Despite their wild success, Imagine Dragons are not a rock band


We all have opinions on pretty much everything, whether its music, art, food, politics; there will always be something to say.

9/10 times opinions tend to be subjective. While this can be a little on the annoying side from time to time, because people are idiots, I nevertheless view this as a good thing because no two people are the same and at the end of the day no two people will view one thing the same way.I think music is a fantastic example when it comes to this; you may personally love a new single by your favourite band whereas someone else will absolutely hate it and think that it’s utter garbage. And quite frankly they are entitled to think that it’s utter garbage, such is the beauty of human autonomy.

But where, pray tell, do we draw the line when it comes to opinions? Especially opinions that are borderline dumbass?

Now I’m not saying you’re a dumbass because you classify Imagine Dragons as a rock band, all I am saying is that you are a dumbass because you classify Imagine Dragons as a rock band.

Since their earliest releases, Imagine Dragon have been a predominantly pop act. Now,  I didn’t sit down and listen to their entire catalog and brush up on their history – I’m simply basing this off every song that has charted and been labelled as ‘rock’.

Stylistically, Imagine Dragons’ music has always been devoid of what makes a rock band a rock band. That’s not to say their music isn’t good or entertaining, it’s just not rock.
Whoever keeps placing them under the rock category needs to add JUICE WRLD to that category as well because honestly it’s the same difference (this discussion is not as BLACK and WHITE *cough cough* as it seems but it is one for another day, I digress)

A Forbes article was recently published about how Imagine Dragons are only the second rock act to reach a billion streams. You already know I was upset before actually reading the article because the headline had lumped them under the rock category but I nevertheless gave it a read out of sheer curiosity to find out who the other ‘rock’ act was.
Was it Led Zepplin, Queen, Motorhead, Metallica? Heck, was it Oasis even?! Those brothers are high-key cunts but sweet Lord, let it be them even.

Nope, it was Twenty One Pilots’ breakout single Stressed Out.
Twenty. One. Pilots.
Twenty One – fucking – Pilots!!!!

I was born in the nineties so there’s no way I’m that old, though my younger cousins will disagree, but what the fuck? Did I miss the memo of what makes rock, well, rock? Did I miss the memo that said ANY song with a guitar in it is a rock song?

So as it stands, the two most streamed rock songs in the history of Spotify are “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots and Thunder by Imagine Dragons – the latter being one the most nauseating pieces of music I have listened to in the recent years, and I pretty much love anything with 808s on it.

I acknowledge that music has grown, changed and evolved over the years. Genres have become blurred as time passes on and recently there have been many debates and opinions on why music genres do not matter in this day and age. As it stands, it’s quite difficult to label musicians into one neat little box and slap them with one simple tag as metal, or rock, or even pop. Difficult, but not impossible.

That being said, I would be incentivised to shut my mouth and accept the label of ‘pop-rock’ if that’s what they were categorised under.  If you look at the history of the genre and the music and content being produced by the band then they are the one and the same. I mean, that makes perfect sense.

Even in terms of song delivery, the drivel being shoved down our throats by Imagine Dragons and Co. fits perfectly within the spectrum of all things pop. Their  2017 single Thunder has one of the most pop hooks we’ve heard in a long time; its catchy, it’s easy to digest and it is very clearly geared towards the masses for commercial viability – and it has done remarkably well in regards to the commercial aspect.

When you Google the phrase ‘rock music’ the first results to pop up are Guns N’ Roses, King Crimson, Queen, Nirvana and the like. Literally speaking these are the first names that will shoot-up on your screen.
So how on God’s green earth did Twenty One Pilots and Imagine Dragons end up in this genre yet they sound nothing like their counterparts?

And here will come the arguments about innovation and experimentation, people will throw around phrases like “genre defying”. If Imagine Dragons are Twenty One Pilots are championing the rock genre then it is safe to say that the genre as a whole is in dire straits and it might be time for us all to come to terms with the fact that rock is dead. The mainstream ‘rock’ music produced and created in this day and age is the kind that is aimed at appeasing a mass of listeners that could not be bothered about genre anymore, and kudos to everyone that’s succeeding at that. Their pop-rock and EDM fusion has won over the hearts of many and they clearly have no intention of slowing down on their amazing success any time soon.

All I’m saying is please classify the next record under the right category of ‘EDM-POP-ROCK’, not rock.

By Djae Aroni

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