When you say Imagine Dragons, people tend to have a specific view of the group. Songs like “Believer,” and “Radioactive,” are all over the airwaves, and thinking about the group as more experimental and cross-genre might be a challenge for casual fans. They have an energy that lends itself to a car ride sing-along, workouts, and waking up with purpose. “Radioactive,” was the group’s first significant hit. Songs like “Believer,”and “Whatever It Takes,” followed and dominated the charts. Delving deeper into the group’s catalog, you’ll find pieces that have received less airplay and are equally as good if not better than the popular songs you know by heart. These are eleven Imagine Dragons gems that are worth a listen.
# 11 – Gold
This song has a similar feel to Believer, with a darker overtone. The music starts with a tribal intro and some whistling that adds to the moody feel of the song. As it progresses, it varies between a radio standard Imagine Dragons’ song and the cross-genre inventiveness prevalent in the tracks enjoyed by their loyal fans. Additionally, it has lyrics that make you think and a driving beat that hypes you up.
# 10 – Polaroid
This song is also from Imagine Dragon’s sophomore album. It’s much simpler than a lot of their music. The beat is catchy, hear it a few times, and you’ll sing along like it’s “Believer.” They use the image of a Polaroid, evoking the idea of simpler times. The metaphors that this group favors evoke intense emotions. This song is one of the few that features Dan Reynold’s voice more than their signature style of music. In places, this song sounds like an updated version of Steve Miller Band’s song “The Joker.”
# 9 – Walking The Wire
In 2017, Imagine Dragons released the album Evolve. “Walking the Wire,” was the fifth track on this album. This song has a similar feel to “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” by The Police. These days a lot of love songs are over-synthesized and generic. Undoubtedly, this song never made the Billboard Charts because it’s one of the few love songs that don’t have melancholy lyrics.
# 8 – Birds
The album Origins was released in 2018. Featured here is the song “Birds.” It’s a stripped-down song, which allows the lyrics to shine. Much of the song sounds like a 90s throwback, comparable to the Goo Goo Dolls. The song “Birds,” has smooth vocals and is something you’d listen to when relaxing instead of something that makes you want to run a marathon.
# 7 – Fallen
Radio standards like “Radioactive,” and “Demons,” overshadowed the thirteenth track on Night Visions. It has more of a standard anthem feel than some of the tracks on this album. As you listen to it, it’s harder to pin to a specific genre. Imagine Dragon’s songs each standout in their own right. It’s impossible not to find a tune that lends itself to any mood. It stays consistent throughout the whole song, and the outro works well, staying true to the rest of the song.
# 6 – Mouth of the River
One of the best things about Imagine Dragons is that they don’t shy away from experimenting with different genres of songs. Although they are not under the heading of Christian Rock, this song’s lyrics and overall feel sound like something you would hear played alongside songs like Crowder’s “I Am.” However, it shines because it is spiritual and non-denominational instead of belonging to a Christian genre.
# 5 – Bad Liar
Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, went through a messy divorce when he wrote this song; you can hear the rawness in his voice, and it’s easy to tell this song is coming from a place of high emotion. One of the most amazing things about music is knowing you can see into a piece of the writer and singer’s soul. Reynold’s put his pain on display when he recorded this song.
# 4 – West Coast
Aside from the chorus, this song sounds like a Jack Johnson or The Lumineers recording. Dan Reynolds has a lighter feel when singing these lyrics. After doing darker, heavier songs like “Radioactive,” or “Whatever It Takes,” it’s fresh air to hear something that sounds like closing time at your favorite bar. It’s another example of Imagine Dragon’s diversity. This song wouldn’t be out of place sitting in front of a beach bonfire.
# 3 – Tiptoe
The song “Tiptoe,” is easy to miss because it’s sandwiched between two of the group’s biggest hits. It’s a throwback to the 80s. There was a concept for an animated video that never happened. Despite being a solid addition to their catalog, it’s now only played as a mashup with other songs.
# 2 – Dancing In The Dark
The last track on the Evolve album shares its name with a Bruce Springsteen song, and there ends the similarity. This song has a slow techno beat with a smooth jam feel. Cue it for an impromptu dance in your kitchen. Dan Reynold’s voice melds perfectly with the music creating a unique track.
# 1 – Round and Round
It’s easy to find multiple music influences in this song, and still, it’s hard to pin them all down. Imagine Dragons’ musical genius is that they have a sound that can only be evolved by being fans of many different genres. The song “Round and Round,” sounds like an organic, perfectly stylized tribute to the music that shaped them. There’s a lot of variation, at times stripping down to a near acoustic.
It’s easy to think of synthesized pop tunes when you hear Imagine Dragons. Songs like these populate the airwaves and are great ones to turn up loud and sing along. Yet, when you go to B-Side tracks, you find a band that has a diverse sound that crosses multiple genres that lend flawlessly to Dan Reynolds’ voice. So, before you get caught up in all the radio hits and dismiss them as another alt-rock band, please take a look at some of their lesser-known songs. These are cross-genre songs for all moods. This year, the group has a new album that will deliver more radio hits and lesser-known songs worth multiple listens.
11 Most Underrated Imagine Dragons Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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