The Return of Imagine Dragons: A Review of ‘Origins’

After releasing their third album, Evolve, in 2017, Imagine Dragons weren’t done creating music just yet. With little warning, the band released their fourth studio album, Origins, on November 9th, leaving their fans shocked and excited for the new era. This 15-song album explores love and turmoil while including undertones of their past songs throughout their improved sound.

1. “Boomerang

The album begins with an EDM-infused pop jam that is sure to make its way into some radio stations soon. The band had producer Jorgen Odegard, who previously remixed some of their classic songs such as “Dream,” work on the song, which explains the techno aspect of it.

2. “Machine

Released in mid-October, this rock anthem got many fans hyped for the rest of the album. This song follows closely with some of their Smoke and Mirrors grunge tunes, especially with the electric guitar blaring chords during the bridge. The empowerment found in the heavy vocals, bass drum and guitar all contribute to this intense track about not letting other people control your life.

3. “Cool Out

This song radiates major summer vibes and matches well with the “cool” tones as found in the title. Following along the EDM-techno pattern of the album, the lyrics are shadowed by light and airy synth-sounds that provide the listener with an image of icicles shimmering in the sun. This song is one to definitely make it to the charts this season.

4. “Bad Liar

This track was released as a single two days before the album release date and left some followers of the band questioning this somewhat slower and calmer song. It was co-written by Dan Reynolds, the lead singer, and his wife, Aja Volkman, after going through a rough patch of their relationship this year. Although it is more of a pop anthem, there are snippets of the band’s well-known sound containing the high chords of the guitar to give it a feel-good vibe.

5. “West Coast

Presumably the most unique song they have created, the band was hyping this song in every pre-album interview. It follows along the folky sounds of Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers while sticking to their true tones similar to those in “On Top of The World.” While listening to this track, you almost disregard the somber lyrics about losing love to life because of the gentle rhythm of the acoustic guitar layered with soft handclaps in the background.

6. “Zero

This song was originally written for the Disney movie Ralph Breaks the Internet in September. Unknown to the fans’ knowledge, it was also the first track released for their new album. It has a very upbeat rhythm and sounds like a song found in a modern-day video game. Although it’s an odd song for the band to write, it’s actually well-loved by a lot of critics and listeners. But, if you don’t pay attention, the song will be over before you know it.

7. “Bullet In A Gun

Any true fan of Imagine Dragons can argue that this track sounds similar to their musical and lyrical tone found in their first album, Night Visions. The piece of this song that completes it is the background beats and the funky production technique when Reynolds sings the chorus “bullet in a gun….” It can also be speculated that this song is maybe a sister to “Shots” found on their album, Smoke and Mirrors.

8. “Digital

“Digital” was hard to grasp for many fans at first and was underappreciated compared to the rest of the album. After a few listens, it grows on you, and you’ll find yourself having a personal head-banging session on the bus to class. The fast-paced beat and un-synced intense drum beats allow this song to be a “love-child” of their past songs, “Friction” and “I’m So Sorry.” If you’re not a fan of screaming, this might not the be the song for you, but it’s no doubt going to get the crowd alive on a future tour.

9. “Only

At this point, the album takes a softer turn as the climax was reached with “Digital,” and now it’s transitioning into the resolution. This track has another fierce EDM sound mixed with a smooth tone during the verses. If you listen closely, Reynolds says “dream world” at high notes towards the end, referring to their past song “Dream.”

10. “Stuck

This song definitely has the potential to become a popular wedding song with its slow rhythm and the blissful notes strummed on the electric guitar. It may even have you shedding a tear at the lyrics because you can feel the pain when he sings “time goes by, and still I’m stuck on you.”

11. “Love

“Love” should be making waves with its message about learning to love each other instead of ignoring it, as society usually does. It’s a slower song similar to “Stuck,” but the band wanted to highlight the importance of being united. Much of the inspiration for this song can be Reynolds' efforts in helping the LGBTQ+ community.

12. “Birds

Following the same motives as the rest of the album’s theme of love, this track has a nice down tempo overtop the mellow beats of the bass drum. The chorus represents the flight of birds with the switch between different high notes, but the meaning of this song is what makes it beautiful.

13. “Burn Out

Right from the beginning, the echoes of the guitar prove the intensity of this song. The melody itself gives the image of a burning fire that is fading out with the transition between a calm tone to a more empowering tone. Personally, this is my favorite song because, lyrically and musically, it’s the perfect package in a song.

14. “Real Life

Resembling their previous songs such as “It’s Time,” Imagine Dragons really brought their roots back to this song with the high notes and synth sounds. This would be a perfect song to listen to while driving down a scenic road or on an airplane because of its free-spirit vibes.

Origins is going to make history for Imagine Dragons with the variety of amazing jams it contains. When I listened to it for the first time at 12 a.m. on the Friday it came out, I sat in my bed encompassed by blankets and tears because of how beautiful it is. My favorite tracks off this revolutionary album are “Birds” and “Burn Out,” but I still love all of the songs in different ways. Witnessing these songs live would be life-changing, so hopefully, we’ll see the band release some tour dates soon….