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Track Review

Dan Reynolds has a gift for ambiguity.

This time around, the melancholy frontman for Imagine Dragons has teamed up Swedish EDM producer Kygo to create a digital single that hovers in a grey area between hope and pain, yearning and futility.

After my first listen, I asked myself, "Am I supposed to feel happy or sad here?" After the second listen, I realized (as is often the case with Imagine Dragons) that the answer to that accidental trick question is yes.

Finally, when I learned about some of the sad circumstances in Dan Reynolds' personal life as of late, that dichotomy between conflicting, fluctuating emotions made complete sense.

Love That Lasts … Forever?

Reynolds and his band tend to tell stories using impressionistic lyrical flourishes that suggest emotions more than absolutely spelling them out. And so it is here, with Reynolds' evocative lyrics overlaying Kygo's standard-issue, mid-tempo EDM beat.

The first verse contains the seeds of both hope and despair that will germinate and intertwine throughout the balance of the song. We begin with the specter of failure: "I know I've give up/A hundred times before," Reynolds confesses. But then comes the hope that failure won't have the last word: "But I know a miracle/Is not something to ignore."

The song's pre-chorus suggests a relationship descending into accusatory acrimony: "You take me for a fool," Reynolds sings bitterly. But the chorus itself recalls a connection that once felt complete, not fractured: "I never knew anybody 'til I knew you," he sings before veering back into a more melancholy vein: "And I know when it rains, oh, it pours." Still, a poignant line concludes that conflicted chorus: "And I know I was born to be yours."

The second verse hints at the agony of losing something that might be impossible to find again: "Are you the only one/Lost in the millions?" Reynolds wonders. "Or are you my grain of sand/That's blowing in the wind?" Reynolds never answers those questions. But the song's back and forth construction doesn't suggest an optimistic outcome.

Torn Asunder

It's always difficult to know with certainty how autobiographical a particular song's lyrics might be. That said, the context of Reynolds' life right now sure seems to fit the aching vibe of "Born to Be Yours."

Reynolds and his wife, fellow musician Aja Volkman, announced their divorce in April 2018 after seven years of marriage and three daughters together. In an interview with Ellen Degeneres, Reynolds talked about how much they still love each other; he said that they're still best friends and hoped to collaborate musically in the future.

So what went wrong, you ask? Reynolds hinted that the demands of touring, which separated them 90% of the time he said, were simply too big a strain on their marriage.

That set of circumstances—a husband and wife who love each other dearly, yet can't quite figure out how to make things work anymore—mirrors what we hear in "Born to Be Yours." This collaboration teeters between hope and despair, perhaps ultimately tilting in the latter direction.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

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Network

Performance

Topped the iTunes singles chart.

Record Label

Interscope, KIDinaKORNER

Platform

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Released

June 14, 2018

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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