sun 07/08/2022

Album: Imagine Dragons - Mercury - Act 2 | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Imagine Dragons - Mercury - Act 2

Album: Imagine Dragons - Mercury - Act 2

The Vegas pop-rockers start brightly, but soon fade on their overlong sequel

"No, honestly, it was THIS big!"

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” That’s the rule, right? Unless, of course, what happens is that you form a pop-rock act with a remarkable ear for a route-one hook and a direct line to the emotional core of teenagers everywhere. In that case, you definitely don’t stay in Vegas.

You take the world by storm while leaving critics largely scratching their heads and saying, “I don’t get it”.

Mercury – Act 2, the follow up to last year’s Mercury – Act 1 (and released, confusingly, in a two-disc set with its older sibling), won’t change any of that for frontman Dan Reynolds and co. Fans will love it, critics will pan it and this weighty collection of 18 songs gives ample evidence to support both positions.

Early witnesses for the defence, singles “Bones” and “Sharks” are, to be fair, smartly dressed and a lot of fun. It feels a little like we’ve been regifted the best of the Backstreet Boys, but the clichés have been repackaged with enough chutzpah that they get by on character alone. Someone else’s character perhaps, but character nonetheless.

Reynold’s lyrics have often come in for a hammering in the past, and his tendency to present the prosaic as poetry remains intact throughout. “There are times when I don’t like myself/I believe all the things that they say about me”, he sings on “I Don’t Like Myself”, showing the emotional vulnerability of a 15-year-old diarist, and the vocabulary to match. That might sound like a criticism, but it really isn’t. There’s much to be said in favour of plain speaking, and if your audience is primarily shouty, introspective teens then why would you write any other way? If you’ve got a crowd, talk to them, not at them.

In fact, it’s when things get grown up that they go wrong. The downbeat moments fare less well, and Mercury – Act 2 is absolutely stuffed full of them. Whether it’s the lifeless, humdrum folk of “Crushed” and “Ferris Wheel”, the thin-as-a-rizla balladeering of “Tied”, or “Younger”, a love letter to lost youth that might be more affecting if it didn’t sound like One Direction with a charisma bypass, the energy levels drop sharply early on and never recover. Not even the appearance Snarky Puppy alumni Cory Henry (on penultimate track “Continual”) can liven up proceedings.

Put simply, Mercury – Act 2 gets a bit boring as it goes on.

And it really does go on.

@jahshabby

The clichés are repackaged with enough chutzpah to get by on character alone. Someone else’s character perhaps, but character nonetheless

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Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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