“Giants” by Imagine Dragons

The title of this song is derived from a line in the chorus, in which the vocalist proclaims that he is “sleeping with giants”. That is obviously a metaphorical statement, though in all honesty, as utilized, a difficult one to ascertain what exactly it’s supposed to mean.

Dan Reynolds follows up that statement with yet another metaphor whereas he is “tip toeing quietly”. So perhaps the reason he is doing so is because he does not want to wake up the titular “giants”. And if interpreted so, that would mean that what he is speaking to is some type of imminent danger.

And such is a reasonable postulation given the overall nature of this song.  For most simply explained, it serves as sort of a PSA against drug abuse. And to get this point across, Reynolds takes on the role of an addict himself. Indeed if we didn’t already know that in real life he isn’t, one may even say that this is based on his personal experience.

For instance, in the second verse he alludes to how people tend to “glamorize” drug abuse in the world of “rock n’ roll”, or, we can say by extension, the music industry at large. This is a mentality that Dan has spoken about in the past and how it has even contributed to the demise of someone he cared for dearly. 

So again, as with a similarly-minded track also found on Mercury entitled “My Life“, we know that he isn’t actually speaking about himself personally. But at the same time, Dan has clearly witnessed enough drug abuse to effectively relay the perspective of a junkie in song.

Caught up in a Vicious Cycle

And as depicted, said junkie is compelled to rely on these substances as an “escape” from the less-than-ideal “reality” he’s living.  He also possesses the desire to “hurt” himself sometimes. So putting those ideas together, he knows that “chasing white” (aka c0ke) for instance isn’t conducive to self-preservation. But at the same time, as with any drug addict he’s caught up in a cycle that he simply can’t step out of.

I’m Proud of You

In the second verse, the vocalist expresses a desire to make an unidentified addressee ‘proud of him’. This sentiment is flipped in the bridge, where he is rather telling the addressee that he is ‘so proud of him’. 

This may be a case of Reynolds, in the bridge, briefly taking on the role of the addressee, as we concluded he may have also done in “My Life”. And if so, then that would mean he’s telling that main character, i.e. the junkie, that he doesn’t have to go out of his way to impress him. 

So the implication behind it all would be that one of the pressures which pushes this person to use drugs is a desire to please everyone, if you will, which may be related to the aforementioned popular image of rock n’ rollers, i.e. him being a musician who wants to conform to the ideologies of his genre.

The Conclusion of “Giants”

By the time all is said and done, even though this song may be self-critical, it definitely doesn’t come off as being judgmental. However, it does an effective job of getting its main point across, which would be something like no one in their right mind would want to find themselves addicted to hard drugs.

Lyrics of "Giants"

“Giants” and “Mercury – Act 1”

This song was written by the current members of Imagine Dragons –

  • Dan Reynolds
  • Daniel Platzman
  • Ben McKee
  • Wayne Sermon

The band composed it alongside a former colleague of theirs named Andrew Tolman.

Sermon and Tolman, under the collective moniker Goldwiing, also produced this track.

The aforementioned Mercury is actually the shortened form of the name of the album this track is derived from, which in full is “Mercury – Act 1”. This is the first album Imagine Dragons has put out since their 2018 full-length Origins (2018)  And as with all of their studio albums, Mercury was issued by Kidinakorner in conjunction with Interscope Records.


6 Responses

  1. Rob R. says:

    Sleeping with Giants could also mean he’s now hanging with those “old timers” , the giants, in THE program of recovery. Yes, he’s walking quietly. Listening! He wants what they have! He wants this new life that sobriety & recovery can offer. Take a look at what I’ve become, hanging with the best (now)! Feeling life again! Sobriety! RECOVERY!

  2. When says:

    No no no… sleeping with giants mean that he is a small kid and the giants were his parents that he was sleeping with and he is tiptoeing quietly to steal food out of the fridge at 3am.

  3. Meep! says:

    I thought sleeping with giants was a reference from The Odyssey when Odysseus was in the cave with the cyclops, Polyphemus. Blinded him with a hot stake in the eye when it was sleeping. Maybe not but I was imagining that in my head!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think sleeping with giants is sleep with the addiction that used to control you, not waking up the beast of abuse, and tiptoe to be sober

  5. Airin says:

    Maybe sleeping with Giants refers to another big artists who do drugs while he is trying to be sober around them.

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