2012 In Review - (Reviewing Contest!)
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January 28th, 2013 (12:53 PM).
silhouette of the past
Boston, MA, USA, Earth, Sun Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe
The first studio album from Imagine Dragons was a huge success
Imagine Dragons, an alternative/indie hailing from Las Vegas, USA, struck gold with their first album, Night Visions. The album was released on September 4th, 2012 and within a week there had been 83,000 copies sold, skyrocketing to number two on the Billboard 200 charts. The album runs around 40 minutes as a whole and features multiple singles, including “Its Time,” and “Hear Me” with “It’s Time,” being nominated for the MTV Music Award’s Best Rock Video.
Song by Song Review
Night Visions consists of eleven tracks, each of which with its own, unique style and flavor. Part of the reason that this album was so successful is due to this diversity. While Night Visions has songs like “Radioactive,” which has recognizable dub step influences, it also consists of other songs such as “Bleeding Out” with softer, more acoustic sounds and “Tiptoe,” with keyboard and guitar tunes, similar to the style of the Killers.
“Radioactive,” is the first song on the Imagine Dragons first album. With heavy bass drums and low synths playing in the background, “Radioactive” sounds surprisingly like a dub step song for an alternative band. Lead singer Dan Reynolds’s voice dominates the song, fitting perfectly in with the other instruments. The song is rather somber, with the lyrics in the song describing, “Welcoming a new age.” It is implied that this age may not be as pleasant as how the world is today, with the lines “Waking up to ash and dust,” and “This is it, the apocalypse.” The rest of the song goes on to tell about starting a revolution, and saving what’s left of the world.
“Tiptoe,” track number two on the album is my personal favorite. The song consists of upbeat tunes from the whole arsenal of instruments. There are various distinct synths and guitars all playing together, forming a perfect harmony. The chorus is quite catchy, illustrating a vision of tiptoeing stealthily to the very summit of it all.
The single, “Its Time,” is Imagine Dragon’s most successful song. The song has an interesting vibe to it, featuring dominating mandolin and clapping parts. As the song progresses, new instruments are introduced constantly until the end of the song. The lyrics detail someone finally moving on and starting something bigger than them.
At the core of the album is the song “Demons.” The song starts out with Reynolds’s voice pretty much by itself until the chorus, when a plethora of instruments come in at once. As the chorus fades away, Reynolds sings by himself again, until the next chorus, when the process repeats. It provides an interesting blend, to say the least, although I wouldn’t exactly call it one the best tracks on the album.
The track “On Top of the World,” is by far the most upbeat song in the album. The beginning starts out with singing, whistling and clapping in a cheerful tune that I couldn’t help but smile at the first time listening. As the song transitions into the chorus, there comes more voices to back up Reynolds, all in unison. It’s such a blissful song, and there’s no other way to describe it. The lyrics are mostly about triumphing everything life can throw at you, until you’re finally on top of the world.
Coming in at track 6 on the album is “Amsterdam.” I find it extremely similar to “Tiptoe,” in sound, featuring great riffs from the guitars and Dan’s voice at the head of it all. Lyrics describe “walls crashing down,” and “not waiting any longer.”
Number 7 on the album is “Hear Me.” As soon as the song starts, it slowly starts to build. Slowly instruments are added until the chorus comes, packing quite a punch with catchy melodies in the vocal parts. The lyrics are all about speaking out and being heard, hence the song’s title.
The next song on Night Visions is “Every Night.” The song starts out with a sort of somber sound, as if the singer has just lost something and is desperately trying to get it back. The song retains its yearning feel throughout, as the singer details his “mind being made up,” and “nothing can change it.” The instruments back up this feeling very well throughout the song.
“Bleeding Out” is a more sad song, even more so than “Every Night.” With every strum of the guitar and note on the keyboard, it builds an intense emotion, perfect to go along with the lyrics, which is also a wonder by itself. A summary of the lyrics can be found in one of the later verses, which says, “When the hour is nigh, and hopelessness is sinking in, and the wolves all cry, to fill the night with hollering. When your eyes are red, and emptiness is all you know, with the darkness fed, I will be your scarecrow.” These lyrics are so incredibly written, with many underlying meanings to uncover, and are the highlight of the song for me.
Similar to a rainbow after a dreary rain, “Underdog,” appears after “Bleeding Out,” at track 10 of 11 on Night Visions. The song is most relatable to “On Top of the World,” but instead the mandolin and whistling are replacing with overpowering synths and a group of voices in unison. The song is very cheery, unlike the final track on the album…
The closer to Imagine Dragons’s Night Visions, “Nothing Left to Say”, is also by far the longest, reaching practically nine minutes after its completion. The song is rather heavy and pretty repetitive, featuring the same loops in the chorus and verses for the first three minutes or so. The loop breaks when the chorus plays a final time, featuring more instruments and more voices, before plunging into a final winding down with nothing but a few voices, low strings and an acoustic guitar all slowly trailing off. Around the 6:30 mark, there is nothing but silence before going into a new song. Now, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought you said there’s only eleven songs on this album?” Well, yes, there are only eleven listed tracks. However, this does not include the hidden track “Rocks,” which is technically part of “Nothing Left to Say.” “Rocks,” is very upbeat, and at the same time very short. It wraps things up in a good way, and it at least left me satisfied.
While there is also exclusive tracks on the iTunes, Spotify, and Best Buy versions of the album, I will not be reviewing those. You’ll have to take my word for it, that they are amazing songs that are definitely worth a look or a YouTube search at the very least.
Why I Chose This Album
With so many songs about triumph and overcoming challenges, I chose this album to represent celebration. From "On Top of the World," to "Underdog," to "Tiptoe," the whole underlying theme throughout the album is climbing to the top, even if the odds are stacked against you and all hope is lost. Nothing will taste better than the victory at the end of the road, and that is real reason to celebrate.
Night Visions is worth the hype it has received. Even today, it can be found toward the top of the iTunes charts, where it has stayed for a pretty long time, for a good reason. All in all, I say the album is definitely worth it and is a good buy for anyone looking for a change in style or a large diversity of songs. However, there are a couple issues with it, although few. The album does not flow as well as many albums I have seen, for one. Some of the later songs also feel very repetitive, as if they are playing on a loop, with only slight modifications to each chorus and verse. Other than that, I can't find anything else drastically wrong with this album. It has definitely left a strong impression on me, and without a doubt I consider it one of the best of 2012,
which is a reason to celebrate.
Final Score: 9.5/10
Well, I'm glad that's out of the way, even though it was a lot of fun. :)
I'm a silhouette, asking every now and then
Is it over yet? Will I ever feel again?
I'm a silhouette, chasing rainbows on my own
But the more I try to move on, the more I feel alone
So I watch the summer stars to lead me home.
Joined Jan 2012
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