“The Quest For Something Better Than Radioactive.” (Imagine Dragons: Smoke + Mirrors)

Smoke and Mirrors (White Cover)
This is the cover for the album, but with a white background.

Radioactive. Imagine Dragons. To me, that’s their only good song. And, yes, I do live with a fan, so I have heard most of their songs before, and really, Radioactive was the only one that stuck with me as something that I really liked. Everything else was just forgettable, and uninteresting. But hey, new album, new chance, right? On a side note, I had to really work to find the right versions of the songs on Youtube. This is not how you release an album, guys. Not how. 

Track 1: Shots

This starts off sad, but it has a very hopeful feel to it. I’m sure I’ll get tired of it eventually, and that stock sound (the one used when there usually aren’t any lyrics) really bothers me, because I’VE DEFINITELY HEARD IT SOMEWHERE AND I CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE. But still, this is great start. Unfortunately, though, It’s the one they use in the ads, so I think it’ll get old even faster.

Track 2: Gold

There’s some really cool sound at work here. I love the underlying beat, and the lyrics are some of the most captivating they’ve ever had. I just love all the little sounds behind the lyrics, and they really carry the song for me. Here’s a list.

  • Some sort of whistling
  • Hiccups. Seriously, drink some water.
  • Clapping
  • HEY!
  • A really cool vibrating beat
  • An artificial whistle
  • Some sort of synthesized siren
  •  A slowed down noise that’s used after the word “gold”

Track 3: Smoke and Mirrors

This song is really cool, even though I usually hate it when people name a song after an album, or an album after a song. I originally thought that it would be another sort of uninteresting downer songs that made me sad until I stopped listening to it because it got old. But it surprised me, by adding in the occasional burst of energy. That was a really awesome thing to do, and I seriously didn’t expect it. But still, that should have done more to carry the song, in my opinion.

Imagine Dragons (Black Cover)
The cover for the album, but with a black background.

Track 4: I’m So Sorry

Holy crap! Judging by the title, I thought it was going to be another apologetic and depressing song about death and stuff. But I’m So Sorry carries this amazing weight to it from the very beginning, and it makes the whole song sound like something epic, and something to be remembered. The freshly energetic lyrics only add to this, and they turned the words “I’m so sorry”, usually a ballad of sadness, into an exhilarating chorus. The worst part? When it slows down. The best? When it comes back afterwards.

Track 5: I Bet My Life

I’m sorry, this song does nothing for me. It’s not sad, so I can’t complain about that, and it’s pretty happy, actually. But, there’s no fire, and no intensity. The depth that I just got from I’m So Sorry is missing here, and for that, something has certainly been lost.

Track 6: Polaroid

This one still has no intensity, and is just kinda mindlessly happy like I Bet My Life. But, I think because I just listened to the previous song, I’m used to it now. I think that if I listened to I’m so Sorry, and then Polaroid, I would have liked Polaroid less. But really, this one is better than I Bet My Life. It is mindlessly happy, but it dosen’t make me think that immediately. First, it makes me smile. (On a side note: after listening to the song, at least 80% of Imagine Dragons fans immediately had to go and Google what a polaroid was.)

Track 7: Friction

Easily one of the best of the album, maybe even being their best work. It’s fast, loud, and has one of the most catchy choruses I’ve heard in a long time. Even in it’s downtime, it makes me enjoy it. It may be better than Radioactive. When you start this, it has some hints of Egyptian in it, and you know something really cool is up ahead.

Imagine Dragons - Friction
Hey look, it’s Friction! I just listened to that one!

Track 8: It Comes Back to You

This one is another song that I’m not crazy about either. It sort of goes back to the Night Visions Imagine Dragons, who made semi-mediocre songs about sort of sad topics. It Comes Back to You does nothing for me. If I had to listen to the album again, I would skip this one.

Track 9: Dream

Slow, steady, powerful. Maybe it’s just new, and that’s why I originally liked the original album, but I really like this one, even though it’s similar to Night Visions.

Track 10: Trouble

This is one of the songs that was dangerously close to being mindlessly happy with no interesting qualities, but it picked itself up pretty well. The chorus is catchy, and the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy the beat.

Track 11: Summer

This one, like I Bet My Life, is one that I’m not crazy about either. I really don’t care for it, and I wouldn’t listen to it again. That’s not to say it’s a bad song, but I like things with a little more spice and excitement in them, and Summer just dosen’t have any of that.


Track 12: Hopeless Opus

This one is also mindlessly happy, with almost no intensity. For some reason though, I like it for what is. I think this could be because I recently listened to a song of the same caliber, but there’s something in me that just really enjoys the song.

Track 13: The Fall

I don’t like this one either. There’s nothing intense or exciting about it, and it really just bores me. Most of the song is told through underwhelming lyrics, and is expressed with a boring ambient beat. And yes, ambient songs can be cool sometimes, but this one isn’t.

But you didn’t think I would leave you just like that, did you? No, I wouldn’t do that. Smoke and Mirrors is superior to Night Visions in pretty much every way. To my excitement, I found that more than one of the songs on this new album are better than Radioactive, Imagine Dragons’s holy grail. The best song on the album is probably I’m So Sorry, but Friction comes close. Better than Night Visions, Smoke and Mirrors definitely rekindles my long lost love of Imagine Dragons. 8 out of 10.

This is some of the best “mainstream” music that I’ve heard in a long time. There are some misses, as on any album, but the successes far outweigh the failures. Smoke and Mirrors is most definitely better than Night Visions, and it makes me excited to see what Imagine Dragons has up their sleeve for next time.


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