Imagine Dragons Strip Down Their Hits For iHeartRadio Album Release Party
By Hayden Brooks
September 9, 2021
During the 60-minute show, which was available to stream on LiveXLive, LiveXLive.com or the LiveXLive app, Dan Reynolds, Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, Daniel Platzman, as well as a backing musician on piano keys, Elliot Schwartzman, sat down on stage and zipped through a number of stripped back versions of tracks from their new album, including Reynolds' ode to his wife, Aja Volkman, "Follow You," "My Life," "Wrecked" and set's closing track, "One Day." However, the quintet started things off with an acoustic rendition of a song that the entire audience has known for years: "Believer."
When speaking of the follow-up to 2018's Origins, Reynolds said that the just-released 13-track collection is full of moments of highs and lows. "We wanted this record to make you smile. That was our goal with it. It’s not always a happy record, but there’s moments of happiness, right? That’s how life is," he told iHeartRadio's Booker in front of the live (and virtual) audience. "You can’t feel the happiness unless you feel the sadness."
As the show went on and fans were treated to stripped versions of their hits, Booker asked if most of their songs are created from that place of simplicity. Reynolds pointed out that part of the development of his catalog is based on his love for big songs. "I'm a child of the 90s. I listened to a lot of hip-hop and I listened to a lot of the grand ballads of the '90s by these powerful women," he said, detaling his love for massive songs. "If you really listened to the ‘90s, they were really ruled by powerful women singing these angsty songs."
When it comes down to the production of the new album, courtesy of Rick Rubin, Sermon said that the music big-wig has a special way of connecting with the music. "He has big, giant ears is what you’d say. It's like when someone can just listen and has great ideas," he described. "He’s not really like a musician. He doesn’t know what chords are. He doesn’t know the difference between a G or an F. He’s not that kind of producer. He just listens to a song and knows instantly if it’s a timeless song or not."
The LP also features a track called "Easy Come Easy Go," a tribute to the friends that Reynolds left in his past. Prior to the performance of the track, the frontman recalled the backstory behind the cut. “This song is about reconnecting in that way," he explained. "I actually had [my friend] over to my house to listen to this song before we released the record. I didn’t even tell him what it was about. He just sat down in the chair and I said, ‘I want you to hear this song.’ We both had a good little emotional moment together. It’s cool. Music can heal in a lot of ways.”
Elsewhere during their performance, Imagine Dragons offered the audience another new cut called "It's Ok," but an Imagine Dragons show wouldn’t be complete without smashes like "Radioactive" and "It's Time," and they pushed that familiarity when they ended their iHeartRadio Album Release Party with 2017’s "Whatever It Takes."
Ahead of the intimate performance, the four-some announced an upcoming tour in support of the album. The venture will kick off on February 6 in Miami, Florida and make its way across the country until March 14 when it concludes in Phoenix, Arizona. Additional dates are set to be announced for the trek.
Imagine Dragons performs My Life
Imagine Dragons performs It's OK
Imagine Dragons performs One Day