A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Night Visions showcases Imagine Dragons' catchy but moody alt-pop/rock. It contains some dark themes (confusion, despair, loneliness, relationship problems), and the lyrics are occasionally a bit cryptic, but not annoyingly so, and they're profanity-free. The album's anthemic choruses and sometimes glossy pop veneer give it teen appeal. One song, "Radioactive," references an apocalypse, but it's quite vague, and the popular video for the song is strange and funny -- it depicts an illegal cockfighting pit, but the combatants, rather than being roosters, are various puppets. What that has to do with the song's lyrics isn't clear.
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What's the story?
Hailing from Las Vegas, Imagine Dragons has a big, keyboard-heavy alt-pop/rock sound that somewhat resembles fellow Vegas rockers the Killers, and to a lesser extent, popular arena bands such My Chemical Romance and Coldplay. Like those other bands, they have a knack for writing strong melodies and catchy choruses that are easy to sing along to. Night Visions is the group's first full-length album (after a couple of EPs) and it's very well-crafted, with a good blend of ballads and rock tunes. The first single from the album, "It's Time," was a Top 20 hit and also a hugely popular video, which was nominated for an MTV award. Lead singer Dan Reynolds is considered a heartthrob by many teenage girls. Night Visions made it to No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart.
Is it any good?
Although the band is not particularly original (they're not as charismatic nor as deep as the Killers, whom they occasionally sound like), they are fine players with a solid lead singer, Dan Reynolds. The production on the album (by Alex da Kid) uses electronics effectively to give the project a modern sheen, and it's easy to picture teens singing along with any number of the catchy choruses that are all over the album.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Imagine Dragons write songs about personal pain but try to put across an uplifting message about going through tough times.
How, if at all, do the popular videos for "It's Time" and "Radioactive" reflect the lyrics in each song?
Do Imagine Dragons remind you of other groups that you like? What sets them apart and makes them different?