The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Imagine Dragons dive into the darkness with brave new album
The new Imagine Dragons album cover depicts a man falling through space, gravity gently pulling him down. Inside is the sound of a man grappling with his own fall.
Lead singer, songwriter and lyricist Dan Reynolds has poured heartache, tragedy and his struggles with sobriety into the raw, confessional and searing “Mercury — Act 1,” a brave album from a band refusing to retreat into past hits.
The 13-track collection uses Reynolds’ falsetto to great effect to explore different sonic landscapes, and his lyrics ache with a portrait of a man who has lost friends to cancer, had his personal life collapse and battled depression and addiction.
The album was written over a threeyear period and much happened in Reynolds’ life. He separated from wife Aja Volkman, but the couple reunited in late 2018 after a seven-month break and welcomed a fourth child, son Valentine, the next fall. He lost loved ones to cancer, including his business manager, an exgirlfriend and his sister-in-law, which inspired “Wrecked.”
For all its anguish, “Mercury — Act 1” ends with two upbeat songs, the tropicaltinged “No Time for Toxic People” and the Hawaiian-flavored “One Day,” with the hopeful lyric: “I know that one day/ I’ll be that thing that makes you happy.” It evokes perfect waves and sun through the clouds.