Audiographic: Imagine Dragons – Demons

Imagine Dragons is considered to be a rock band but can also be classified as pop and alternative rock, They formed in 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Imagine Dragons has cycled through numerous members and currently, there are four; Dan Reyonlds is the lead singer, Wayne Sermon plays the guitar, Daniel Platzman plays percussion and Ben McKee plays the bass guitar. The first album released was Night Visions in 2012 which had reached #2 on the US album chart. “Demons” came out in 2013 with the album’s extended version and was produced by Alex da Kid. The song had spent roughly about 12 weeks being in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. This song has won a MuchMusic Video Award for International Video of the Year – Group in 2014 and an iHeartRadio Music Award for the Alternative Rock Song of the Year in 2014 as well.

Demons

The song  immediately starts with Dan Reynolds singing the melody and the keyboard following with a riff that will be heard throughout the entire song with a few drops; this sets the rhythm of the song.  If you listen very carefully you can faintly hear the base guitar and it begins to increase in volume as the section continues. The verse is explaining that life gets difficult and it seems as if everything is falling to pieces as we continue to depend on those who fail us.  Immediately there is a powerful sense of despair and resentment towards the society we are forced to live in.
In the first half of the pre-chorus, the guitar jumps in to harmonize with the main vocals.  Then in the second half of the pre-chorus, a backup vocal begins harmonizing in a higher key. These layers are progressively added to lead the song into the main chorus. Just before the main chorus kicks in, the piano riff briefly drops as a muted drum beat precedes the chorus, intensifying the transition. In the pre-chorus, it is expressed that no matter how much the faithful wish to protect those from the harsh and brutal reality of life, they,  too, suffer from inner darkness because it is within all of us and it will eventually reveal itself. No matter where we come from or who we are, we all act out of selfishness and this will be the end of humanity. It is evident how Dan or Imagine Dragons perceive and, more importantly, feel about the world we live in and it is very bleak.
The chorus immediately leads with a percussive strike on the crash cymbal. Also, background vocals are layered to add volume, joined by the guitar and the bass for the harmony. Also, the same piano riff can be heard that chimes throughout the chorus. The drums continue with a beat, holding the rhythm of the chorus.  The chorus presents powerful visual imagery, expressing that if you were to get close enough to Dan, you would be able to see into his soul through his eyes, revealing his inner demons. This roughly translates that if you take the time to know pretty much anyone, no matter who, you will see the metaphorical scars of true pain and suffering that hides beneath ones surface.
Instrumentally, the second verse and pre-chorus is identical to the first. This allows the flow of emotions to sustain throughout the song. The second verse makes life analogous to a theatrical event, as it expresses that after we put on a show for the world to see, we all return to the miserable, sinful lives that remain unseen. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, coincidentally, hides behind lies of their own while simultaneously exposing our flaws in seek of our own destruction. In the second pre-chorus, Dan provokes the idea that all though he wishes us the best and wants to protect us from the demons he faces, he is destined for hell and he believes that knowing the truth is for our own good.
In the bridge, up until now, percussion can only be heard during the chorus but now it is sustained. Likewise, the piano riff continues while being accompanied with a synchronized guitar riff. Notably, there is a faint, high-key harmonic vocal during the line, "your eyes, they shine so bright, I wanna save that light". This is likely to emphasize Dan's compassion. Following this line, all musical elements drop when Dan exclaims, "Unless you show me how!" That exclamation serves both as a cry of desperation and a transition into the chorus as it blends perfectly with the harmonic vocals. In the bridge, Dan is in denial of accepting responsibility for his character by blaming it on fate. He is at war with himself as he tries to preserve the innocence of his peers meanwhile he seeks salvation from them.


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Sound Events in Painting

Immediately, it is apparent that a girl in the foreground is hushing the viewer, which can be deduced from the facts that her index finger is raised near her lips and her eyes are averted towards the observer of the painting. She seems to be hunkered around the corner of a column to avoid exposure from her subjects. It is very likely that this girl is eavesdropping on a couple that can be seen down the hall discreetly conversing with one another; hence the title “The Eavesdropper”. There also seems to be a social gathering in the other room up the foyer where conversations may be exchanged and even laughter or sounds of dining ware. There also seems to be some less readily apparent sound events that are taking place that can be noticed when paying acute attention to detail.

To the far right of the painting, there is what appears to be a cat consuming food that is placed on a counter in what may be a kitchen. Also, further across the hall, where the conspicuous couple stands, is an exit to a garden or courtyard where sounds of nature and life outdoors could be heard. To the left of the foreground, a wooden door is ajar which can be old and creaky when a draft blows through the halls. It could also be possible that there are other people in this room since there appears to be a coat hanging from the door.

The sounds in the foreground will likely be more distinct and grow less distinguishable with distance and obstruction from walls. The “eavesdropper” will likely be heard the most clearly since she is within close proximity to the viewer however, her volume may be low to avoid attention. The couple may also be speaking in low volume in order to avoid attention yet, their conversation may be obscured by the echoes of sounds intermingling through the halls. Lastly, the gathering in the dining room may be clamorous due to the high occupancy and cross-socializing that is likely occurring. The musical texture of “Eavesdropper” would be considered as polyphonic due to the multiple sounds that can be distinguished.

Thoughts On Listening: Log #1

There were three musical sounds that I found in Roden Soundwalk, Part 2. The first musical sound I chose occurred at 5:59 when out of nowhere in the track a loud “BONG” occurred using a gong. This brought me back to a restaurant in Norfolk because when you finish eating at that restaurant you have the choice of hitting the gong with a mallet. This sound is musical enough because musicians can use this unique sound at either the beginning, middle or end of a song. For example, a gong could be used to start a song or end the song in a big finish.

The second musical sound I chose occurred at 0:46, it sounded as if someone was plucking at one string with a guitar. When I heard it, it reminded me of when my sister got her first guitar and since I did not know how to play it. I would just pluck at one guitar string whenever I got a hold of it, it sort of was like a habit of just plucking at one string. It is a musical sound because many of those who play guitar, violin, cello, etc. pluck at each string before a performance to properly tune the instrument to get the pitch needed.

The last musical sound I chose occurred at 1:55 it sounds like a short tune that gets stuck in your head. This 4-note tune reminded me of a short tune my dad used to play on the piano, and it would be the only thing I could play and instantly when I heard it in Roden Soundwalk. It sounded exactly the one he taught me to play. This is a musical sound because many pop, rock, R & B, and country songs can make someone get a tune of a song stuck in their head for at least a weeklong. Also, the tune played at least 5 minutes straight and many songs have a tune that continually plays in the back of a singer and this helps distinct the song.

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