by: Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff
Nevada-based rock band Imagine Dragons has released a new album titled Origins, a decision which many fans have questioned, considering that it has only been a little over a year since the group’s last album release. Evolve, which debuted in late June 2017 and included the popular track “Believer,” certainly increased the band’s popularity, as they experimented with different genres. However, many long-time fans are now questioning whether Imagine Dragons is trying to distance themselves from their alternative-rock sound that originally defined them.
Origins delves deeper into different genres than Evolve, which is in large part still heavily rooted in an alternative style. The new record makes multiple attempts to integrate electronic beats into lead singer Dan Reynolds’s powerful and unique vocals. Ultimately, the seemingly diverse mix of songs jumbled together in Origins has caused disappointment and confusion among listeners. Moreover, many fans have questioned the band’s intent.
There are two main points to consider regarding the way Imagine Dragons has approached its new record and the timing of its release. The first is that the band, like many others, is aiming to become more accessible to listeners who may not be as deeply ingrained in rock and/or alternative music. They have done so chiefly by adding more of a pop sound to their music and releasing Origins so soon after their last record. Secondly, it is also just as likely that Imagine Dragons is trying to evolve from the style of music that they started their career with.
Despite this, it is almost certain that Imagine Dragons will still do well with Origins. Even several weeks after its release, the album still remains in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 charts. Although Imagine Dragons’ shift away from rock has upset some listeners, it is likely that the band will continue to thrive.They have shattered multiple records over the years and emerged in the spotlight with little effort or publicity.
As to be expected, many critics have commented on Origins and what the album means for Imagine Dragons going forward. The Guardian has offered commentary on the band members’ rationale for Origins, asserting, “Perhaps it all hints at a gulf between how Imagine Dragons see themselves—fearless sonic explorers and sociopolitical philosophers straining at the very confines of commerciality—and what they are: a band who’ve hit on a winning formula, where mainstream pop music is larded with just enough references to classic rock to lure in not just lovers of the Top 40, but the kind of people who normally sniff at mainstream pop.”
The fact that some listeners are eager to appreciate anything that Imagine Dragons put out is a testament to what the band has done over the years and who they are musically. While it is sometimes necessary to grow and experiment, many fans are still hopeful that Imagine Dragons will stick to what they do best, rather than deviating from rock and alternative music altogether.