On Sept. 3, Imagine Dragons released their fifth album titled “Mercury - Act 1.” This new collection of songs delves into many dark themes that tell the story of lead singer and head songwriter Dan Reynolds and his life battles over the last several years.
“In a lot of ways I felt like my foundation was completely ripped from under me over the last decade,” he said in an interview with ABC News. “I spent a lot of my time embracing that self-pity and wallowing in it. This record is primarily about taking action and rebuilding.”
“My Life,” the first song of the 13-track album, starts the lineup off strong. This catchy yet sad song talks about the difficulty of loving yourself and your life just as it is. Although the lyrics are heartbreaking, they’re relatable because almost everyone finds themselves thinking these thoughts at some point during their lifetime. Reynolds sings, “I’m trying to be somebody else / I’m finding it hard to love myself.”
The next track, “Lonely,” fits right along with the dark theme of the album. It talks about putting on your best face for others even when you’re not doing well and how lonely that can feel. The first 20 seconds of the song are pretty unexciting, with lyrics that are almost too simple. However, within the first minute, the song picks up, the lyrics get better and it’s much more enjoyable to listen to.
The third track of the album, “Wrecked,” develops the theme and story further. This song gives us an insight into Reynolds' break-up with his wife before they mended things. You can hear the desperation and vulnerability in the vocals of this song when Reynolds sings, “I’m a wreck since you’ve been gone.”
The next two songs in the lineup, “Monday” and “#1,” are a little more lighthearted than the previous tracks. “Monday” is a cute love song whose lyrics can’t help but make you smile when you hear them. Reynolds sings, “You are my Monday, you’re the best day of the week. / So underrated and a brand new start.”
The beat of “#1” reminds me of a 2000s summer song that makes you feel good inside. This song talks about how you need to believe in yourself, and you don’t have to wait for others to see the greatness in you to go ahead and do great things.
“Easy Come Easy Go,” the sixth track of the collection, has such a slow yet bouncy beat to it, and the meaning behind the song contributes to the personal theme developed throughout the album. This song delivers the message that what is gained with ease can also be lost with ease.
The next song, “Giants,” stands out from the rest of the album with its variety of moods. At times, the beat is slow and steady; at other moments, it speeds up for just a few intense seconds. This song also displays Reynolds’ wide vocal range with some major high notes and some deep notes as well. This song continues the dark and personal theme through its discussion of the struggles of sobriety and addiction, which Reynolds has suffered.
“It’s Ok,” the eighth track on the album, has one central message, evident as Reynolds sings, “It’s okay to be not okay.” Although the message is important, the song is too simple. It uses lyrics and rhythms similar to many other songs by other artists over the years. It might have done Imagine Dragons well to differentiate their song just a little with a new, spruced up music track to go with the lyrics.
The ninth track, “Dull Knives,” has more of a hard-rock feel to it than the other songs on “Mercury - Act 1.” The meaning behind this song is one of the most intense on the album. It’s a direct cry for help and relief from the pain he is feeling, with lyrics like “Won’t someone please save my life?”
“Follow You” and “Cutthroat” were both previously released as singles. According to Reynolds, “Follow You” came to life after he and his wife went through a rough patch in their marriage.
The last two songs on the album, “No Time For Toxic People” and “One Day,” leave “Mercury - Act 1” off on a lighter note. Both songs are much more upbeat than the rest of the album and leave you feeling a little less heavy after listening to the tracks that come before them. Although these last two songs are much happier than the previous tracks, they still contribute to the overall theme of the album by showing us that Reynolds overcame his struggles and is looking to the future with a new sense of hope.
Overall, this album did a great job of telling the ups and downs of Reynolds’ story. It felt like such a personal and yet relatable collection of songs with meaningful lyrics. You could sense the vulnerability in the lyrics and the passion in the vocals.