Song Title: Monster
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Album: Smoke + Mirrors
Label: Interscope Records, KIDinaKORNER
Producer: Alex da Kid
Genre: Indie Rock
I considered a couple different songs deserving of a Beat Breaker for Monster Week, but seeing as Imagine Dragons has become one of my favorite bands, I decided on the track “Monster.” This song was originally written for the soundtrack of Infinity Blade III, but I don’t want to confine it to how it fits into game. No, I want to take a closer look at the song itself; apart from the gaming soundtrack, what does “Monster” say to us?
Feel of the Song
This is no slow song, but it’s not exactly upbeat either. It starts off nice and steady, until the drums kick in with this rhythm continuing throughout the entirety of the song, with a only short break during the bridge.
At first, it feels like a little too much. The drummer doesn’t hold back (as well he shouldn’t), but once the rest of the band kicks in with him, “Monster” takes off in a great way. There’s a beautiful contrast from the drums to the acoustic guitar in the first verse, developing even better at the chorus with a more alternative feel.
Lyrics and Meaning
This is a fairly simple song to dissect. It’s simple and to the point, because the narrator’s situation is raw and overwhelming.
There is an internal struggle, between who the narrator really is and who society wants him to be. He’s being pulled in a couple of different directions and it’s tearing him apart. He longs to fit in, to be accepted… but he’s only pretending, and it never settles quite right with him. Pretending to be somebody he’s not is more than uncomfortable; it’s not true to himself or those around him.
If I told you what I was
Would you turn your back on me?
And if I seem dangerous
Would you be scared?
He worries that if he shows his true self, those that he’s lied to will turn their backs on him, no longer accepting him because he doesn’t meet their expectations. In a lot of ways, he’s convinced himself that his true self is a monster: a freak that he’s scared of letting out because once he does, his friends will run away as fast as they can.
I’m only a man with a candle to guide me
I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me
A monster, a monster
I’ve turned into a monster
He’s lived the lie so long, now he’s convinced that his true self is a monster growing every day, wanting to be released… yet he can’t live with the cost of setting it free. He’s too deep in the lies. To let himself out would ruin everything he’s worked so hard to achieve. His world and all he’s known would come crashing down around him.
He has to make the choice to either let the monster inside of him out now, or allow it to get stronger and stronger until he can’t control it any longer.
It’s a difficult thing to finally see the truth and continue your life as if nothing has happened. From the moment you learn who you really are and learn to accept it, it’s extremely hard to look at life from the same perspective ever again. Your inner-most being wants to be free from the cage at this point. The more you keep it trapped inside, the more it begs to be released.
Sometimes, we keep that side of us locked away, because we haven’t met that side of us yet… but if and when you’re actually aware of this monster, you will find it’s impossible to fight it. Thankfully, you will also find that it’s not a monster at all.
There’s nothing monstrous about being who you really are. The true monster tries to infiltrate from the outside: it’s the voice of fear telling you to keep that side of you locked away to escape rejection, and it’s the mask we wear in order to win acceptance. When you lock away who you really are inside, you become something else entirely.
Can I clear my conscience
If I’m different from the rest
Do I have to run and hide?
The key here is to let the real you out; let go of everything that limits you from expressing what your true passions are. Accept that you are different from everybody else. You were intentionally created to be unique! Once we realize this, we come to see that the monster is not what we’ve kept hidden inside all these years, but it lies within what we pretend to be. Crippling fear of what others think of us is the true monster.
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