Saturday, April 1, 2023

Imagine Dragons’ "Believer"

Alternative rock quartet Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” is one of those songs that immediately locks into your consciousness and doesn't let go. This indelible track is an earworm of the first order. Its unique musical arrangement distinguished it from the other top-10 hits released in 2017. It’s anchored by a dynamic 12/8 beat, which is complemented by an elegant guitar part. And the incredible chorus gives the song its anthemic power. Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds delivers a strong and impassioned vocal performance. He even raps on one part, serving up his verses in a staccato, rapid-fire fashion. 

The song addresses Reynolds’ near lifelong battle with depression and his later struggles with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritic disease that he was diagnosed with in 2012. He discussed the song’s meaning in a 2017 interview with People magazine: “The song is about how pain made me a believer,” he said. “It’s made me a believer in myself, it’s made me a believer in my art and work. I wouldn’t have my art if it wasn’t for pain.” 

The writers credited on “Believer” are Reynolds, Justin Tranter, Robin Fredriksson, Mattias Larsson and the other three members of Imagine Dragons: Wayne Sermon ( guitar, backing vocals), Ben McKee (bass, backing vocals) and Daniel Platzman (drums/percussion, backing vocals). It was the first single from the band’s 3x platinum-selling album Evolve, released on June 23, 2017 on Interscope Records. The song peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and topped Billboard’s Rock Airplay, Adult Top 40 and Hot Rock & Alternative Songs charts. It reigned atop the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart for 29 weeks. 

The song also enjoyed major chart action in other parts of the world. It landed in the top 10 in 12 other countries, including the top spot in Canada. It was the fifth best-selling song in the U.S. in 2017, selling 1,598,000 copies that year. And it’s one of the best-selling songs of all time, boasting sales of more than 30 million copies worldwide. Also, it currently has 2.4 billion streams on Spotify. 

“Believer" was used in the season finale for the first season of the popular CW series Riverdale; the finale originally aired on May 11, 2017. It has also turned up in a number of advertisements, most notably on the Nintendo Switch Super Bowl LI commercial. Additionally, the song has been featured in several movie and TV trailers, including the trailer for the 2017 film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous detective novel Murder on the Orient Express, which boasts a star-studded cast. 

The official music video for "Believer" was directed by Matt Eastin and features Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, Universal Soldier, Creed II), who’s depicted as a boxer engaged in a boxing match with Reynolds. It currently has 2.4 billion views on Youtube and 20 million likes. 

In early 2019, the band released another version of the song that featured rap superstar Lil Wayne, who serves up some blazing bars.

“Believer” has been sampled on nine songs, and it has been covered by numerous bands and artists. Some of the noteworthy covers of the song include Alex Boyé’s epic cover featuring Southern Virginia University Allstars, J.Fla’s exquisite rendition, and One Voice Children’s Choir's brilliant take on the song.

The official music video for "Believer"

Imagine Dragons performing "Believer" at the 2017 Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, Netherlands

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