Imagine Dragons – Believer | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review


One of the most impactful tracks of this generation is “Believer” by Imagine Dragons. The band are notoriously famous for their thunderous, blood-pumping tracks, but this one specifically takes the edge off all the rest. The theme of this piece swirls around the quote “What does not kill you makes you stronger.”

“Believer” is the first single and the third track from Imagine Dragon’s third studio album, “Evolve”, released in June 2017.

Speaking in an interview, Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons said that “Believer” is “The first song I’ve ever written in my career that I could step back and say, it’s just Imagine Dragons – which comes from a place that’s truly authentic to us…”

In 2018, the song sold over 5 million copies and is certified 5x Platinum by RIAA (USA), 7x Platinum by Music Canada, 3x Platinum by ARIA (Australia) and 2x Platinum by BPI (United Kingdom. ). Leading the song’s massive success, Imagine Dragons collaborated with rapper Lil Wayne to release a remix of the track in 2019.

The music video for “Believer” features iconic Swedish actor Dolph Lundgren, best known for his role in the movie “Rocky IV”. The YouTube video racked up over 1.6 billion views as of August 2020, making it a top contender for the “YouTube videos with over one billion views” list.

Watch the Imagine Dragons video “Believer”

Meaning of the words of “believer” and review of the song

Verse 1

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons is bursting with passion when he starts the song’s vocals and lets us know he’s about to tell us something that has been bothering him for some time now. The first test of the song is to let the listener know that this subject is not to be taken lightly. It might even contain personal experiences of the singer. Reynolds says these feelings have been buried in him for a long time now and that he releases them before the explosion.

Verse 2

The second test of the song is to let us all know that Dan Reynolds is a man of his own creation. It doesn’t take any “what ifs” from anyone else. Through this message, the singer sends a strengthening message to all listeners about self-confidence and self-control. Dan Reynolds uses the themes of sailing to get this message across. A sea is a dangerous place, even on a ship, and so is our life in general. To master the sea is to master one’s own life.


It is only in the pre-chorus of “Believer” that we encounter the root of the story that Imagine Dragons is about to tell us. Lead singer Dan Reynolds admits he was “broken from an early age”. This can have many meanings: mental or physical abuse, trauma, poverty, bullying, etc. Whatever the exact reason, Dan’s idea is to let us know that he endured some kind of pain as a child. He says he tried to console himself by recounting his pain in his poems.

He further confesses that there was a lot of heartache that he soaked the most intimate parts of his soul and poured them into his music. However, the most positive thing about this song is that the singer sees something beautiful in the transformation he has endured through the pain.


The full chorus is dedicated to the “pain” or “pains” the singer endured growing up. “What does not kill you makes you stronger.”

The singer venerates “pain” as if it were a religion, and therefore his faith in pain to make him grow or succeed in life. “Pain” doesn’t necessarily mean physical or anything bad. Even studying something difficult could be called “meticulous”. Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragon’s beginnings must have been painful as well. But it all made him and the group grow thicker skin.

Another maritime quote to associate would be “a gentle sea never made a skilled sailor” by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Verse 3

In the third verse, Dan Reynolds pays homage to his religion, speaking of the “those above.” Just like what religion is supposed to do, Dan Reynold discovered that through religion he is able to convert his pains into blessings. Religion is not meant to make your wishes come true. But it’s supposed to help you grow into a stronger, healthier person.


In the second pre-chorus of “Believer” Dan Reynolds tells us how he had all of his problems growing up. He spoke of his Mormon upbringing in a large family of nine, which would mean he was just another kid in the mix. If he had endured psychological suffering as a child, there probably wouldn’t have been much room for an open discussion about it. Dan Reynolds remembers these feelings as rain collecting in a cloud – it would crumble and rain heavily at one point. And he did …

Verse 4

“Last but not least”, Dan Reynolds admits that “you” are the face of his future. As vague as that statement is, the “you” here could be a reference to himself, or even the fans. We learned that the singer is in control of his own things at the start of the song. It is therefore logical to think that he sees himself as the guide who leads him towards his future. However, it also makes sense to think that the “music” is what saved him, and a lot of the music and his success comes from the fans. The one he is talking about here is so close to him that he calls him the life element in his veins.

What do you think of “Believer” by Imagine Dragons? Let us hear in the comments below. Check out the full lyrics and breakdown of meaning on Genius.

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