Imagine Dragons’ 13-track collection plunges into darkness with brave new album

The new Imagine Dragons album cover features a man falling through space, gravity gently pulling him down. Inside is the sound of a man struggling with his own fall.

Singer, songwriter and lyricist Dan Reynolds poured heartbreak, tragedy and his struggles with sobriety into the crude, confessional and searing “Mercury – Act 1”, a brave album by a band refusing to retreat into the hits from the past.

“In many ways, it felt like my foundation had been completely ripped out from under me over the past decade. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in it, ”he says from his home in Las Vegas. “This record is mainly about acting and rebuilding.”

The 13-track collection uses Reynolds’ falsetto to explore different soundscapes, and his lyrics hurt with the portrayal of a man who has lost friends to cancer, has seen his personal life crumble and struggled with depression and addiction.

“I find it hard to love myself,” he sings on “My Life”. On “Lonely,” he offers, “These days I’m becoming everything I hate. The song “Dull Knives” almost makes Reynolds scream in anguish, “Can’t someone please save my life?” and one song has the refrain, “It’s OK not to be OK.”

The album was written over a span of three years and a lot has happened in Reynolds’ life. He separated from his wife Aja Volkman, but the couple reunited in late 2018 after a seven-month hiatus and welcomed a fourth child, son Valentine, the following fall. He has lost loved ones to cancer, including his business manager, an ex-girlfriend and his sister-in-law, which inspired “Wrecked”.

The deaths served to remind Reynolds how short life is, and he says he wants to make the most of the days he has left, by staying present and vulnerable.

“I want to grow as close to the people I love as possible, and that really requires being raw and honest. Vulnerability is a superpower. I certainly haven’t even started to master it, especially being an introvert, but it’s one of my biggest goals in life.

Imagine Dragons – which includes guitarist Wayne Sermon, drummer Daniel Platzman and bassist Ben McKee – has always evolved their sound, but this fifth studio album is a pretty radical step. The big, arena-ready sounds of “Believer” and “Radioactive” earlier in their careers have given way to darker, smaller songs with electronic flourishes.

For “Mercury – Act 1,” the Dragons leaned on superstar producer Rick Rubin, who urged the group to go deeper into the dark and not worry if what they found would alienate fans. .

“Rick reminded me that over the past decade my fans have grown up with me. Not only did they want to grow up with me, but they expected it. He told me never to worry about them. pushing uncomfortably, “Reynolds said.” And that I would be doing them a real disservice if I ever tried to recreate the past or water down the present. I owe them nothing but vulnerability and honesty.

Reynolds said he was anxious to openly discuss his own battles with drug addiction, fearing that fans would mistakenly think he was glorifying drugs.

“I just tried to paint an honest portrayal of sobriety and addiction. Because in its most honest sense, there is nothing beautiful or alluring at all about it. It can sound incredibly painful and ugly, ”he said.

“I saw my friends die of drug addiction. The last thing I want to do is glorify it. But I also don’t want to shame anyone for their situation. And the purpose of art is to share our darkest and lightest moments. I believe that by singing about my own struggle with it, I hope it will bring someone else some kind of peace or resolution. “

Despite all its angst, “Mercury – Act 1” ends with two upbeat songs, “No Time for Toxic People” in tropical hues and “One Day” in Hawaiian flavor with hopeful lyrics: “I know one day / I’ll be that thing that makes you happy. It conjures up perfect waves and the sun through the clouds.

“This record deals with a lot of research and loneliness, grappling with the finite state of reality. However, I really wanted it to end on a festive note. Lay the foundation for a more stable and stable future, ”said Reynolds.

“I wanted to finish the record focusing on all the things that make me happy. The simple things that keep me moving forward every day. To look forward. Pointing out to me all the beauty that surrounds me.

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This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing. Only the title has been changed.

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