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4.5 out of 5 stars
Night Visions
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422 of 461 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I love the band and the songs, but this album represents the absolute pinnacle of decrepit audio engineering. Perhaps someone accidentally left all the compression knobs cranked fully clockwise on the mixer, because that's exactly what it sounds like. I suppose it could have been mixed and produced to sound like a 0.5kbps mp3 compression on purpose, but WHY ON EARTH??? I have no idea whether the sound is the band's idea or the producer's, but as much as I like the actual music behind the distortion, I can't listen to the CD anymore since every note makes me cringe and feel like I'm destroying my amp and speakers even at a low volume. If you even remotely consider yourself an audiophile, avoid this album at all cost!

UPDATE: After a bit of research I discovered that all the added distortion/compression and totally overdriven sound is the brainchild of asinine producer Alex Da Kid. How unfortunate that someone in the music industry felt they had to actually ruin the sound of a good band in order to make them popular. I can only hope that this album is someday re-released without distortion at the proper recording level.
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145 of 155 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2013
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
I love the group but their studio failed on recording the CD. Radioactive is extremely "fuzzy" or "clipped" or "muffled" or whatever you want to call it. The same is true for the rest of the CD although not to the same extent. The audio mastering is extremely poor.

For reference - Audio playback equipment used: a bare CD transport, custom build headphone amp(PCM1798 DAC, LM49990 pre-amp, and OPA827 amp), and Ultrasone Ed.8 cans.
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196 of 218 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I stumbled upon Imagine Dragons back in January through sheer stupid luck. The indie rock Gods must have been smiling down on me that day. From the very first listen to "It's Time" I was hooked. I knew from that moment that this band was going to go Big. Of course I didn't picture them going Big quite so fast (although the band has been working at this for years). It has been really cool to watch the band's rise in popularity. It seems like I can't turn on a radio without hearing "It's Time." What is cooler though is that as amazing as "It's Time" is, it's just the beginning. Night Visions is a stellar debut album. It is the product of hard work and vast musical talent. The songs hold common threads that make for a strong sense of album unity but the fact of the matter is that each one is a unique gem of enjoyment. Another review of the Continued Silence EP called Imagine Dragons a "radio friendly indie rock band" and that is a great description. There is an undeniable appeal here to the mainstream, even thought the quality is beyond the "mass consumption" label. From the well written lyrics and the percussive electronic beat to the subtle guitar work and vocals that are at once polished and natural, Night Visions is a debut album that sounds anything but "debut."

"Radioactive" - If the throbbing, pulsating beat of this song doesn't get you pumped there is something wrong with you. The vocals are firmly in charge of this stellar post-Apocalyptic rock song. Welcome to the New Age!

"Tip Tope" - I wasn't impressed with this song the first time I listened to it. After a few more listens I have to say that it has grown on me. I really dig the synth. There is a definite pop draw to this song, it makes you want to dance. ***EDIT*** After several more play throughs this has become one of my favorite tracks on the album. I can't seem to get it out of my head.

"It's Time" - The essential Imagine Dragons song, complete with rhythm clapping and a mandolin. The song is beautiful, musically and lyrically. If you have heard of Imagine Dragons it is probably because of this song. If I had to declare a Song of the Year for 2012, this would be it.

"Demons" - We all have our inner demons and that makes this song all the more empowering. The music takes a back seat to the vocals and lyrics this time around but the trademark sound is still present. If you're in a dark place, give this song a listen.

"On Top of the World" - It's funny how a song can grow on you. I didn't much care for this one at first but you know what? It's catchy. The music has this sort of cheery, Lion King vibe going on and it might just give you that necessary pick-up when you need it.

"Amsterdam" - This one is a little more subdued than the previous tracks, a bit more intimate. Musically this one is strong and I really enjoy the ups and downs of Dan's vocals. It starts out low and rises as the song goes.

"Hear Me" - This is one of my favorite older tracks. Like "Amsterdam" the highs and lows of Dan's vocals are great and match the flow of the lyrics perfectly. I love the percussion near the end of the song and the electronic beat.

"Every Night" - Time to slow things up a bit. The quality of the lyrics isn't quite up to par with the rest of the Imagine Dragons songs here. There are some strong lines but overall this track reminds me of "My Fault" from the Continued Silence EP.

"Bleeding Out" - I was so freaking excited for this track, ever since I heard the album preview. Oh man, this song gets me pumped! As tame as the last track is, this one makes up for it in spades. Dan's vocals soar, the lyrics are premium and the music rises energetically. There is a raw edge that boosts this track and makes you want to scream it from the top of the tallest mountain.

"Underdog" - This is another strong new track, trending more towards the pop side of Imagine Dragons than rock. I don't even like pop but this song is fun and enthusiastic. Who doesn't love to be the underdog?

"Nothing Left to Say" - It is impossible NOT to have an emotional connection to these songs. This one is a bit darker compared to the more inspirational songs like "Demons" but that's its strength. There is something haunting about this song I can't yet put my finger on but it is there.

