album review of 'smoke + mirrors' imagine dragons

Album Review of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ by Imagine Dragons

The second studio album of Imagine Dragons, ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ or ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ officially released a couple of days ago on Feb 17, 2015. And this is the album review of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’.

As soon as Imagine Dragons started releasing singles off of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’, we were quite convinced that this is going to be yet another huge hit by the rock band. Imagine Dragons adds another ‘alternative’ to Alternative Rock. That’s why their first album ‘Night Visions’ was such a major success. And they have gone out of their way to mix things up in ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ album. We love it. This is a possible Billboard 200 top ranker. We will have to see how the album performs when the charts update on coming Monday.

Track-by-track Album Review of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ by Imagine Dragons

First off we come across “Shots“, which we got to listen to in the form of a single prior to the album release.  Imagine Dragons are off to a flying start right away with the first track. “Shots” is a classic Imagine Dragons track–unique, innovative and not afraid to experiment with drums and beats. The song resonates an apology ‘for everything’ they have done in life.

The second track of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ is a beautiful piece of music titled “Gold”. Straight away the music changes from “Shots” to “Gold” to something more basic and catchier. We kind of wish the opening music sequence continued throughout the track, but it changes towards the chorus–guess that’s what Imagine Dragons does best. The song talks about a person whom turns everything to Gold upon touch (metaphorically, of course).

The third track of the album is the key song of the album. Hence the album and the song own the same title ‘Smoke And Mirrors’. I don’t believe this is the song you should listen to if you want to fall in love with Imagine Dragons and their music. The song is great, but after “Shots” and “Gold”, the third track feels like a slow down of pace–which they might have expected to do.

Here comes alternative rock. “I’m So Sorry” is the fourth track of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ and the Imagine Dragons we know is back. Heavy drums, high vocals and low vocals all blended in a sweet mix. “Life isn’t always what you’d think it’d be, turn your head for one second and the tables turned…”, some good life advice in the song as well. It’s perfect. However the album jots back to the high octane start it had from the first two tracks, maybe even higher. Gotta love the drums too.

The fifth track “I Bet My Life” mellows the blood rush down again. The track came out as a single and even has a music video for it. Watch it below.

If the band aims to prove that they can conquer rock, alternative, folk and indie, this track is good proof of that. Moving on…

“Polaroid” is the next track along our album review of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ journey, and it gets even more difficult to define Imagine Dragons with this song. But they aren’t the first artists to define “Life is a Polaroid”, ‘cuz we know Taylor Swift ran with it back when she released ‘1989’. This track is chill, got good meaning packed behind the smooth lyrics and got just the right kind of drums to keep our hearts thumping. The vocals are highlighted and they are a killer!!!

“Friction” is out of this world. I don’t really know what the band aimed to achieve with this track, but it looks as if they are trying to mix up everything–it has influences from all over the music world. The beginning music piece sounds like something borrowed from India or Persia. Love it. The chorus sounds like heavy metal–only it’s not and is aided heavily by drums. Love it. The oriental-like music runs throughout the track, only to amplify a thousand times when it comes to the chorus/hook? Love it. “Friction” is a brilliant piece of musical work–the instruments, creativity, vocals and everything else.

After the thunderstorm that is “Friction”, the album takes us to a dreamy world right away with the next song “It Comes Back To You”. Electric guitars, light drums and the dreamy voice of Imagine Dragons’ lead vocalist Dan Reynolds. The album is really playing with our emotions.

Buy ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ Standard Edition (13 Tracks) on iTunes / Amazon

Buy ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ Deluxe Edition (18 Tracks) on Amazon / Target

The 9th track “Dream” is a dreamy song indeed. For once the pace continues from the previous track to the next. The almost-acoustic start gives prominence to vocals, which is a great thing, because it is Dan Reynolds.

Dan Reynolds screams “I want no trouble” in the next track. The music is quite awesome on “Trouble”, again gives prominence to vocals. The vocal range he reaches in this track makes me wonder if Dan Reynolds is up to do some Country music too. Just saying!

“Summer” is different altogether. It begins off with a tune good enough for a Summer mashup, but drops down to a moody melody soon after, and you probably didn’t realize it either. And continuing with the weird music flaw comes “Hopeless Opus”. I’m torn with words to define this song. So I’m gonna go with a mix of POP and Rock. The POP rhythm and Rock instruments in the song could be shown as proof for my judgement. “The Fall” is the thirteenth and the final track of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ standard edition.

Let’s try to make sense of the deluxe edition…

Right off the bat the first track on the deluxe edition, “The Thief” brings back the classic Imagine Dragons we know. The heavy thumps, screaming pitch perfect vocals and music goes down and vocals come up. The Rock music is back. The next track “The Unknown” further stretches the music range they have been pushing thus far in the album. There are some new beats and sounds and gives emphasize to vocals as well. It’s probably Indie-Rock, I don’t even know anymore.

“Second Chances” is a low key, slow beat, awesome vocals song. The song speaks about getting himself a second chance. The highs and low vocals on this track are quite amazing. Dan Reynolds is probably one of the best at reaching a broad range of vocals at present. The two and a half minute “Release” is an acoustic ballad of sorts. It’s a nice change of pace and rhythm after 16 tracks of a wild musical ride.

The ‘international deluxe edition’ of ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ contain one more track named “Warriors”, which was also released as a single back in December 2014. This is a battle cry and is a high-energy-boost track. It was also the theme song of League of Legends World Championship 2014. You get the full Imagine Dragons’s Rock feeling thanks to “Warriors”.

The ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ album extend further into a ‘Super Deluxe Edition’ which has three more songs named “Battle Cry”, “Monster” and “Who We Are”. All of them are from different soundtracks. “Battle Cry” from Transformers: Age of Extinction, “Monster” from Infinity Blade III video game and  “Who We Are” is from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. These songs have been listened to and reviewed by a thousand other reviewers way before the album released, so we are not getting into them for now.

So there is goes. A full album review of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ by one of the most promising Rock bands of our time. The way they blend and flex music is proof to how talented they are and how innovative they are. There is no denying that they will go on to conquer Alternative Rock for the next few decades to come. Every award they win, is well deserved.

We would love to hear your opinion. Did you think ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ was a great album just like us? What do you think about the music composition of Imagine Dragons? Hooked yet?

2 thoughts on “Album Review of ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ by Imagine Dragons

  1. Overall, a decent album. The mood of every track changes from time to time and there’s always a change of pace from heavy rhythm to more of Reynolds’ progressive vocals. It’s a great step forward from the last album and they’ve done well to come up with something different and heavier for once. I’d give it an 8 or 9 out of 10 personally.

    1. Agree with you except for the ‘decent’ album part. I think it’s a great album. The changes in emotions from one song to the next is quite amazing. And those musical talents are beyond perfection. Thank you for the comment.

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