Night Visions by Imagine Dragons, ASIN: B00B81B0HC
Overview: This is the debut album of Imagine Dragons. It was released on September 4, 2012. In a review on All Music, Gregory Heaney describes the album as “track after track of hooky and emotional mid-tempo jams.” They have an ambitious, “arena made sound” that is nontraditional for someone at their stage in the music career, but for some, it works.
|5||On Top of the World|
|11||Nothing Left to Say/Rocks|
Critical Evaluation: Overall, this album is very ballad heavy, ballad being a song that has a chorus you can sing along to. Beyond that, I don’t find most of the songs to be very memorable. They sound a lot like other musicians, and rely a little too heavily on synthesizers for my taste. I was interested in this band initially because of their first single, Radioactive. After listening to the rest of the CD, that is the only song that really stands out. It has a post-apocalyptic feel that relies on the kick drum to punctuate the song. It’s also the only song on the album that leans more towards rock instead of pop rock. Tiptoe is okay, but there is a synth heavy moment that I found kind of cheesy. After that, the album kind of devolves into ballad-y anthems. Some have a message, like Demons, but I find they veer too much towards preachy. To be fair, I have very high standards for my music with a message, so there are not many musicians I think can pull that off effectively. Several of the songs, like On Top of the World and Underdog remind me of Caribbean music in a way that feels gimmicky. These songs remind me of Jack Johnson, so I imagine that for some listeners, this is very enjoyable. For me, it got a little pop and light music heavy.
Reader’s Annotation: Imagine Dragons blend engaging, synth-based dance-pop with emotionally charged, Brit-pop-inspired alt-rock. Known for the singles, “Radioactive,” “It’s Time,” and “Demons.”
Information about the artists: Imagine Dragons is based in Las Vegas. They formed in 2009 in Provo, Utah. According to their biography by James Christopher Monger, they “blend engaging, synth-based dance-pop with emotionally charged, Brit-pop-inspired alt-rock.”
They released two well received EPs before signing with Interscope Records. Night Visions was recorded at Westlake Recording Studio in West Hollywood with producer Alex Da Kid. Alex has worked with such artists as Eminem and Paramore.
Genre: Pop/Rock Music
Curriculum ties, if any: This could be examined in a music class.
Booktalking Ideas: I would compare the group to Jack Johnson, Fun, or Coldplay for the similar sound on some of the tracks. I would appeal to teens interested in rock and melodic, ballad-y songs.
Reading Level/Interest Age: This album does not particularly apply to a certain age. It was on the top albums on the Billboard list at the time, which makes me think that many teens are listening to it.
Challenge Issues: None that I could discern. I didn’t hear any language or explicit lyrics.
Why did you include this album? : I picked all three albums for this project from the top albums on the Billboard list. I also attempted to pick musical groups with diverse styles to be more representative of what teens are listening to.
Heaney, G (2012). Night Visions review. All Music. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/album/night-visions-mw0002409529
Monger, J.C. (2012). Imagine Dragons biography. All Music. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/artist/imagine-dragons-mn0002040645/biography