The Imagine Dragons Hullabaloo
“The path through heaven runs through miles of clouded hell.”
I’m definitely putting that on my gravestone.
It is so rare for me to instantly like a rock band and continue to like them even after the second or third album. I first became aware of Imagine Dragons’ existence while watching the 2013 American Music Awards. I’ve been obsessed with K-POP for some time before that and I was trying my best to “detoxify”. So I thought I should watch a music awards show and familiarize myself with other types of music. Right at the start of the show, there had been a lot of talks and spazzing about this band called “Imagine Dragons”, which, I thought was a ridiculous name for a so-called rock band. I wasn’t that interested so I just ignored them and watched the show nonchalantly. I just didn't want to ride the bandwagon and pretend to like a band just because I can bob my head to one or two of their songs. That is so not me. Their much-awaited performance came and they sang their rock hit “Radioactive” in front of hundreds of screaming fans.
That performance just blew me away.
From the moment Dan Reynolds sang the first few lines, with his powerful and raw voice, I was sold. It was crazy how I started to like them – just like that! The song was the epitome of a rock song, with its heavy drum beats and scorching guitar riffs. The ‘climax’ of the performance just left me speechless. One minute they were minding their own instruments and then the next they were all banging on those huge drums on stage. I was totally awestruck! It was just total chaos on stage. Dan Reynolds was all over the place! It was the kind of performance that would leave you completely satisfied and yet, wanting more.
Since then, the group, consisting of Dan Reynolds on vocals, Wayne Sermon on guitar, Ben McKee on bass and Daniel Platzman on drums, has skyrocketed to fame. They have won awards left and right and their performances and concerts were consistently sold out. With two American Music Awards for Favorite Alternative Artist, five Billboard Music Awards and a World Music Award under their belt, the fact that they have won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance catapulted the band’s name all the way up into the stratosphere. Needless to say, Billboard naming them “The Breakthrough Band of 2013” and recognizing their talent with a “Milestone Award”, goes to show that they are indeed the hottest rock band on the face of the earth now.
During the 2014 American Music Awards, where they won the Favorite Alternative Artist, for the second year in a row, Dan Reynolds’s short, heartfelt speech spoke volumes. He said, “To be a musician… there is no better career. We are so lucky. We don’t take a day for granted.”
I just like how down-to-earth and grounded they are despite their success and everything that comes along with it. Whenever I watch their interviews, I see these four normal and awkward guys fooling around and making jokes like there was no camera in front of them. After their incredibly explosive (and heavily stained) performance, featuring Kendrick Lamar, at the 56th Grammy Awards, they were interviewed and Dan Reynolds seemed to have lost his ability to construct proper and clear sentences.
“It’s been really surreal. We’ve been a band for five years, you know. So this last year is obviously really been a different thing for us… rather than playing in small clubs. We feel very grateful, very humble. There’s so many great bands that are not here tonight, that we know are out working the road, that deserved to be here. To win a Grammy amongst legends, I think it’s a little… we feel, like, happy and we’re grateful for it. But at the same time, we’re like, these guys are legends and deserved it. It’s just been weird, exciting… strange.”
He was rambling on and on, with his head down, and his face and all-white outfit splashed with crimson. His band mates came to the rescue and started awkwardly joking about how the ‘red stain’ made them look and feel.
“The only concern we really have is that this stuff stains really bad. We’ve done a bunch of rehearsal and it’s always like, stains. We looked like wackos for the past three days,” said guitarist Wayne.
“Well, we look like wackos usually… so…” Dan added.
“We look like wackos, but then we look like red and gray wackos,” drummer Daniel Platzman piped in.
“ We’re trying to make a decision right now, do we shower before the after parties or do we just go and rock it,” Ben the bassist shared with a nervous laugh.
It’s not every day that I come across a band as precious and humble as Imagine Dragons. There are so many so-called rock bands out there and they all have been surrounded by the media hype and millions of fans clamoring for more hits to bang their heads to. What makes Imagine Dragons stand out, in my heavily biased opinion, is the heart and story in every song. It’s not just the melody, the rhythm or the lyrics; it’s the song itself. Listening to every song in their album helps me escape reality for a moment and create this alternative universe in my head; a world where I fight my "Demons", take a trip to “Amsterdam”, feel like I’m “On Top Of The World”, try to “Tiptoe” higher and let everyone “Hear Me”. And slay dragons, of course. Yes, pun definitely intended.
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