On Sept. 3, Imagine Dragons released their fifth album, Mercury – Act 1. Let me start off by saying that I am a huge fan of the band. Comprised of singer Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee and drummer Dan Platzman, Imagine Dragons found immediate success with their smash debut album Night Visions in 2012, with the songs “Radioactive” and “Demons” gaining most of the album’s popularity.
The 42-minute, 13-song Mercury – Act 1, incorporates elements of rock, pop and a little hip hop, while sometimes sounding emotional and angry and other times calm. The first three songs on Mercury – Act 1 feature some of the band’s finest work, “My Life,” “Lonely” and “Wrecked.” “My Life” has a simple yet impactful guitar solo that adds to the song’s emotional bend. “Lonely” gives off pop and gospel vibes, while “Wrecked” serves as the longest and most meaningful track, as it describes the heartbreak that Reynolds felt when he found out that his sister-in-law passed away suddenly from cancer.
Some darker themes are present throughout the album. The lyrics, “There are pills on the table and a thought in my head / And I walk through the halls where I used to be led / My heart is filled with reasons” give some insight on “My Life,” as well as the lyrics “These days I’m becoming everything that I hate / Wishing you were around but now it’s too late / My mind is a place that I can’t escape your ghost” for “Wrecked.”
The catchy “Easy Come Easy Go” and album closer “One Day'' stand out from the rest of the album with easy melodies and clever lyrical arrangements. The same cannot be said for the scream-fests present in “Giants” and “Cutthroat.” I will be honest and say that while I appreciated hearing songs that display such intense rage and psychological distress, these two songs were a bit of a disappointment. I feel like the musical rhythm could have been more captivating instead of being chaotic.
“#1,” “Follow You” and “No Time for Toxic People” have uplifting messages similar to those of Imagine Dragons’ previous albums, and do not be surprised if “It’s OK” is stuck in your head for a while due to its repetitiveness. “No Time for Toxic People” is melodic and filled with a joyous sound.
With Mercury – Act 1 coming three years after their album Origins, Imagine Dragons show no signs of slowing down. They truly do stand out from other popular artists. The band’s use of experimental musical techniques and voice shifts allow listeners to internalize the meaning of its lyrics. Although the rest of Mercury – Act 1 is not very different from the previous Imagine Dragons albums, it emphasizes lyrical meaning, and a few tracks allow Reynolds to release his inner anger while conveying complex emotions to the listener. All in all, Mercury – Act 1 is a brilliant album that brought forth a lot of raw feelings.
By Rania Abushakra, Staff Writer