Another new Imagine Dragons song, another track destined for your Workout Mix, providing more of the same that listeners have come to expect from the band, only…better? When “Born To Be Yours” came out, audiences & critics alike were split on how to feel, as the song marked a noticeable break in vocalist Dan Reynolds’ mental stability – thus providing an emotional core that was sorely missing from their songs in the last two records – while the Dance-centric collaboration with Kygo felt a bit too upbeat for the typical Dragons fare; “Natural” seems to be an answer to the criticism raised by this prior release, with Reynolds completely cracking & opting for a life of cold-heartedness from now on, both as a coping mechanism for the painful divorce he endured & as a means of protecting himself from falling into a situation like that again, as well as helping him block out the constant negativity Dragons are showered with as one of the world’s leading Pop acts – It’s an intense & almost troubling song, detailing the nature of naivety & how easy it is to be taken advantage of when you leave your heart out for all to see, Reynolds taking this opportunity to cast away all of his doubts & fears to announce that he’s had enough; His voice is accusatory in the earlier moments, laying his dirty laundry out as he tries to piece together what wrong, suddenly bursting into a furious roar during the choruses – well, that’s kind of par for the course – where he seems to be psyching himself up, trying to fool himself into believing that he’s “a natural, living [his] life cutthroat” so that he can cut through the darkness & come out somewhat whole on the other end.
With Reynolds’ vocals & the rest of the band’s instrumentation, there’s a severe sense of dread in almost every phrase, mixing the hauntingly Halloween-esque sounds of a detuned player-piano with an atmospheric minor chord progression, supported by reverb-heavy choir bursts & aggressive drums that put you on edge as you listen; They use this eeriness in tandem with pure loudness to create an overbearing wall of sound that is simultaneously frightful & a bit sadistic, like the turning point in an Action Horror film where the main character has completely lost all will to live, thus becoming an unstoppable force of mayhem capable of blasting through hordes of zombies just to get the last laugh as the curtain drops – It’s surprisingly groovy & almost gives off early-Imagine Dragons vibes, back when there was still a bit of distinguished character between songs & full story arcs were discernable. Other than that, you also get a visually interesting music video, in which Reynolds & crew are seen on an old spooky plantation, burying a woman named Natalie & dealing with other ghosts who’ve befallen similar fates. Supposedly, this is a reenactment of the Mountain Meadows massacre of 1857, with the ghosts being part of the Baker-Fancher party & Reynolds playing the part of Brigham Young, the LDS Church President & Utah Territory Governor at the time, which would make sense seeing as Reynolds is part of the Mormon faith & this event represents a crisis of both faith & willpower, requiring swift action & a cold heart to process the activities that happened within. It’s shot like a cheap slasher flick, giving viewers a little slice of comedic value here & there, but for the most part it’s simply a strange video production which helps to water down the intensity of the song – Hopefully this is a sign that Dragons are going to start giving a damn about their music again, ‘cause this story just seems to get better & better.
Mattias Larsson, Dan Reynolds, Ben McKee, Justin Drew Tranter, Daniel Platzman, Wayne Sermon, Robin Fredriksson
"Natural" is a song by American band Imagine Dragons, whose members co-wrote the song with Justin Tranter and their producers Mattman & Robin. It was released by Kidinakorner and Interscope Records on July 17, 2018, serving as the lead single from the band's fourth studio album Origins (2018), as well as the seasonal anthem of the 2018 ESPN College Football. It became their fifth number one song on the US Hot Rock Songs chart.