Sanguineous symphony of soliloquies

Imagine Dragons reinvents their style with new album “Mercury”


Marissa Getschman, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Rating: 8.5/10

Imagine Dragons released “Mercury” in 2021, which climbed the charts rapidly due to the hit song “Enemy” gaining popularity thanks to the hit Netflix series “Arcane: League of Legends.” The album was something of a comeback since the band announced a hiatus in 2019. Imagine Dragons can’t be stopped for long, however, as the river of creativity in their songwriting (way more than a trickle) flows without end. The album was meant to span only 10 to 12 songs, but skyrocketed to a grand total of 32. 

Frontman Dan Reynolds is a masterful lyricist and composer. What starts as a simple rhythm, beatboxed in Reynolds’ mind, evolves into a full blown story, riddled with emotion and power. The artist has had his fair share of heartache in the last few years with the death of several loved ones to cancer. Many of the songs, including “Wrecked,” “Easy Come, Easy Go” and “I Wish” reflect his heartbreaking experience. After a tumultuous few years, fans everywhere relate to the lyrics contemplating life and grief.  

Rather than simply singing a sad song for his fans, Reynolds sings to the ones he’s lost. These power-ballads stir a certain existentialism within listeners. Many of the songs have a polarizing positive vibe and peppy tune that almost hides devastatingly sharp lyrics. 

Listeners who pay attention to the words will notice that a lot of the brightest songs have the darkest lyrics. Songs like “Younger” and “Peace of Mind” hook like earworms while obscuring difficult backstories.

On the other hand, there are songs that feel like the old Imagine Dragons and make the listeners want to get up and dance while belting along. “Enemy,” “Bones” and “Follow You” are all clear fan favorites and have all made it to the radio for that very reason. “Enemy” even made it to fifth place on the US Billboard Hot 100 and first place on the US Adult Top 40 (Billboard). 

Imagine Dragons is known for music that feels a little grungy but still retains a pop feel that keeps it on common radio stations. “Mercury” takes that vibe to the next level. For the most part, the album is done well through adding vocal grit to the final chorus or to the bridge. There are a few times in which the songs become distorted and lose the old Imagine Dragons feel. Songs like “Monday,” “Dull Knives” and “Giants” are completely new and attract a different kind of audience. Songs like “Cutthroat” and “Shark” on the other hand take the new vibe and mesh it with the old, creating a chimera of chaos in the form of music. “Shark” in particular feels like it belongs on a halloween playlist with the use of minor chords to create a blood-in-the-water feel.

Imagine Dragons pioneering a new vibe feels like the band is committed to staying fresh and timely. 

Fans can look forward to seeing what becomes of this fascinating new texture from the band they have always loved. While there are a few songs that contain heavy topics and venting, most of the songs have the same overarching message. Someone will always have your back, whether you see them there or not. Cherish your loved ones and, in the words of Dan Reynolds, “stay alive.”