Imagine Dragons’ “Smoke & Mirrors” is no illusion

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After years of touring around the world with fans waiting in anticipation, Imagine Dragons released their new album Smoke + Mirrors to follow up Night Visions. This week the album earned the title of the Number One Album on the Billboard Top 200 Albums. In addition, it made the fourth most popular album on iTunes.

With plenty of song lyrics in Night Visions about true conflicts that the listener can relate to, it seems Smoke + Mirrors is no different.

“The last few years have been the highest highs for me and certainly the lowest lows,” lead singer Dan Reynolds said to News AU. “That’s not to say it’s some sob story because everything has been wonderful and we have had everything happen that we could ever have wanted to happen. But I have certainly dealt with quite a bit of depression — I have for many years — but it’s been at its worst and heaviest these last two years.”

The album opens up with a high-pitched performance of “Shots” accompanied by a soft guitar and synthesiser with the lyrics: “I’m sorry for everything, oh everything I’ve done.”

The following song, “Gold,” has a steady beat with background vocals mixed in similarly to their song “I Bet My Life.” They sing about the themes surrounding popularity: the way that money and fame can corrupt your visions to think you have everything when in reality, you have nothing. The chorus sings haunting thoughts: “Everything, everything, everything you touch turns to gold.”

Unlike Night Visions, Smoke + Mirrors features harder rock songs. “I’m So Sorry” and “Friction” have darker rock-esque sounds to them, and also include more electronic, sophisticated sounds. In “I’m So Sorry” dubstep vibes fill the background similar to those in “Radioactive.”

Contrasting the harder songs, people who enjoy softer, bittersweet songs will find that “Dreams” is one of the best songs on the album. Although it sounds less sophisticated, the lyrics are very powerful and send the listener to another world deep in their own thoughts: “We all are living in a dream / but life ain’t what it seems / everything’s a mess / and all these sorrows I have seen / they lead me to believe / everything’s a mess / but I wanna dream…”

A lot of the songs differ greatly from the old styles from Night Visions, but a few songs such as “Trouble” and “The Fall” have the strong drums running throughout with the unique lyrics lacking the cliché theme of love. Instead, they talk about having the perseverance to battle hardship as people go through their lives.

Although songs nowadays often have cliché sounds, lyrics and themes, Imagine Dragons has released an album full of unique ideas and is a wonderful follow-up to Night Visions.

You can buy Smoke + Mirrors on iTunes here.

Parkway West Pathfinder gives Smoke & Mirrors a 8.0/10.