Imagine Dragons’ Are The Heir Apparent To Stadium Packing Sound Like Creed, On ‘Smoke + Mirrors’, But Formulas Hold It Back From True Glory
On the heels of their mega successful debut studio album Night Visions, Las Vegas natives Imagine Dragons deliver more of the same, albeit with a little bit more eclecticism with second studio album Smoke + Mirrors, which continues the trend of catch-all anthemia, a boon for Imagine Dragons fans everywhere, yet a challenge for a discerning music fan like myself who tends to be underwhelmed by the formulas present here, however layered or bombastic their individual sound designs. What this band is good at is making tracks loud and concussive and exciting in the most obvious of ways. Many folks are pleased with their style, and even moved to tears by certain concepts and sentiments expressed lyrically – words supercharged by all of the kinetic instrumentation at hand. I will offer, by way of comparison, that the Post Alt Rock band Creed was also, at one time, the most popular Rock band of its time. Ask any music fan – or even music layman, about the relevance of Creed now, and I would say they are not as cool, or as boundlessly talented in our collective perceptions, as they were in their highly advertised heyday. By the way, I should say, I saw through the commercialism back then, to the core of what that band was – basic songwriters with a spiritual, redemptive power which was as appealing then as it is now with Imagine Dragons, who likewise seem to avoid complicated notes and black keys in favor of easy and expected melodies and writing. They just happen to incorporate many more influences than Creed, ranging from Synth to Hip Hop beats to Revivalist Soul to Folk, against Creed’s strictly Hard Rock and Alternative output. Despite various influences fusing into one loud and bold sound, Imagine Dragons are consistently categorized as Pop Rock, because, under all that noise, the notation is all Pop – exhibiting a disinterest with reinventing anything or challenging its listener artistically. What Imagine Dragons do have to offer is great instrumentation and fantastic vocals from front man Dan Reynolds.