Song | Believer – Imagine Dragons

A weird hobby of mine is searching for the meaning behind a song. I can spend hours searching for interviews, lyrics and the meaning of everything. I find that really interesting (maybe because I write songs myself). I thought it would be fun to explain those meanings on my blog, and then it became a series on my blog. Leave a comment with a song you want to know the meaning of!

The last episode was about the song Remedy from Adele. This time it’s about Believer from Imagine Dragons. I’m a big fan of this band and I’m in love with this song. I also sang this song at some of my gigs. It means a lot to me, and the meaning is beautiful. So I would love to explain it to you!

Imagine Dragons is an American rock band with Dan Reynolds as the lead vocalist, lead guitarist (Daniel) Wayne Sermon, drummer Daniel Platzman and bassist and keyboardist Ben McKee. You noticed it? Ben, Dan, Daniel and Daniel, how funny! Daniel Sermon actually decided to use his second name Wayne so it would be less confusing. The band was formed in 2008. In 2012 their debut album ‘Night Visions’ was released with the popular singles ‘It’s time’ and ‘Radioactive’. Their second album ‘Smoke + Mirrors’ was released in 2015 which also was a big hit. After the tour they decided to take a break to work on their personal life (explained later). On 23 June their third album ‘Evolve’ was released, with the hit singles ‘Believer’, ‘Thunder’ and ‘Whatever it Takes’. The album already has reached the top five in almost every country. In 2013, along with the family of Tyler Robinson, Imagine Dragons the charity ‘Tyler Robinson Foundation’ to help young people fighting cancer. Imagine Dragons is currently promoting their new album and they are about to go on tour! The current members are together for over 8 years, they said that they are basically family and know each other very well. They support each other. They don’t have to ask Dan what the lyrics is about, the kind of know and also want to have their own interpretation and meaning.

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Lyrics

Couplets

First things first
I’ma say all the words inside my head
I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been, oh ooh
The way that things have been, oh ooh

Second things second,
don’t you tell me what you think that I can be
I’m the one at the sail, I’m the master of my sea, oh ooh
The master of my sea, oh ooh

Third things third
Send a prayer to the ones up above
All the hate that you’ve heard has turned your spirit to a dove, oh ooh
Your spirit up above, oh ooh

Last things last
By the grace of the fire and the flames
You’re the face of the future, the blood in my veins, oh ooh
The blood in my veins, oh ooh
But they never did, ever lived, ebbing and flowing
Inhibited, limited
Till it broke up and it rained down
It rained down, like

Pre-chorus

I was broken from a young age
Taking my soul into the masses
Write down my poems for the few
That looked at me took to me, shook to me, feeling me
Singing from heart ache from the pain
Take up my message from the veins
Speaking my lesson from the brain
Seeing the beauty through the

I was choking in the crowd
Living my brain up in the cloud
Falling like ashes to the ground
Hoping my feelings, they would drown
But they never did, ever lived, ebbing and flowing
Inhibited, limited
Till it broke up and it rained down
It rained down, like

Chorus

You made me a, you made me a believer, believer
(Pain, pain)
You break me down, you build me up, believer, believer
(Pain)
I let the bullets fly, oh let them rain
My luck, my love, my God, they came from
(Pain)
You made me a, you made me a believer, believer

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The artwork of Believer, they have amazing artwork for every song!

I watched some interviews with Imagine Dragons before, where they also talked about the meaning of Believer. First of all, it’s the first single they’ve released for Evolve because it’s a bridge between their last album Smoke & Mirrors and the new album Evolve. It has the anger in it from Smoke & Mirrors, which was a dark period for Dan, but it leads to a place of redemption and hope, which is Evolve. The art work shows that. It’s a man wandering through a dark space, but he arrives at a space of colour. So Believer is a transition to a positive attitude instead of dark thoughts. Dan has worked hard to get in a new good place and to get a new perspective on life. He’s not looking for answers anymore but is trying to be contect with what he has in life.

The dark space of Dan in Smoke & Mirrors has been there for a long time. He has dealt with depression since he was young (also while he was writing Smoke & Mirrors and when they took it onto the road). Then he took 2 years off, he got into a great headspace and saw a lot of colour came into his live. Believer is coming from a healthy perspective, looking back and being grateful for that period. Sometimes you’re not grateful for that in the moment. Depression has ups and downs, it comes and goes. But Believer is a celebration of what meany people would see as a weakness. Dan sees it as a strength, it breaths art. In short, Believer is a changeover from where he was in his mind with Smoke & Mirrors and where he is now.

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In an interview, Dan also said something beautiful about performing Believer. Everytime he gets on stage, he has to put himself in that spot again. It helps him to perfom, because otherwise it would just be playing notes. People can feel emotion, it is powerful, people can feel the energy at a concert. That energy is the artist going to the place that they were in when they wrote that song and locking into that emotion. Fans feel that and give the emotion back. I really loved how Dan described this, and it’s totally true. I haven’t seen them live (😢) but I have seen concerts at Youtube, and I can feel the emotion (even through the screen). That’s amazing!

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From the videoclip of Thunder

“I’m tired of the way that things have been” and “Broken from a young age” refers to the depression Dan had since a young age, he wants chance.
“Take up my message from the veins, speaking my lesson from the brain”, so his lyrics are very genuine and come from the heart.
“You made me a believer” Dan is talking to pain like it’s a person. The song is like an ode to pain, his success is thanks to the pain.
“I let the bullets fly, oh let them rain”, let the bullets come, it’s okay, it’s part of life. He will take them and learn from it, he will become stronger.
“Hoping my feelings, they would drown”, the pain (that has shaped him) has partly come from himself, it was inside his own mind which also refers to depression which is a mental illness. So the pain comes from your own brain and feelings.
“You’re the face of the future, the blood in my veins”, although pain is really hard, Dan admits that it is what keeps him going. It will always be there but it will help him get stronger and stronger.

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So Believer is basically an ode to pain I think, because although pain is horrible at that moment, it makes you stronger and keeps you going. What I also like about this song is that it normalizes pain. Normally people try to escape from pain, or at least hide it for others. But in this song, Dan shows the positive side of pain. Good things come from facing difficulties. So you should face pain instead of running from it, you will become stronger.

This song and the meaning also has a connection with other songs on the new album Evolve, like Thunder. So maybe I will write about that song later, would you like that?

What do you think of Believer? And of what song do you want to know the meaning next? Let me know in the comments and there’s a big chance you will find out in the next episode.

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