Imagine Dragons: “Radioactive” 2013

I am sensing a really positive trend in pop music. This is different from the “let’s party like we’re gonna die young” theme. That’s not a positive theme; it’s destructive. In fact, the same theme pervades Medieval poetry. It’s the the “get with me now because we’re probably all going to die of the plague” theme. It’s fatalistic and hopeless. There is no tomorrow in those songs, even though they sound happy. In contrast, this song and others like it paint a different picture:

 Imagine Dragons: “Radioactive”

 I’m waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I’m breathing in the chemicals
I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus

 This is it, the apocalypse
I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age; welcome to the new age

I’m Radioactive, radioactive.

 I raise my flags, don my clothes
It’s a revolution, I suppose
We’re painted red to fit right in

I’m breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus

This is it, the apocalypse
I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age

I’m Radioactive, radioactive.

 All systems go, the sun hasn’t died

Deep in my bones, straight from inside

I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
I’m Radioactive, radioactive.

 These lyrics begin where the other “let’s die young” songs end, the apocalypse, but this song ends with hope: defiance of the ravaged world.

The beginning suggests a future in which the worst has happened, “sweat my rust / breathe chemicals” paints a very Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome sort of image. The corrosion and corruption of modern life has totally pervaded the singer’s body.

Later, however, hope emerges in the face of this industrial-era plague. “I’m waking up…I feel it in my bones…all systems go…the sun hasn’t died.” These lyrics suggest volition and hope.

First, the singer is “awake” that is, aware, suggesting thought and potential action. Second, the lyric “all systems go” evokes a rocket launch, the cutting edge of our engineering know how and a voyage into humankind’s latest frontier. Last, “the sun hasn’t died” suggests that, despite the fact that the earth may be ravaged, the sun is still shining. If the sun had died, there would be no hope, no life. Its mere existence inspires the singer that new life may be possible. 

Here is a link to the song. Listen and drink deep:

 

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One thought on “Imagine Dragons: “Radioactive” 2013

  1. Pingback: In Case of SurvivalRadioactive by Imagine Dragons [video] | In Case of Survival

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