Imagine Dragons’ single, “I Bet My Life” has been getting a considerable amount of attention recently. It was the music behind Jeep’s holiday 2014 commercial and has been showcased as the lead single from their album, Smoke + Mirrors. Since it follows “Radioactive,” the song that seemed to be literally everywhere after it came out (every high school sports team’s warm-up song, every pre-game, every radio station), the success of “I Bet My Life” is crucial for the performance of their second studio album.
There’s no doubt that Imagine Dragons are talented musicians who create very powerful music. However, it may be getting a little too forceful. “Radioactive,” while successful, was just overbearingly loud. “I Bet My Life” follows a similar suit. The verses deserve applause — they harness a very cool, creationist, something-out-of-nothing feel with a gripping percussive section and meshes nicely with Dan Reynolds’ vocals. While the chorus is chock-full of melodic layers, they get lost in each other, perhaps because of how noisy it becomes. For example, the second half of the line, “So I, I bet my life / I bet my life on you,” has a very interesting syncopation that gets lost unless it’s listened to in quiet surroundings. Things like this are gems the song obtains but isn’t recognized for, which is a shame. While Reynolds pours an incredible amount of emotion into his lyrics in both “I Bet My Life” and “Radioactive,” the final product feels as if he’s yelling at you. In typical fashion, it seems as if the guitar, drums, and bass are also yelling at you.
Giving credit where it’s due, however, it appears as though Imagine Dragons has created the perfect set closer for a live show. The amount of power “I Bet My Life” harnesses would be an incredible spectacle live, but for now, the volume level when listening to this song can’t surpass 30% in fear of a chronic, Imagine Dragons-induced headache.