Imagine Dragons are one of the most successful bands to break into mainstream music since 2010, thanks in large part to their imaginative—see what I did there?—blend of rock, electro, and pop music that accompanies their upbeat lyrics. It is impossible to not have heard of them, with their tracks canvassing every medium from television commercials to sporting events.
Since their big break, they have become one of the best-selling groups of all time, with over 75 million worldwide record sales, and one of the most-streamed artists in history. Here are the 15 best Imagine Dragons songs:
Radioactive takes the top spot because it was the song that turned Imagine Dragons into the hit sensation they are today. The track mixes dubstep, rock, electronic music, and pop elements together to create one of the biggest sleeper hits of all time. It saw ridiculous numbers of plays in commercials and trailers, sending it skyrocketing up to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and making it their first Top 10 single.
It also had the slowest rise in history to the top five ever, spending 87 weeks in total on the Hot 100. In the US, it received a diamond certification and became one of the best-selling singles of all time. It also earned two Grammy nominations, winning Best Rock Performance that year.
Thunder became Imagine Dragons’ fourth single to make it into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number four in 2017. On Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart, it held the top spot for a jaw-dropping 21 weeks. They use YouTube for the promotion of their tracks, and as of 2021, this had received over 1.7 billion views on the platform.
The track uses a simple, one-word hook synonymous with the song title, but it’s really a catchy gem of a pop track in rock clothing. It did extremely well internationally, standing as one of the best-selling songs of 2017 with over a million copies sold that year.
Believer was the lead single of Imagine Dragon’s 2017 album Evolve, the same album that Thunder came from. This was their third single to reach the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The CW show Riverdale used the song on the season finale of the show’s first season and alongside its heavy usage in ads—like the Nintendo Switch Super Bowl one—it gave this track a huge popularity boost.
It’s easily one of the best-selling singles of all time and has amassed well over two billion streams on Spotify. Two years after its original release, a second mix was released featuring the hip hop artist Lil Wayne, and in 2022, a Halloween mix was released on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
4. It’s Time
While Radioactive was the song that tipped the scales and turned Imagine Dragons into a worldwide sensation, It’s Time was the first single released from their debut studio album, Night Visions. Though it appeared as a studio release, it was first released on an EP from the band in 2011.
This song wasn’t unsuccessful by any means, despite it not being as well known as some of their other tracks today. It made it to number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and had the longest run ever—32 weeks—in the Top 10 of the Alternative Songs chart. You can find the first upload of the track to YouTube dating back to 2010, but the official release didn’t come until 2012.
5. Whatever It Takes
Looking at Imagine Dragons’ 2017 Evolve album, pretty much all of the single releases ended up being major hits. Whatever It Takes gained major promotion with its inclusion in the video game Madden 18, and its use as the official theme song for the WWE’s PPV event, Battleground.
It’s a high-energy track, and though I know most of their songs are high-energy, this fits into the sports world ridiculously well and serves as the perfect background music for a highlight reel. It also shows how easily they adapted their sound to embrace hip hop and electronic music to bring their music to even broader audiences than they ever believed possible. In 2018, this peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
6. Walking The Wire
Walking The Wire was described as one of Imagine Dragons’ most pleasing pop anthems and an incredibly enjoyable track that followed in the footsteps of 80s pop music. Funnily enough, the song was accidentally released a day early on YouTube and Vevo, but that was taken down fairly quickly.
The track was released as the third promotional single to come from their Evolve album and was released to digital distributors a week before the release of the album. It was also made available on the band’s website as a free bonus that came with any purchase, which helped get the track—and coverage for the album—out there. It did well on both the US Hot Rock and Alternative Songs Chart and Bubbling Under Hot 100, reaching the sixth and fifth positions on those charts respectively.
Enemy is one of Imagine Dragons’ relatively new songs, a collaboration with rapper J.I.D that was meant for the animated streaming television series, Arcane. The band would go on to include it on their fifth studio album, Mercury – Act 1, and it became their first track to reach the top five of the Hot 100 since Thunder.
Incidentally, it was also J.I.D’s first song to break into the top five in the US as well. Imagine Dragons recorded a track in 2014 for the League of Legends World Championship titled Warrior, so when the game was made into an animated series on Netflix, it was a natural fit for them to produce a song for the show. The music video for the track features the League of Legends character Jinx and depicts a falling out between her and her sister, Vi.
