Sad to admit it to myself, but I guess I’m out of the loop. When Corey Taylor recently suggested that Imagine Dragons are usurping Nickeback as rock’s most hated band, I said that I didn’t think Imagine Dragons have the cultural cache that Nickelback have, and therefore are likely not in the position to become the punchline Nickelback are.
But apparently I was wrong! Taylor is just one of several prominent artists to publicly talk shit about Imagine Dragons, along with The Smashing Pumpkins, Foster the People, and The 1975. So I guess they really are next in line to become rock’s punching bag.
Now Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds has taken to Instagram to post a lengthy missive responding to Taylor and these other artists. And it’s so riddled with bullshit it’s all but guaranteed to ensure people continue talking smack.
With no discernible sense of irony, Reynolds calls these kinds of comments “click-bait horse shit.” He then goes on to describe the shit-talking as “Words filled with vile and hate” (despite the fact that something cannot be filled with vile — I’m guessing he meant “bile”) before insisting that “I’ve gotten over the fact that guys in other bands – The 1975, Foster The People, Smashing Pumpkins, Slipknot etc – feel a need to talk badly about my band for whatever reason” and “I don’t feel anger towards them.”
“I’ve stood silently and taken it for years. It has added to the depression I’ve dealt with since youth. I don’t say this in search of sympathy, but just as a fact.”
I do not for a second believe that Reynolds shared his struggle with depression “just as a fact” and not “in search of sympathy.” Unless you’re a sociopath, of course you are going to feel sympathetic for Reynolds. And since the gist of this post is “Stop being mean to me,” there’s really no reason to bring the depression up unless Reynolds was aiming for sympathy. Merely as a fact, it adds nothing else to the discussion.
But let’s ignore all that for now. The next bit is where Reynolds really loses me:
“It’s not the person that causes me the feelings of stress and depression, but what it does to the world we as a band have created.
“How it could possibly make a kid feel ‘not cool’ listening to Imagine Dragons? I hate that thought. Wondering if my kids will be made fun of as they grow older because someone thinks my band isn’t cool.”
I mean… what? Isn’t that the risk that every artist takes by making art? Do you think that nowhere in the world has a kid caught shit for liking Slipknot? This isn’t a unique situation for the poor fellas in Imagine Dragons — it’s a hazard of being a public figure (in an industry dominated, no less, by money earned from teenagers — the meanest fucking people in the world). And I’ve seen kids of famous people be treated perfectly normally by their peers and be bullied by their peers; in my experience, it has nothing to do with their parents so much as it just demonstrates how no kid is really exempt from the horrors of an adolescent social life.
If these thoughts bother Dan Reynolds that much, he has no real business being in music. Sorry.
Finally, Reynolds hits us with this doozy:
“I wish [the music industry] felt like a place where artists stood by each other and supported one another – regardless of our different tastes and voices.”
I have never, ever been able to wrap my head around the concept that everyone in music needs to be supportive of everyone else all the time regardless of whether or not they like the work. We hear this at MetalSucks all the time — “Oh, you didn’t give such and such a band a positive review, therefore you don’t support metal!” — and it is such nonsense. What is the alternative? Giving everything a positive review, always? This seems like a hop, skip, and a jump away from the “America: love it or leave” mentality (for example). That’s not how life works.
Look. I understand why Reynolds is upset. But someone should have tapped him on the shoulder and told him this post was a bad idea. If you think of shit talking Imagine Dragons as a game of tug of war, all Reynolds has down is pick up the other end of the rope and agreed to participate. The best thing he could have done would have been to ignore Taylor and other musicians who speak negatively about his band. Instead, I suspect he just opened himself up to being made fun of more.
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