"Origins" is the fourth full length studio album by American rock band Imagine Dragons, released on November 9, 2018 by Kidinakorner, Polydor Records and Interscope Records.
Frontman Dan Reynolds has clearly been working out those pop writing muscles – he deals in songs that don’t try to trick the band’s young fanbase with pretentious metaphors. Most of his lyrics feel deeply personal, perhaps because they’re based on his own experiences or tackle issues he feels passionately about. “Zero” addresses deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy, imposter syndrome and anxiety: “Let me show you what it’s like to never feel/ Like I’m good enough for anything that’s real,” Reynolds sings.
He flirts with scientific terminology in a way that seems to refer directly to his Mormon upbringing, just as Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie subverts traditional religious iconography for his own messages: “Machine” and “Natural” are the album’s two big-hitters: stomping, stadium-filling anthems that scream defiance and are what most would brand “classic” Imagine Dragons.
But arguably the most impressive trait on Origins is its eclecticism. Along with the aforementioned pop-rock bangers, the album also takes in tender acoustic ballads like “West Coast”. The scattershot production of “Digital” and the Chainsmokers influence on “Only” feel like slight misfires, but the intricate instrumental textures and affecting falsetto of “Stuck” are a redeeming highlight.
Origins is further proof of Reynolds’ pop songwriting capabilities and also his ambition when it comes to pushing the messages that matter onto the charts. And there’s no doubting his sincerity. It’s a refreshing quality in a pop frontman.
Reviewed by Roisin O'Connor for independent.co.uk.