Mercury — Act 2 was precisely what I expected in a contrasting manner


The Arts Desk

The combined album cover of both Mercury acts 1 and 2.

It’s safe to say that I was enthusiastic about the release of Mercury — Act 1 based on my prior review, but when I realized there was an entire second act being released, I was the best kind of startled. The lead single, “Bones” had been dropped in March of 2022, but I still wasn’t expecting the release of the second act less than a year after the first. Mercury — Act 2 finally completed the Mercury album and prepped Imagine Dragons for another tour in July of 2022.

On the topic of “Bones,” I was so thankful for this song that I couldn’t even imagine another album at that point; that song is a permanent resident of my main Spotify playlist. While it is fast-paced, there is definitely a dark curtain fluttering around the cover of the single. The tempo changes several times in the song, keeping the song engaging and ever-captivating. It finally hit the radio stations in recent times, which has given me even more chances to experience such a masterpiece.

The second single released before the full album, “Sharks,” was almost as phenomenal as the first. Similar to “Bones,” it was slightly darker in nature. Although this might not be the preference of some, I’ve always been an enthusiast of songs with an edge to them. It wasn’t overwhelming or difficult to decipher the meaning of, but “Sharks” still was a powerful track. I love the other form of art it features as well, which is the cover of the single. I can’t emphasize enough what a cool sea spray this song was; it’s the focal point of Mercury — Act 2.

I can’t emphasize enough what a cool sea spray this song was; it’s the focal point of Mercury — Act 2.”

Although “Sharks” was as powerful as the jaws of a great white and “Bones” blasted bass into my, well, bones, the gentler songs in the album had their grasp on me as well. “Ferris Wheel” was an excellent display of the other end of the song spectrum that Imagine Dragons can work with. I was immediately hit with nostalgia when “Ferris Wheel” began to play; it is a fleeting reminder of the band’s younger days. Genuinely, I really liked this song. It tiptoes quickly—but still retains its softness—without becoming stuck into being too slow.

While I like the variegated music that Imagine Dragons has a talent for, their songs that fall in between harsh and gentle are some of their greatest masterpieces. This was surely the case with “Waves” While it is one of the lesser-known songs on the album, it is nonetheless phenomenal. While it’s not polarized, “Waves” is far from moderate. It somehow combines a driving beat with powerful vocals but allows each section their time to shine. Whether it be minimizing the vocals at times or dropping the music briefly, each aspect was showcased flawlessly.

Part of the magic of the works by Imagine Dragons is the wide range of audiences they reach with each of their pieces. However, this doesn’t stop them from publishing a few more personal songs that evoke empathy within the viewers. “They Don’t Know You Like I Do” was one of these rarities included in Mercury — Act 2. I find myself always intrigued by these songs; they offer a small window into the life of the artist, even if it is just a brief glimpse. 

Another one of these raw songs was “I Don’t Like Myself.” The beginning of the song was a bit unsettling as it took a very foggy, mysterious, and minor tone. I was expecting the lyrics to be in the same style, and to some extent, they were. Despite this, the vocals were less grave, allowing the song to have a much greater degree of fluidity than it would have had this not been the case. Along with the excellent music, the meaning of this song reaches out and touches the fingertips of the listener by being relatable in some way to nearly everyone. With both an interesting message and a good mixture of music, this song was one of the many solid tracks on the album.

Despite the fact that many of the songs in the album are full of emotion and are seen as touching, none of them really grabbed me by the heart. That is, until, the absolute rush of feeling titled “Tied” flooded my ears. I was transported to an endless dark staircase, staring up at a blinding brilliance at the top. I can’t say precisely what hit me about this song, but I felt completely attached to it. It’s long and winding, but not monotonous and tiresome. Time is warped whenever a new note trickles in—such an impact is felt in such a short time. I experienced this song three times in a row after hearing it for the first time; I truly could not get enough of the beauty of “Tied.”

I held off on listening to Mercury — Act 2 for the longest time out of fear that it would be too sappy and emotional. While certainly emotional, emotions are what powered and electrified the entire album. I am ashamed for not listening to the second act of Mercury sooner; it was far too good to set aside for so long. At last, I am satisfied knowing that I am up-to-date with Imagine Dragons and comforted with the confirmation that they once again have channeled their talent into the plethora of art within Mercury — Act 2.