Imagine Dragons is one of my favorite bands, and one that I have followed from the beginning. Their first hit was “It’s Time,” the lead single from their debut album, Night Visions (2012), but they became world-famous in early 2013 with their sleeper hit, “Radioactive.” Ever since then, they have achieved widespread success despite being an indie-rock band. If you somehow don’t know Imagine Dragons, you have definitely heard “Believer” and “Thunder,” two songs from their third album, Evolve (2017). Those songs have been everywhere for the past year and a half, receiving non-stop airplay on the radio, reaching the upper echelon of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and being featured in pivotal scenes on the wildly successful television show, Riverdale. Since Imagine Dragons’ fourth album, Origins, will be released on November 9, I thought that now would be an appropriate time to rank the top ten underrated songs from their previous three records.
Honorable Mentions: “Walking The Wire” (Evolve, 2017) and “Friction” (Smoke + Mirrors, 2015).
10. “Who We Are” (Smoke + Mirrors [Deluxe], 2015)
“Who We Are” was originally released on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack in 2013, but it was also included in the deluxe version of Smoke + Mirrors. The music is incredibly catchy, and while the lyrics allude to Katniss and Peeta’s journey in Catching Fire, they take on a life of their own. “Who We Are” is a song for all of the underdogs out there.
Best Lyric: “Out with the reason, in with the season / Taking down names in my book of jealousy”
9. “I’m So Sorry” (Smoke + Mirrors, 2015)
The band’s sophomore album, Smoke + Mirrors, is darker in tone because frontman Dan Reynolds was battling deep depression at the time, but some of their best songs are from this album. “I’m So Sorry” is a heavy rock song and different from the vast majority of their songs, but this difference is what makes the song stand out. The guitar riffs and the beat are incredibly catchy, and it is the perfect song to listen to while working out.
Best Lyric: “You gotta face up, you gotta get yours / You never know the top ‘til you get too low”
8. “My Fault” (Night Visions [Deluxe Version], 2013)
Imagine Dragons’ debut album, Night Visions, is a masterpiece, but the deluxe version has five bonus tracks that take the record to another level. “My Fault” is one of my favorites because it is emotionally vulnerable. Lyrically, the song is about a strained relationship, and the narrator reflects on how they got there, and how he can fix it. Musically, the song is atmospheric, and I love the steady drumbeat throughout.
Best Lyric: “I took a walk on a Saturday night / Fog in the air just to make my mind seem clear”
7. “Tiptoe” (Night Visions, 2012)
“Tiptoe” is one of my favorite songs from Night Visions, but it is underrated because there are so many hits on that album (“Radioactive,” “Demons,” and “It’s Time,” to name a few). Lyrically, the song is about managing to succeed in life despite the many obstacles in one’s way. This song never fails to make me motivated.
Best Lyric: “In the morning light, let my roots take flight”
6. “Monster” (Smoke + Mirrors [Deluxe], 2015)
“Monster” was originally released as a standalone single in 2013, but it was included on the deluxe version of Smoke + Mirrors. Lyrically, the song explores Dan Reynolds’ battle with anxiety and depression. He has always been open about his struggles, and that means a lot to me because I have anxiety disorder. Hearing him talk about it makes me feel less alone. While there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, it has lessened over the past five years, and famous people like Reynolds speaking out has contributed to this societal shift.
Best Lyric: “I never said that I want this / This burden came to me / And it’s laid its home inside”
5. “Polaroid” (Smoke + Mirrors, 2015)
“Polaroid” is a masterpiece, but it is always overlooked. Lyrically, the song is about lack of self-confidence and wanting life to slow down, but it also comments on how society’s vision of the “perfect” love story is generally unattainable. Relationships are much harder than they look in the movies, and they can end for a multitude of reasons. This is a must-listen for anyone at Barnard and Columbia who can relate.
Best Lyric: “Love is a polaroid, oh / Better in picture, but never can fill the void”
4. “Yesterday” (Evolve, 2017)
Imagine Dragons’ third album, Evolve, is the lightest in tone due to Dan Reynolds receiving treatment for his depression and anxiety. There are so many mega-hits on this album, so “Yesterday” is always overlooked, but it is one of my favorite songs the band has ever released. The song is about embracing your future and acknowledging that while it important to remember your past, it no longer defines you, so you are free to leave it behind.
Best Lyric: “But in all this trouble I’ve met / I haven’t got one single regret, no”
3. “Round and Round” (Night Visions [Deluxe Version], 2013)
I don’t understand how “Round and Round” and “Selene” (number two on this list) failed to make the standard tracklist for Night Visions; they are some of the strongest songs that the band has ever released. Lyrically, “Round and Round” is about feeling lost in life and wanting to find a purpose, and it is another song that touches on frontman Dan Reynolds’ struggle with depression. The lyrics are thought-provoking and the music is catchy.
Best Lyric: “Guarding a tower of ancients, of ancients / Shooting down arrows of patience, of patience / We’re circling”
2. “Selene” (Night Visions [Deluxe Version], 2013)
“Selene,” in addition to being criminally underrated, is one of my all-time favorite songs. It was written from the perspective of the famous Roman general, Mark Antony, and it is addressed to one of his children with Cleopatra of Egypt, Cleopatra Selene. Even though the song is meant to be somber, the music has an upbeat tempo, and without knowing the backstory of the song, it could easily be thought of as an endearing love song. Whenever I listen to “Selene,” I can’t help but smile.
Best Lyric: “Resolutions and lovers in the kitchen / Love is clueless, and destiny is wishing”
1. “I Bet My Life” (Smoke + Mirrors, 2015)
While “I Bet My Life” was the lead single for Smoke + Mirrors, it never had as much success as other singles from different albums. This is my favorite song that the band has released so far. Whenever I listen to it, I think about the people in my life who have stood by me, no matter what, and I feel even more grateful that I have such amazing friends and family. This is a song that everyone needs in their lives.