Demons was the third US single released from Imagine Dragons’ debut album, Night Visions, back in 2013. After the success of Radioactive, this became their second Top 10 hit, spending 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying on that chart for 61 weeks in total. Over four million copies sold in the US within the first two years of the track’s release, becoming the eighth-most-downloaded song in the history of rock music. Perhaps, the biggest accolade of the track was taking home the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Award for Alternative Rock Song of the Year.
It’s one of the band’s many tracks you’ve probably heard plenty of times, being a popular song for singing contest television shows and on the radio. The theme of the song is that under the surface, you never know what someone is dealing with, with many people dealing with the demons of depression and not showing it outwardly.
Imagine Dragons’ Shots is not the lively, club-centric, party anthem that features a screaming Lil Jon, but is rather a self-loathing apology from band member Dan Reynolds. It was the third and final single release to come from their 2015 studio album, Smoke + Mirrors, and was premiered on the first-ever live TV commercial for Target during the 2015 Grammy Awards.
The song was then further promoted on several television programs including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Today. In the US, it wasn’t nearly as commercially successful as other tracks on this list, reaching only number 75 on the Hot 100, but still did exceptionally well in European markets.
Natural would serve as the lead single from Imagine Dragons’ fourth studio album, Origins, in 2018. Shortly after its release, ESPN chose the track as the official anthem of the 2018 College Football season, the second time an Imagine Dragons song served in that role—with Roots being the first in 2015.
The entire point of the track was to create an inspiring pop-rock song that played well in stadiums, helping it not only be used by ESPN but find a home in the College Football Playoff and on the soundtrack of EA Sports NHL 19. Eventually, the song’s music video—released in 2018—would be uploaded to YouTube where it would gain over 400 million views and four million likes.
11. On Top Of The World
On Top Of The World is a bit unique, as it was produced for the extended play version of their 2012 album, Continued Silence, which made it onto their major studio debut album, Night Visions, in the same year. It’s another one of their songs that saw a lot of promotion play on TV, with an extensive list of appearances. This list includes but is not limited to the FIFA 13 and Pro Evolution Soccer 13 video games, the Australian version of The X Factor, ESPN’s coverage of the 2013-2014 NBA season, and Cartoon Network’s 2013 Hall of Game Awards.
This track peaked at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100 but made it to number 10 on the Hot Rock Songs chart and made it to the Top 10 in several other countries. In 2014, it reached over one million copies sold, making it the fourth single from the Night Visions album to reach that lofty threshold.
Amsterdam first appeared on Imagine Dragons’ third self-produced EP before being included on the Night Visions album in 2012. It marked one of the band’s first attempts to adapt electronic music elements to their traditional rock sound, a blend that appears often in their later releases and helped set them apart in the music world. It’s yet another song to receive platinum status in the US from the RIAA and was one of their most frequently played tracks in live performances and concerts on their Night Visions tour.
13. I Bet My Life
I Bet My Life was the lead single from Imagine Dragons’ Smoke + Mirrors album, and its first live performance allowed the band to premiere the track at the 2014 American Music Awards—moments before they received the award for Favorite Alternative Artist.
It celebrates the strong bonds we form in our relationships despite them being strained or difficult to manage sometimes, with the “I bet my life” part of the song meaning despite the hardship they know the other party can be counted on. In the US, the track made it to number 28 on the Hot 100, and number three on both the US Hot Rock and Alternative Songs and US Rock Airplay charts.
Friction became yet another Imagine Dragons song to be featured on the big screen with its use in the Mission: Impossible – Fallout movie trailer. It’s one of their heaviest songs, featuring forceful rock instrumentals that aren’t always at the forefront of their other tracks.
Unlike a lot of the other songs on the list, this is a track you wouldn’t be surprised to hear bands like Godsmack or Disturbed playing, and for that, it earns a spot on the list simply for showing the wide range of Imagine Dragons.
Bones was released in 2022 as the lead single of Imagine Dragons’ sixth studio album, Mercury – Acts 1 & 2. It charted extremely well internationally and made it to number 47 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number six on the US Hot Rock and Alternative Songs chart. Within days of its official release, the track was featured in the teaser promoting Amazon’s The Boys‘ third season.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
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