Album Review: Imagine Dragons have lost their spark with Origins

“Origins comes across as a gimmick with subpar lyrics and production that feels haphazardly thrown together.”

It seems as if Imagine Dragons just released Evolve (I mean when don’t you hear “Thunder” on the radio?) but this week the band debuted their latest work Origins.

While “Natural” was a promising first single, with Dan Reynolds’ powerhouse vocals matching intense production, the majority of the album was a flop.

Origins comes across as a gimmick with subpar lyrics and production that feels haphazardly thrown together.

“Bad Liar” feels like the beat to “Thunder” was slowed down and the lyrics were replaced with a (not very sincere) apology.

Another single off of the album, “Machine” just has a very confusing sound. I want to like it – I really do. I love the inspirational message behind it.  The message of the song is carried in the line:

“Cause I’ve been wondering when you gonna see I’m not for sale. I’ve been questioning when you gonna see I’m not a part of your machine.”

But, the production is what loses me. Reynolds’ vocals get lost in the overwhelming jumble of noise. It is supposed to support this inspirational message, but in reality, it’s just distracting.

“Digital” is another confusing piece of the puzzle. I think the music is supposed to representing what the digital realm would sound like. You can definitely pick up on some techie tones. The lyrics in this song are a little too cheesy though.

“We are, we are the digital heartbeat. We are, we are the face of the future.
We don’t wanna change, we just want to change everything.”

If that line was said once, it’d be fine. But it’s repeated a lot. The bridge of the song is even based off repetition. The line “And they been sayin’, they been sayin’ the same thing” is said eight times. If it’s supposed to be metaphorical, it’s beyond me.

“Only” is promising at first, the slow sensual sound is something different. But once the chorus kicks in and the basic top 10 sounding EDM starts, it loses its value.

But, as many problems I have with this album aside, there is some solid work on there.

“West Coast” is a track that is very well done. The acoustic tune is catchy, with lyrics that match the light, airy vibe. The title of the track matches the driving up and down the highway vibes that the song embodies. The lyrics are cute.

“I’ll change my ways if you would stay.
All your tears that you have cried would go away
Oh, just grant me one more day, Oh, my love, please don’t give up.”

“Bullet In A Gun” carries a deep meaning, focusing on the mental health issues faced in the music industry. The emotion is carried in the bridge as Reynolds essentially screams:

“How many artists fear the light, fear the pain, go insane?
Lose the mind, lose yourself (You only care about fame and wealth)
 Sellout, sellout, SELLOUT.”

Origins was released a little over a year following Evolve. The 15-track album carries a few solid songs, but the rest honestly just feel like fillers. The album may have been a little better if the band sat on it, and put more time into it.

Imagine Dragons currently have a number of chart-topping songs. Their debut album Night Visions was quickly met with praise with tracks such as “Demons” and “Radioactive.” Smoke + Mirrors had powerful, cinematic production value with lyrics to match. Evolve pushed them forward, but Origins definitely pushes them back a few steps.

You can stream Origins on Spotify here.

*Photo courtesy of Nolan Knight

 

 

Kailey Howell