“Lonely” by Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons’ “Lonely” is a relatively complex piece which, as its title reveals, is based on the concept of loneliness. And the reason we’re referring to it as complex is primarily because earlier on the vocalist portrays himself as the kind of person who tends to “get a little lonely… even when there’s people all around” him. 

But then later on in the bridge, we find him pleading for someone, any concerned individual really, to ‘keep him company’ to stave off said loneliness.

Reading in between the lines, perhaps what he is putting forth is not a true sense of loneliness per se but rather one caused more specifically by being unable to relate to the people around him. 

Indeed certain terminology contained within this piece seems to suggest that the song may be speaking to the reality of being a celebrity. And if such is the case, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve come across a song where a famous singer is presenting the idea of ‘smiling to keep things easy’ in public, while behind the scenes he’s more akin to a nervous wreck.

But all things considered, we do not necessarily feel that this is one of those pieces. Or let’s say that if such is the case, Dan Reynolds and co. probably imbued the narrator with certain attributes to give this tale more of a general applicability. 

For instance, as we alluded to in our analysis of another song from “Mercury – Act 1” entitled “My Life“, Dan Reynolds is not a singer known to possess substance abuse issues. Yet in the first verse of this song, he depicts himself as someone who, to no avail, is dependent on certain prescribed drugs. 

And yes, we know that complaining about the pills a doctor has prescribed being ineffective is not the same as being an addict. But the point being made is that by making such an assertion, this song complies to one of the subthemes of Mercury, which according to Reynolds, is drug addiction, which again, he has not been afflicted with.

But it should be noted that he also decided to use the album to ‘sing about his own struggles’. So again, it does seem that certain lyrics were inspired by the celebrity experience. But as for the loneliness which stands at the heart of the song, such is an affliction that, of course, doesn’t only affect the famous. And at the end of the day what the vocalist is searching for is release, via some idealized interpersonal intervention, from this malady.

Lyrics to Imagine Dragons' "Lonely"

More about the Song “Lonely”, “Mercury – Act 1” and Imagine Dragons

This is the second song on the playlist of “Mercury – Act 1”, a project which Interscope and Kidinakorner publicly issued on the date of 3 September 2021.

Imagine Dragons is a band which traces its origins back to the late aughts. They are very well known, though truth be told the bulk of their success was achieved via earlier efforts. For instance, it has been noted that just a day before the release of Mercury, Imagine Dragons became the first band in history to have three different singles certified diamond by the RIAA (i.e. having sold over 10,000,000 copies in the United States). 

However, two of those tracks, Radioactive and Demon, are actually from their debut project, Night Visions (2012), with the other, Believer, being from their 2017 album Evolve. And to note, “Mercury – Act 1” is actually their fifth studio album.

Imagine Dragons’ lineup endured a considerable degree of fluctuation early on, i.e. before the group got around to actually dropping any studio albums. In fact frontman Reynolds is the last man standing from the original quintet. 

However, since late 2011 the membership has remained virtually untouched, with Reynolds vocals being buttressed by the following fine musicians:

  • Wayne Sermon (guitarist)
  • Ben McKee (bassist)
  • Daniel Platzman (drummer)  

And to note, those same four individuals are credited as writers of “Lonely” alongside Justin Tranter and Mattman & Robin.

Robert Fredriksson and Mattias Larsson, aka Mattman & Robin, are also the producers of this track.


1 Response

  1. I misunderstood it to be about depression says:

    I always interpreted the song to be “just” about depression. Having been depressed myself ever since I can remember I am very biased though.
    My own experience is that sometimes you feel like in a bubble, even when with others, totally detached from everyone, not being able to really bond with people. Yet you have to participate in social interactions and play your part (lights, camera, action and scene).
    “Sleep it away, ĺife in a day, day in a life” reminded me of that fatigue, sleeping 16h a day if you can, sometimes not being able to even get up and do simple hygene-related tasks. A day becomes a week, a week becomes a month and before you even realize you have a severe problem the past two years feel like the same first day of not getting up. Medication can also be tricky with depression, so I interpreted this line as the pills not being the wonder the patient might have hoped for.
    Reading your interpretation I think it actually makes more sense but I still like to think about this song represening clinically depressed people – just makes me feel better.

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