Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds Says “There’s a Lot of Conflict” on “Smoke + Mirrors”

Credit: Eliot Lee HazelAlmost three years after their breakthrough debut album, Night Visions, was released, Imagine Dragons is back with their much-anticipated sophomore release, Smoke + Mirrors. As frontman Dan Reynolds tells ABC News Radio, that time gave the band an opportunity to examine what their fame has brought them.

"Lyrically speaking, there's a lot of kind of conflict in the record," Reynolds says. "As the lyricist, I really was writing a lot about deciding what things were real in my life, what was false."

That time of reflection is expressed in the music of Smoke + Mirrors, too.

"I feel like we as a band did a lot of growth in those three years," drummer Daniel Platzman tells ABC News Radio. "We traveled the world playing music, getting to experience different crowds, getting to experience different cultures. We changed a lot as people, so I think that reflects itself in the music. At the same time, it's not a huge departure or anything, it still sounds like us. It's still authentic and comes from an honest place."

Smoke + Mirrors does certainly still sound like Imagine Dragons -- lead single "I Bet My Life" demonstrates that the band hasn't lost its penchant for writing big, sweeping choruses -- but Reynolds says there's a few tracks that may surprise old fans.

"I think 'Friction' maybe is the heaviest we've ever gone as a band,  and kind of, like, dove into a heavier side. 'I'm So Sorry' is probably the most guitar-heavy track that we've ever done," he says. "But then there's 'Hopeless Opus,' which is a total different thing that we've never really dove into. It's kind of this very strange, quirky song, but somehow it feels like us still. So those three probably stand out to me."

With Smoke + Mirrors, Imagine Dragons also has a chance to add to the huge number of fans they gained with Night Visions. Reynolds hopes that new Imagine Dragon listeners can take Smoke + Mirrors at face value.

"The worst thing that you could do I think when you're listening to music is be in this mode of comparison, where you're listening and trying to compare it to other things instead of just focusing on the music for what it is," he says. "I just hope people listen to it for what it is and and that they realize that as artists, it's real for us. Love it or hate it, that's what Imagine Dragons is." 

Imagine Dragons will be launching a 39-city tour in support of Smoke + Mirrors in June. Tickets are available at

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