There aren't many bands that have become so popular as fast as Imagine Dragons has. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Las Vegas band took the world by storm with their four consecutive hit singles “It's Time,” “Radioactive,” “On Top of the World,” and “Demons.” Along with constant radio airplay, the band has been nominated and won awards around the world, including an American Music Award, a Grammy, five Billboard awards, and a World Music Award.
Forming in 2008, Imagine Dragons released two EPs before signing to Interscope Records in 2011. After two more EPs, the band recorded their extremely successful debut album, Night Visions, in 2012. The album became one of the best selling rock debuts of the last decade, debuting at number 2 in the United States and within the top ten in numerous other countries. In the span of a week the album was certified double platinum in the US.
Imagine Dragons' sound throughout Night Visions mixes the anthemic power of Muse with a unique sense of hopefulness and positivity. The band does this with the use of percussion as a vital part of their sonic structure. “Radioactive” opens the album with an acoustic intro that quickly dissolves into this demanding, powerful drum beat that makes the song feel a little like an old viking rowing chant. “Bleed Out” heavily features that same pounding bass drum cadence, this time punctuating and playing back-up to the song's softer emotion. Some of the other songs have a bouncier feel, particularly “On Top of the World,” which has a celebratory vibe to it with the movement of the snare hits and upbeat group chanting. “Working Man” really makes you want to get up and dance from the get-go with its steady beat and island feel.
The band is currently working on their second album, which singer Dan Reynolds told Rolling Stone would “be much different” than the last. Most recently, the band released a very dramatic, “Radioactive”-esque song for the new League of Legends World Championship video game, titled “Warriors.” The song charges on at march-tempo, triumphantly leading the way to war.
Imagine Dragons' rise to success has been swift, but their percussion-driven pop-rock songs will definitely keep them in the public eye a bit longer. Fusing powerful riffs with catchy and upbeat melodies, the band has really made a stir in popular music in the last two years alone. With a new album on the way soon, one could only hope that it will have the same kind of spark that made Night Visions ahit.
By Elise Yablon