Smoke and Mirrors

The Lantern reviews Imagine Dragons' "Smoke and Mirrors"

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Despite snagging the third spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 with their hit song, Radioactive, in 2013 and quickly rising to the top of the hottest albums in 2012, Imagine Dragons refuses to be pigeonholed. Their signature sound ranges from head-banging rock to funky techno to easy-going folk all pulled together by lead vocalist, Dan Reynolds’, who sings with a raw intensity that numerous people have come to identify with the band. On February 17th, the band released their second album, Smoke + Mirrors, and in spite of singles like “I Bet My Life” and “Shots” the album ultimately fails to live up to the high bar that their first album, Night Visions, sets.

The band delivers a rocky, unpolished sophomore album that seems to be more of a sudden burst of rage and angst rather than an actual record. This album seems more like the breakout record of a bunch of newbies to the music industry as opposed to a highly successful band.

Smoke + Mirrors is just that- unclear, hazy, and ultimately disappointing to an audience who struggles to find the same band who produced Night Visions”

— Kellie Lawless

Initially I didn’t like a good majority of songs on their album then the chorus would play and I would start to enjoy it until the words or the message of the song slipped into unclear waters again and I was left confused and unsatisfied. Certain songs like “Dream,” “Trouble,” and “Gold” carry the traditional sound of Imagine Dragons and have just enough catharsis that the audience feels some emotion but others are just too all over the place. Sadly, the latter is the most prevalent throughout the album. At one point, I had to check to make sure that I was still listening to the same band- that’s how inconsistent and scattered the songs are.

 

Smoke + Mirrors is just that- unclear, hazy, and ultimately disappointing to an audience who struggles to find the same band who produced Night Visions. “It’s Time” for Imagine Dragons to see that the only “Demons” they’re fighting is their new album.

 

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