I can’t get this song out of my head.
It’s very easy to ignore the Top Forty. It’s very easy to ignore all music. That’s what the business and inside fans don’t understand, that they’re in a bubble and what they live for, their passion, oftentimes doesn’t translate.
I live for the Howard Stern show.
Because Howard is so good.
That’s how you cut through the clutter, you search for excellence and pay attention.
And Howard’s shtick has changed. He’s now part of the interview circuit. Because America is about selling, and you can only get someone to go on the record when they’re hawking something. And with Howard’s newfound status, as a result of network television, he gets the A-listers, they’re whores, and Stern gets more out of them than anyone else but now he too cannot make fun of these people, who so often deserve it. Howard “gets” Madonna” so he “gets” her new album? He could be the only one. It’s already been forgotten.
But not Imagine Dragons. They’re a hit act. Already excoriated on their second album.
That’s what happens when you’re not deep inside, you get the penumbra, you get the blowback, those who care say they’re not worth caring about and then I was in a store and I heard “Radioactive” and had to pull it up on Spotify and they perform that on Stern but what got me was the single from the new album, “Shots.”
Now the stories being told are fascinating. Despite the image of reality television, every act worth hearing struggles. For years. Two members of Imagine Dragons quit just before the band got signed. They were sick of playing covers and opening to almost no one. But it’s in the struggle that you hone your chops, that you get really good.
And Imagine Dragons are really good.
I know you don’t want to hear that, because if they’re good, you’re not.
Now I’m not saying you can’t be nearly talentless and be successful. But that’s a different kind of talent, one of conception, one wherein you look at the world a different way and come up with something so mind-blowing that people pay attention. That was Lou Reed’s gift. But we haven’t had that spirit here for so long.
But, if you can sing and write and play… Then you’ve got a chance.
So go to YouTube and pull up this interview.
Start by going to the yellow dot around 48:00, to hear the acoustic version of “Shots.”
Acoustic. Hard to fake it there.
And they’re not faking it whatsoever.
Am I out of touch
Am I out of place
NOT WHATSOEVER! NOT WITH THIS VOICE!
If you’re not enraptured you’ve got no life, no soul.
I’m sorry for everything
Oh, everything I’ve done
From the second day I was born it seems I had a loaded gun
Then I shot, shot, shot a hole through everything I loved
Oh, I shot, shot, shot a hole through every single thing I loved
The harmonies kick in and you’re in church. THE CHURCH OF ROCK AND ROLL!
There are changes, hooks. Cast aside your black clothing, your precious image, and just luxuriate in the sound.
And when you pull up the track on Spotify, listen to the studio version, you’ll be horrified, it sounds like the strip mall as opposed to the sanctuary.
And this guy was religious. He went on a Mormon mission to Nebraska. Tells interesting stories about meth and gangs.
He talks about his depression. About his parents. He reveals a three-dimensional identity and you like someone who previously you didn’t care a whit about.
Kind of like “Shots.”
This is the hit take. Because greatness does not need polish, it’s about capturing lightning in a bottle.
And they did here.
AND YOU BUY IT!