
September 3rd 2021


44407 Comments


lol pog

Digging: yourboyfriendsucks! - Episode 1

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2021


3284 Comments


I enjoy the fact this review is a 1.0 and still higher than the overall album average

gravityswitch
September 3rd 2021


839 Comments


Hilarious review, props Aeri. Will listen to this album thanks to it.

Aerisavion
September 3rd 2021


3145 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

'I am glad you took this one for the team Aeris, have a pos.'



As soon as I heard 'Cutthroat', I knew it had to be done.



Sowing
Moderator
September 3rd 2021


40056 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thank God someone else reviewed this. This is as far as mine ever got, which was merely going to be my review summary/intro paragraph:



John Lennon: Imagine there's no heaven

Us: Easy, done

John Lennon: No hell below us

Us: Okay, sure

John Lennon: Imagine Dragons

Us: Fuck you Jonathan



I will say that I weirdly enjoyed 'Giants', and that I appreciate their efforts to finally shake up their sound. The problem is that all this funky Maroon 5 throwback stuff that they employ here just sounds all the more hilarious with a dude singing who sounds like he's straining to sound as tough as possible. Still, they've made worse than this.

Digging: Domestic Terminal - I Could See Midnight Sky

Snake.
September 3rd 2021


23804 Comments


"Why, Imagine Dragons? Why are we still doing this? Why are you still pursuing the same exhausted, overblown, overworked, overproduced, over commercialised nonsense?"

idk ask bain capital

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
September 3rd 2021


16253 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

“ Us: Fuck you Jonathan”





May have just caused a spit-gag. Goddamit Sowing.

Digging: Krallice - Crystalline Exhaustion

outliers
September 3rd 2021


3133 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Time to jam this because I hate myself

parksungjoon
September 3rd 2021


39356 Comments


https://www.sputnikmusic.com/uservote.php?memberid=1226025

Aerisavion
September 3rd 2021


3145 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

^ Someone's a fan.



Explains the neg, lol

ghostalgeist
September 3rd 2021


637 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

imagine dragons and maroon 5 really competing for the title of worst album this year huh

JefferyBigglestein2
September 3rd 2021


470 Comments


i wonder if drake paid imagine dragons to drop today so you could argue that drake didnt have the worst drop of the week. too bad cause the drake release was unironically worse than this, nice try drake. both are 1 worthy but imagine dragons cover art at least doesnt make me cringe so it wins the tiebreaker for better album.

JefferyBigglestein2
September 3rd 2021


470 Comments


two absolute giant fucking cow shits from big name corporate friendly artists who are officially past their prime. take a picture august 3rd 2021 will go down as the worst day for music this decade.

Asdfp277
September 3rd 2021


23710 Comments


is this band mormon

Purpl3Spartan
September 3rd 2021


2341 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I believe so yes

Digging: Geese - Projector

Asdfp277
September 3rd 2021


23710 Comments


wig

ManicCosmonaut
September 3rd 2021


17 Comments


This review makes me want to listen to this album. Good write up. I loathe this band so much. The 1.0 brought me here.

Aerisavion
September 3rd 2021


3145 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Thanks for the kind words folks



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