"Rocks" - And alas, a great ending to a great debut album. This and "Bleeding Out" are my favorite new tracks. It's fast paced and the vocals have a whimsical sort of characteristic. It's folky and fun.

So there it is. Night Visions, the debut album of the rising alternative rock stars Imagine Dragons. You will find new things to love with every listen, I sure know that I have. Even tracks you aren't keen on at first could very well nestle themselves in the folds of your brain and take root. This band is destined for great things and I will be following along in eager anticipation. If you enjoy the album I highly suggest seeing them live if you get the opportunity. I saw them perform at Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware and it was a vigorous show. The affection and determination the band pours into its music is heart warming in this day and age.

***EDIT***
The iTunes version of Night Visions comes with two additional songs, "Working Man" and "Fallen." If you bought the album elsewhere I suggest you purchase these two tracks individually from iTunes. You gotta have the complete collection. The track "Fallen" is especially good, it's a shame that it wasn't included on the album.
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202 of 228 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Not sure if it's supposed to sound like that or not, but I'm noticing that nearly the whole album sounds "fuzzy" or "muffled?"

I really like the beats in these tracks and I like the lead singer's voice, but the instrumentation all sounds kinda crap. On the first track "Radioactive" I thought it was just the style of the song, that bubbly distortion, but on the later tracks I noticed that it just sounds uneven and compressed sounding.

I know it's not my listening equipment, either, because the rest of the music in my collection doesn't sound like that. Until someone can correct me for convince me otherwise, I'm going to blame this on bad production/bad recording. I really want to like this band, but everything sounds off. I was excited to buy this album from listening to the samples.

If I'm wrong, why would a band choose to make "muffled" their music style?
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198 of 225 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Somehow, producer Alex da Kid thought that intentionally introducing that awful, cheap sounding distortion (several tracks, most notably beginning on 'Radioactive'), was somehow "artistic". What a stupid idea.

One word Alex...WRONG. It's not Eno-esque, not even close. It's asinine and sophomoric. You aimed badly and missed.

It's like Alex thought that he could pull off a musical equivalent of that classic photographic technique whereby emphasizing the "grainy" look of B&W Film can have a pleasing effect in portrait work.

HEY ALEX...IT DOESN'T WORK WITH MUSIC.

For the first time I can recall, I am returning a recorded work to the retailer because it is "defective in workmanship".

What makes me scratch my head is that the band didn't veto this idiotic idea. Oh well, they're young.

Hopefully the band still have masters that haven't had the distortion added yet. In a few years, maybe they'll release a "we booted Alex da Kid" remix.

I will buy it immediately.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I like the song "Radioactive" and the other tracks sampled sounded ok so I purchased the CD. Song sounds compressed and muffled, just like the other reviewer wrote. At first I thought it was only that one song but others were produced with the same flat sound quality. Too bad because I like some of the songs but I can't tolerate the recordings quality. If it was done intentionally, it was a big mistake!
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
Very poor quality audio ... Lots of distortion. Distortion was noticeable on in digital format as well as CD. Very poor quality on car stereo.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
I'm not an audiophile, far from it, but the horror stories you find in other reviews of this album, concerning the compression and muffled/distorted audio? They're definitely not exaggerating. Imagine playing really good music through a pair of really bad, underpowered speakers and getting tons of distortions when you should be hearing drum beats or high strung vocals. That cringe you're making? Yeah, that sums up 90% of the album, as it was intentionally over-compressed by the producers. No matter how high grade your audio equipment is, it will never, ever sound good because the production itself was encoded this way. It's just so defeating that the songs have good lyrics, and the music (when audible between distorted drum beats) is generally very good. There's talent in this group, lots of it, and I truly regret that I cannot enjoy their music as it was made, but instead have to suffer through garish distortions and struggle to understand what's behind it.

The folks that mastered this album and produced it need to be strung up from the highest tree, because this music has been utterly butchered in the post-production. If I get the chance to hear the band live someday, I'd love to hear what they really sound like. As long as this clown is producing their music, I'll never buy another album of theirs, and not even an MP3. It's been absolutely ruined and the fact that so many reviewers have missed this is astonishing to me. Maybe they're all tone deaf or something, because you'd have to be to think that this stuff sounds good at all.

Here's hoping they re-release it and have it re-mastered by someone that doesn't have their head misplaced in their rectum. Until then, I wouldn't recommend this album to my worst enemy.
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
Seriously. It is practically un-listenable. The bass sounds like somebody farting into a microphone. Too bad, because I really like the song.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
Verified Purchase
Don't get me wrong. Like many have already stated in their reviews, the music is great but the sound quality is atrociously bad. People are not exaggerating when they say this is the worst album ever produced. It boggles my mind Night Visions is averaging 4.6 rating from 1000+ reviewers. Is this what passes for acceptable recordings these days? I can forgive mediocre mastering if the music is good, but after I popped this CD in my player for the first time, I had to check the vacuum tubes on my hifi stereo system to make sure one hadn't blown/shorted. It's really that bad. This album is simply unlistenable.

It doesn't help that I listened to this album immediately after Lorde's Pure Heroine ... one of the best mastered albums that I've ever heard.
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