Las Vegas is known to many for a variety of different reasons. Whether it’s for the casinos, Elvis impersonators, shotgun weddings or as the setting for the film “The Hangover,” Vegas usually conjures a special image in our minds. As of late, Vegas has slowly begun to pick up the distinction as a city the produces talented musical acts.
Bands like The Killers, Panic! At The Disco and The Cab have come out of the desert to burst onto mainstream radio and discover newfound popularity in recent years. Enter Imagine Dragons. Imagine Dragons is an alternative band from Vegas that has steadily built up a following from fans and critics alike since the release of their first E in 2009. With the release of their new album, “night Visions,” Imagine Dragons have put out one of the year’s catchiest albums – even though “Night Visions” features a few growing pains by the young band.
Imagine Dragons flexes its pop muscles with “It’s Time,” the lead single from “Night Visions.” If you listen to pop radio or watch a bit of television, there are high odds that you’ve actually heard “It’s Time.” The song has been feature in everything from movie trailers and baseball games to promotions for television shows, and it was even used in Glee. We all know a band hasn’t hit the big time until one of their songs gets recycled on Glee.
Right from the beginning note, “It’s Time” grabs your attention as it sounds drastically different than any other pop song on the radio. Featuring booming drums, hand-claps and an upbeat-sounding mandolin, “It’s Time” tells the tale of being of oneself and being unwilling to change for anyone or anything. The song has a powerful feeling of optimism throughout the entire song even though lead singer Dan Reynolds discusses being alone and the sadness of possibly having to leave his hometown. “It’s Time” may be one of the most memorable songs of the year, but it also sends a very clear message: be true to yourself and don’t ever waver on that one fact.
Through its eleven tracks, “Night Visions” has no shortage of appealing tunes. The best song on the album, “Radioactive,” begins with a guitar being slowly strummed, but the track pulls a complete 180 in the verse as Dubstep-influeced beat comes in, adding a new element to the song that sounds great when mixed with the full band. “Radioactive” showcases Reynold’s fantastic vocals and has an insanely catchy chorus that will be stuck in your head for days.
“Demons” is another track on the record that displays Imagine Dragon’s ability to write a pop-like song. “Demons” features a beautiful, haunting piano in the background as Reynolds allows his voice to soar and fall through the verses. The song hits its climax during the chorus as Reynods sings,”When you feel my heat/ Look into my eyes/ It’s where my demons hide/ It’s where my demons hide.”I wouldn’t be surprise if “Demons” makes an appearance on pop radio in the next few months.
Imagine Dragons isn’t afraid to be diverse on “Night Visions,” and that’s what makes this album unique. The band uses an assortment of instruments on the record and delve into different genres of music at times, helping to create a listening experience where no song sounds like another. For example, “Hear Me” kicks off with a hip-hop type drum beat that stays consistent through each verse while carefully picked guitar notes accent Reynold’s vocals. As the song hits it chorus, heavy synth comes in as Imagine Dragons begins to sound like a reincarnated version of The Killers from the days of their first album.
“Night Visions” does have a fault which prevents the album from truly succeeding in every aspect. While tracks one through seven on the album are superb tracks that can stand on their own successfully, tracks eight through eleven come off as boring, uninspired songs. Imagine Dragons has a high amount of energy and spirit that flows through the first seven tracks, but that last four tracks seem like filler tracks that are there to round the album out. “Night Visions” ends on a sour note in my mind as the album flows and has cohesiveness up until the last four tracks, where it seems to just fall apart.
At the end of the day, “Night Visions” is an album that will propel Imagine Dragons to new heights of popularity and recognition. While the album is only decent, it’s a great stepping point for the band’s moving forward. If the band can keep their pop sensibility and continue to be diverse in their music, I see Imagine Dragons having a bright future ahead of them – maybe a future brighter than the lights of Las Vegas.