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Review: Imagine Dragons returns to their ‘Origins’

Reviving old styles has fans excited

Courtesy of Interscope Records.

Courtesy of Interscope Records.

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After just under a year and a half since the release of their album “Evolve,” indie rock group Imagine Dragons released their fourth studio album, “Origins,” on Friday, Nov. 9. Like the title suggests, this album returns to the origins of Imagine Dragons’ music. Fans noticed upon listening that songs like “Machine” and “Love” are reminiscent of the first studio album by the group, “Night Visions.” The unique style that made fans fall in love with the group six years ago is back and stronger than ever in their latest release.

With such a short time between albums, some songs feel as though they were rushed through the production process. Toward the second half of the album, especially in the songs “Zero,” “Digital” and “Bullet in a Gun,” the songs feel incomplete and chaotic, as if the producers simply added a random beat onto Dan Reynolds’ vocals. Although it seems as if the group was trying to make each track unique, that can be an unrealistic goal to achieve with a total of 15 songs on the album.

Multiple songs, including “Burn Out,” “Birds,” “Bad Liar,” “Boomerang” and “Cool Out,” on the album have matching upbeat and optimistic tones. Although the use of the same tone can feel repetitive, each song takes the sounds in its own direction. This prevented the audience from getting annoyed by the lighter sounds in the songs.

However, not all songs on the album have that same lighter tone. For example, “Machine” uses industrial-sounding background noises not typically found in a song. “Origins” leading single, “Natural,” experiments with a darker sound that Imagine Dragons fans wouldn’t typically expect from the group. The song also has a music video, which is darker than the song itself. The audience was caught off guard by these deviations from the groups’ typical style; the songs are highly unique because of it.

Although the majority of songs in “Origins” stay true to Imagine Dragons’ signature style, a few branch out and experiment in different genres. For example, “West Coast” experiments with the country-folk style Mumford and Sons is typically known for; the use guitars and banjos break the mold of Imagine Dragons’ sound. “Zero” brings fast-paced monotone lyrics to the table, similar to the song “Polaroid” from “Smoke + Mirrors,” but those two songs are the only examples of this style of vocals. The monotonous tone doesn’t flatter Reynolds’ voice well, but it does provide a nice change of pace from the dynamics used in most other songs.

The lyricism throughout this album is outstanding. In the song “Bad Liar,” the line “look me in the eyes, tell me what you see, a perfect paradise tearing at the seams” stuck out to listeners because it reflects a broken man telling someone he is close to that he has been struggling with mental health. “Digital” also has strong lyrics, with the line “we don’t wanna change, we just wanna change everything” repeated during the chorus. This line adds a motivating and rebellious theme to the violent-sounding backing instruments.

This album receives 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Although many songs deserved more time in the production studio to be improved upon, “Origins” is a strong album. When Imagine Dragons was first formed, they took the indie rock genre to the next level, greatly changing the modern expectations of a typical rock band. Fans enjoyed their unique sound and fell in love with Reynolds’ vocals. Now that the group is back to its original sound, fans reminiscing the “Night Visions” era will certainly keep the album on repeat.

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Review: Imagine Dragons returns to their ‘Origins’