Imagine Dragons have become one of the hottest acts in music since their emergence with "Radioactive." The Las Vegas-based group haven't slowed down since, churning out plenty of radio-friendly hits. But which ones are the best? We've looked at their entire catalog and narrowed it down to the cream of the crop. Here are the top ten songs that represent the best of Imagine Dragons:
10. "I'm So Sorry"
Has there been a more emphatic apology song than this? We don't think so. Maybe it's because of the trademark growl to lead singer Dan Reynolds' voice, but he really wants you to know how sorry he is. So much so that he practically howls the title of this song every time it comes up. That makes the track a top pick on vocal performance alone, even though you kind of want him to take a breath and relax a bit.
The deliberately slow-moving "Gold" was a sensation when it was released off Smoke + Mirrors. Cable channel FX used it in their TV promotional spots and that was just one of many places audiences heard it. You have to give it credit for being addicting. However, you also have to concede that it's very repetitive. The title of this song is also a huge portion of its lyrics, so while it was a commercial success, we're keeping it further down on this list because it shows very little of the band's creativity.
Once Imagine Dragons became popular, everyone wanted to feature them in their projects. "Warriors" was written to promote the 2014 world championship for the game League of Legends. It wants to be another "Radioactive" and it's not; maybe it's a baby version of that song. Yet that doesn't mean it's not still cool. It'll get you pumped up for your next League game or whatever competitive event you're about to do - so it accomplished its goal and it also stands on its own as a catchy single.
Speaking of tie-in songs, this one got lost for most Imagine Dragons fans because it was written specifically for a tie-in album to the movie "Iron Man 3," and iTunes made it "album only" on top of that. But if you actually bought the record, "Ready Aim Fire" was by far the best song on it. Stylistically, it was a step in a different direction for the band, slowing things down and being almost contemplative. In keeping with the theme, it also has some cool industrial sounds that pop in the background as you savor the song.
One of the things that Imagine Dragons doesn't do enough of is just chill. The band has come up with a handful of fantastic songs when they aren't running at full speed. "Every Night" is one of them. It's a song about coming home to the one you love and it's also the perfect song to play when you get home and want to relax. Reynolds has never sounded clearer or more at ease vocally than he does in this song.
After the massive success of "Radioactive" audiences wondered what the group would do for an encore. That turned out to be "I Bet My Life," which is sort of their hit single's spiritual cousin. It has just as much going on in it as "Radioactive" but unlike that song it's not trying to go for the jugular. This is more that song you play on a raucous night out (which is probably why it got used in a Las Vegas tourism commercial). It's another huge crowd-pleaser, but you won't be thinking about it too long afterward.
Here's the band's most undervalued song. "On Top of the World" might not sound like Imagine Dragons if you didn't recognize Reynolds' voice. It's totally different from anything else they've done instrumentally. That's why it's completely brilliant. It's a song that prompts the audience to live it up, and you can absolutely imagine the band playing it to celebrate their own success - it's like they invited us to a musical party in just over three minutes.
3. "It's Time"
"It's Time" is one of those songs you can recognize within 30 seconds of it starting. It has a distinct sound that makes it hard to forget. At the same time, it has a massive vocal hook in the chorus ("I'm never changing who I am"). Every aspect of this song works on its own and it also meshes with all the other components. "It's Time" proves that Imagine Dragons doesn't have to get aggressive to drive a point home with their audience.
"Demons" stands as the best demonstration of how creative Imagine Dragons can get both musically and lyrically. There are some great lines in the song and the progression of the music builds to a fantastic place on its own. Reynolds and his bandmates combine for some harmonies to top it all off. It may not be as cool as "Radioactive" but it's just as strong a sample of their work. If there's any complaint about this song, it's that there's not enough of it; at just under three minutes, it's one of their shortest songs.
Did you really expect anything else would top this list? "Radioactive" was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America. That's ten times Platinum. It enjoyed a minimum of Platinum status in a half-dozen other countries. Aside from being a massive commercial success, it's Imagine Dragons' calling card. This song was so fresh and so different that it told audiences exactly what the band was going to be about. They haven't topped it since, but that's just because it's almost too good.
Imagine Dragons are continuing to thunder along, preparing to release a live DVD of their Smoke + Mirrors Tour. They also performed at Farm Aid 30 in the fall. Currently, they have just one concert scheduled for Aug. 26 in Leeds, UK; tickets for that show are available here. But as in demand as they are, expect that they'll be storming US venues sometime in 2016. Fans can keep up with the latest news and information on Imagine Dragons at AXS.