Imagine Dragons Plays It Safe in New Album
Evolve by musical heavyweight Imagine Dragons is a solid but safe endeavour. The melodic pop rock band retains their catchy and radio sensible sound, with Evolve coming out strong with a handful of solid tracks. However, the largely hip hop and pop infused music on the album lacks a good amount of explosiveness that we are used to from the band. Imagine Dragons still delivers something enjoyable, but Evolve could be so much more.
Evolve kicks off with “I Don’t Know Why,” an opening song that leans to more hip-hop inspirations than we may be used to with Imagine Dragons. Here, the album begins with an energetic and upbeat swagger that cements the anthemic direction that the band is hoping to take the album towards. We’re not too high on this particular song as an opening, but the band’s fiery energy is undeniably on display here.
“Whatever It Takes” is an attempt at continuing the anthemic hip hop energy of Evolve, which feels a little bit overly embellished as a track. The cut feels a tad overproduced, making for a listen that is a lot more difficult than we would like.
“Believer” is an explosive track that is a fan favourite, although surely not close to the genuine upbeat swagger we are used to from the band. While we love the explosive potential of “Believer,” its overall energy and composition feels a little bit too cheap and forced. There’s a lot about this opening album so far that we want to like, but the execution just has not been there so far.
The album seems to begin to hit its stride at track 4’s “Walking The Wire,” a memorable power ballad that finally shows the colours of Imagine Dragons that we are accustomed to. “Walking The Wire” is a passionate pop rock anthem that shows a definite growth for the band. Complete with an inspirational chorus and tight production, “Walking The Wire” has all the potential to be a massive fan favourite.
“Rise Up” continues the showcase of the band’s musical growth, with Imagine Dragons once again showing off their knack for creating emotional power ballads with inspirational choruses. So far in this stretch of Evolve, Imagine Dragons is absolutely in their element and more.
“I’ll Make It Up To You” has the feel of an indie pop rock track, which some listeners unfortunately may fine a bit too generic. The easygoing energy of the track is certainly easy to vibe to, but it does not really do too much to stand out.
In track 7’s “Yesterday,” Imagine Dragons sounds blissful, with the band sounding upbeat all throughout this cut. It feels a little too reliant on the track’s admittedly catchy chorus, but it’s a certain highlight for the record.
The band then puts together a modern, folksy feel into “Mouth Of The River,” which has a serene feeling to it. This track doesn’t progress from verse to chorus as well as we’d like, but its upbeat energy has an overall pleasant feel.
“Thunder” has a more quirky, hip hop vibe to it that audiences will like for its energy. However, the track still feels a tad overly produced, which may be off putting to some listeners.
Track 11’s “‘Start Over” has a surprising R&B feel to it that adds a pleasant breadth to this album. There’s a positive radio friendly vibe to this track that will ensure audiences will absolutely devour this feel-good track, with a chorus that channels some present day tropical house vibes. Imagine Dragons strikes gold with this track, and “Start Over” may very well be our pick for best track on the album.
The record ends with “Dancing In The Dark,” a chill R&B and hip-hop track that is a little repetitive, but ends the album on a relaxing note.
There’s a lot of solid moments on this record, complete with bursts of explosive personality and musical mastery. However, we are overall quite underwhelmed with Evolve, which doesn’t seem to possess the anthemic potential we would like it to. Tracks such as “Start Over” and “Walking The Wire” show off promise and are definite highlights on the album. But for a band that we know are capable of great things, we would like to see much more.