Monday, June 25, 2012

Album Review: Continued Silence

Continued Silence is the major-label debut EP from alternative band Imagine Dragons and their fourth EP overall. The lone single from the EP is "It's Time", which has received moderate success on alternative radio and gained some fame after being featured in the trailer for "The Perks of Being a Wallflower".

1. Radioactive
The leading track of Continued Silence is "Radioactive". The track's lyrics are about a nuclear disaster, especially seen by the line "This is it, the apocalypse". The track itself contains mostly alternative rock elements with a hint of dubstep, most noticeably in the verses. It starts with just guitar and vocal "ooh"s before the dubstep bass kicks in and the verse starts. A common element between many songs on the EP is large, booming choruses, almost arena rock-style, and "Radioactive"'s chorus definitely fits that bill. The dubstep fits well in this song, and this is the only song to feature that kind of bass. The chorus will have you singing "Welcome to the new age" by the third time through. Overall, "Radioactive" is a great song and one of the best on the EP.
Rating: 4.5/5

2. Demons
"Demons" is a slow song, almost a ballad. Alternative rock elements are abundant here, and they walk on the line to indie rock. The lead singer's vocals here are a little reminiscent of Needtobreathe, and depending on the interpretation of the lyrics, it can be seen as almost christian rock with mentions of saints and sinners and the line "This is my kingdom come". It's almost a love song too, with the story about the man wanting to shelter his love from his inner demons: "When you feel my heat/Look into my eyes/It's where my demons hide". If I ever get around to uploading music to this blog, "Demons" will be on the list for sure. I really love this song's vocal passages and beats, and I especially like the buildup into the last chorus on "I can't escape this now/Unless you show me how". My only complaint about this song is that it is too short at only 2:56.
Rating: 5/5

3. On Top of the World
From the emotional "Demons", we go to the feel-good "On Top of the World". This song has a more pop-rock feel, especially its chanted "I'm on top of the world, hey" chorus. The verses have a quality I can't quite put my finger on; it's kind of like Train but not quite...? I'm not sure, but I know that "On Top of the World" might get good airplay on the radio. It's the most chill song on the EP, driven by acoustic guitars most of the way through. The chorus is the highlight here, as its group-sang lyrics seem to capture teenage bliss of feeling like you're, well, on top of the world. I like this song, but it seems to lack diversity as the chorus is repeated often; however, with its catchiness, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Rating: 4/5

4. Round and Round
"Round and Round" is the closest to hip-hop that Continued Silence gets. The verses have quick words that are somewhat similar to sung hip-hop. Acoustic guitars are here again, but the drums are what really keep this song moving. The chorus starts of with a bang, being led into by the line "You don't have to hold your head up" before breaking into a heavy chord. Like many songs on the EP, "Round and Round" feels kind of short, clocking in at 3:18. Personally, I find the song to be kind of weak. There's a distortion effect on the chorus vocals that makes the song sound kind of low quality, even though it's full 256 kbps from iTunes. I'd say that "Round and Round" is one of my least favorite songs from Continued Silence.
Rating: 2.5/5

5. It's Time
"It's Time" is the lone single from Continued Silence, and it's easy to see why. From the starting stomp-clap rhythm and acoustic guitar riff, the song starts off sounding like indie-pop. "It's Time" is also the longest song at 3:59. The choruses are pretty catchy too, sounding kind of like Coldplay or U2. While it's not my favorite song, in this radio era of indie artists like Fun., Gotye, and Foster the People getting mainstream attention, it's a wonder that Imagine Dragons hasn't been added to that list with "It's Time". While it did receive moderate success on alternative radio, I think that this song could maybe even get success on pop radio too. Like I said, "It's Time" isn't my favorite song from Continues Silence, but it's a very good pop song nonetheless.
EDIT: After looking at the charts, "It's Time" is currently #10 on the Rock Charts, #4 on the Alternative Charts, and #92 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rating: 4/5

6. My Fault
The final song on the EP is "My Fault". The drums drive this song, similar to "Round and Round". For a final song, this is a pretty good one. It has an emotional feel to it, similar to "Demons", but "My Fault" is about the sadness felt in separation: "Is it my fault/We've been missing each other". The chorus is very booming and has a half-time feel. Like practically every song on the EP, the chorus is group-sang and lends itself well to arena chants. With the repeated lyric mentioned above, compounded by background "oh"s, the chorus is possibly the most emotionally gripping of the album. Overall, the chorus makes "My Fault" one of the better songs on the album, but suffers from the same shortness as "Demons".
Rating: 4/5

My overall impression of Continued Silence was very good. Nearly every song will be staying on my iPod, with possibly the exception of "Round and Round". With heavy arena rock choruses similar to Coldplay or U2, and vocal styling similar to Needtobreathe, Imagine Dragons make a big splash with their major label debut EP. My favorite song is "Demons", with "Radioactive" coming in close behind. Since it is just an EP and not a full-length album, there are only six songs here. However, this small taste of Imagine Dragons left me hungry for more. If it was a full album of this quality, this would receive a 9 or higher, but the shortness forces me to lower the rating just a hair. Their first full-length album, Night Visions, will be released on September 4, 2012 (conveniently three days after my birthday).
Overall Rating: 8.5/10

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