After a handful of teasers since 2016, Grammy-award-winning pop rockers Imagine Dragons have finally unveiled their third album, Evolve.
I Don’t Know Why kicks things off with a hypnotic synth line that repeats throughout, before kicking into a Kanye-esque swing beat, allowing for frontman Dan Reynolds to deliver the earworm chorus “Dangerous, your love is always dangerous” in his smooth soulful tone. It’s a strong starting point, and perfect lead-up to Whatever It Takes, which really showcases Reynolds’ knack for a good melody. Again, the chorus is strong, and it’s not hard to imagine this song being blasted out at Dragonland Festival, if that and they (hopefully) come back to Hong Kong.
Believer verges on melodic rap, while relying on big metallic beats and handclaps that really propel the song forward. Reynolds hits another massive hook with the falsetto refrain “You burn me up, believer”, proving why they are such a global hit.
Despite the strong start, Evolve then becomes a bit of a mixed bag. Walking The Wire is a bloated rip-off of Fun’s anthem We Are Young, and the nice Bon Iver-style nuances in Rise Up don’t prevent it from sounding incredibly dated. Yesterday is initially interesting with jarring piano chords, Queen-like harmonies and playful dynamics, but it becomes pretty repetitive and stale. The “look at me now” themed lyrics of Thunder have been done a thousand times before, while the dub instrumental only adds to its generic demeanour.
Things improve again on the final stretch: I’ll Make It Up To You and Start Over both channel the same 80s electro pop sound without feeling forced, and the instrumentally minimal glitch beats of Dancing In The Dark bring the album to a fittingly sombre and dulcet close.
Evolve might not be a complete evolution for the guys, but Imagine Dragons are still bringing big songs to the table.