Evolve is the third studio album from the Las Vegas based Imagine Dragons since the release of Night Visions in 2012. Since then, Imagine Dragons’ popularity has skyrocketed, having their music feature in countless commercials and movie/videogame soundtracks
My wife and I were lucky enough to see the band play at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC back in 2012 as part of the Night Visions tour. It was an intimate show in a relatively small venue, and they were fantastic. Now we have tickets to see them again this November, however on this tour they are packing stadiums, not small bars.
We can only assume that the title, Evolve, is in reference to their change in style. The previous two albums could be considered Indie rock, however, Evolve has a much more R&B/ Hip Hop feel to it, relying more upon studio affects rather than raw musical talent.
The album has an interesting level of diversity to it, from poppy, auto tuned dance songs, to inspirational gospel-esque anthems, like Mouth of the River, track 8 on the album. It’s clear that the band spent a lot of time producing this album, however, at times it feels overly produced, throwing super high/low pitched vocals into the mix which simply doesn’t fit and feels very forced.
The first track of the album, I Don’t Know Why, begins with a high pitch, almost eerie, synth solo that’s reminiscent of 80’s New Wave as frontman Dan Reynolds shows off his powerful vocals, then the beat comes in and it starts sounding like a Justin Timberlake track.
The album does have some tracks that stay true to their original style, such as “Walking he Wire,” a love anthem about how navigating through the journey of love can feel like walking a thin line between love and loss.
If you’re looking for Wayne Sermon’s intense guitar solos, you’re out of luck. Only one or two tracks feature Wayne’s unique guitar skills beyond the simple rhythm of the song. Track 7, Yesterday, seems to be heavily influenced by the style of Queen or the Beatles, opening with the whole band singing together in harmony, and features one of the few guitar solos by Wayne on this album.
Overall it’s a great album that’s so diverse it has something for everyone on it. It’s definitely good to see a band take a chance with their style rather than sticking to the same, safe formula that made them popular. With such a wide variety of styles on Evolve, it will be interesting to see where Imagine Dragons takes their music next.
Here is their hit single from Evolve; Believer