Imagine Dragons & Me

People express love in a lot of different ways. For example, my dog Lucy makes a lot of noises and knocks you over. My grandma serves two pieces of delicious homemade tiramisu at a time instead of one. My cat Batman pees on your clothes.

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Wait, no, he’s just a dick.

I, however, express my love by incessant weeping. Not for all things, of course, I’m not pathetic, but I do cry a lot over bands. I think we’ve covered this. Specifically, I cry over Imagine Dragons because I just really really love them, so I’m going to dedicate a blog to them, which will probably involve some tears as I write it.

For me to truly express what Imagine Dragons means to me, it would require me to bare my soul to the masses (read: 3-12 people who will read this) and finish a piece of writing I’ve been working on for like a year. None of that feels entirely appropriate for the tone of this blog, so instead I will remain appropriately superficial so you don’t leave this page feeling like you know way more about me than either you or I want.

I have found that one of the most telling ways to characterize your relationship with a band is to chronicle the moments in your life you can tie definitively to a specific song. Of course, I have some disorganized semblance of this list in my head, but I want to put it down for my own sake (and Dan Reynolds’ in case he ever gets around to reading this.)

When I hear Bleeding Out, I see round edges of tiny plane windows and grey walls of airports and airplanes. I downloaded Night Visions only days before I left for a month long exchange to Germany, so the entire album tends to bring back those memories. Bleeding Out however, was and still is my favorite song of theirs, so I may or may not have listened to it on repeat for the majority of an eight-hour flight across the Atlantic and it may or may not have defined the entire month of June for me.

I first heard Monster on Schiltz Day, back when I spent every Wednesday at the Schiltz household because that’s what you do when you adopt another family. This particular Schiltz Day was pumpkin carving day, which is a far more impressive feat in this household than most, if not all, others because somehow every member of this family has a genetic trait of pumpkin carving excellence. I can’t claim to be on their level, but I did learn from them and listened to Monster on repeat while I prepared to cut Edgar Allan Poe’s face into a poe-mpkin.

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I am absolutely not sorry.

In addition to bringing back the most important art lesson I’ve absorbed (and I go to art school), Monster was the official pump-up jam of one act 2013. As in, I and one other person listened to it before every performance except for state because we straight up forgot. So that one four minute song ended up dominating an entire season in my life, because I love synth, percussion, and angst all rolled into a catchy tune.

The demo version of 30 Lives has none of the synth and only a fraction of the percussion, but the angst was all there in a heartbreakingly beautiful ballad test-run. I found this one online somewhere between dropping my phone in a sink and flying to D.C. with the Omaha Symphonic Chorus, so I listened to it in the hotel on some second generation iPod nano someone in the house used to have, and that’s where it always puts me. I can’t help but feel that it’s kind of fitting for me to tie this bare-boned prototype to what essentially ended up being a prototype for the iPhone. It may be innocuous, and it’s certainly not the most memorable part of that trip (they let me into Madame Tussaud’s for free), but it’s a time and place that Imagine Dragons locked up with one of their songs.

Eventually, Imagine Dragons released their second album, Smoke + Mirrors and set me up for a whole new setlist of songs to frame my life with. If I spend too much time talking about I Bet My Life, I really will start sobbing and I’ll wake everyone up and have to explain why I’m weeping at my computer at 11:30 PM so all I’m going to say is I love my mom a lot and I think of her every time I listen to it.

Before they released Smoke + Mirrors, Imagine Dragons put out a single featured in Transformers 3 called Battle Cry. This song ended up being the opening track for the score of Der Berliner Metzger, a film that some have described as the greatest German horror cult classic filmed in western Omaha.

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Also the only one.

So what was, I’m assuming, an adrenaline-pumping score to contribute to the wild ride that is Transformers became instead the intro to a really campy school project, and that’s what I will forever associate it with.

Roots was released only a few weeks before I set off for Georgia to start college, which you may recall is the state I was born in, so I was literally going back to my roots. That’s pretty neat. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Roots just started playing on shuffle as I was trying to figure out a transition into my next paragraph. It didn’t give me any ideas, it was just great timing.

As I said before, I could pour out my entire soul in an open love letter to Imagine Dragons, but literally no one wants that. Instead, I’ll end here, thankful to have shared these memories with you and hopeful to make many more as this band continues to make music and change lives.

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