Critical Analysis of “Radioactive”

An inside look into the Imagine Dragons song that changed the world.


Josephine Drake (12) with her favorite band!

Led by the beautiful Dan Reynolds, Imagine Dragons have changed the music industry forever. They consistently release sonically perfect songs, despite knowing they will never be anyone’s favorite band. One of their most iconic songs, “Radioactive,” hit the charts in 2012, and since its release people have been fascinated by the amazing lyricism. I will be doing my best to help you all understand today. 


“Whoa, oh, oh

Whoa, oh, oh 

Whoa, oh, oh”

They chose to begin their work with a very classic line. The Dragons try and evoke a pop and loose feel.

“I’m waking up to ash and dust,”

 Immediately grabs listeners attention, possibly referring to how Dan Reynolds is the modern manifestation of Adam from Adam and Eve.

“ I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust, I’m breathing in the chemicals, INHALE”


Another reference to Dan’s origins, as his spit created the first element and every time he breathes he invents a new natural gas. This is why all the band members are legally required to wear masks 

“ I’m breaking in, shaping up, and checking out on the prison bus” 

 All members of Imagine Dragons are convicted felons, this is a reference to their great diamond heist in late 1522 in which they broke into a ma and pop jewelry store in southern Lebanon and stole 13 million dollars worth of sapphires. They were each sentenced to 5402 years in prison.

“This is it, the apocalypse.”

The band is planning on taking over the world in 2034

“I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones”

They begin their chorus with a blatant lie. Not only do none of the members need sleep to function, but none of them have bones anymore. In their first attempted escape, they all lost all of their bones to Rico Nasty (a Siberian witch), and now are only held upright with popsicle sticks.

“Enough to make my systems blow.”

Honestly don’t know what they’re talking about here, maybe they’re robots?

“Welcome to the New Age, to the New Age.

Welcome to the New Age, to the New Age.”

This line directly refers to Dan’s origins as when he bit into the apple of Satan, he confined his soul to bringing about the New World Order. This is why there is so much eye imagery in songs such as “ Thunder” and “Believer.”

“Whoa oh, oh, oh, oh,

Whoa oh, oh, oh, I’m 

Radioactive, Radioactive”

This line refers to the curse placed on them by Rico Nasty, not only did it replace their bones, but it also made their skin secrete hydrofluoric acid. They are literally radioactive. Hundreds of fans have reported 3rd degree burns after little contact in meet and greets. British senior Josephine Drake reflects “I went to their concert with my great aunt and we both brought our hazmats suits with the hopes that we could maybe get a picture.”

“I raise my flag and dye my clothes,”

They legally have to wear the color lime green at all the time, and this line refers to their practice of dying their clothes every Thursday night. The wealthy band also owns about half of New England and their nation flag is very reminiscent of that of the original Alsace-Lorraine.

“It’s a revolution I suppose” 

Dan Reynolds fought in both the American and Russian revolutions.

“We’re painted red to fit right in.”

This line is actually a double-entendre. It refers to the red singed skin of unprepared fans, and also the color of the Bolsheviks ( the side Dan Reynolds fought on). 

Jordan Thomas (12) after standing too close to the stage



Their favorite dance move (2019)!

The Dragons then repeat their iconic pre-chorus and chorus to lead them into their bridge.

“All systems go, the sun hasn’t died.”

The only entity more powerful than Mr. Reynolds is the sun. In the beginning of the universe, he tried to harness the solar energy and it resulted in the explosion that created the three other band members and all opioids. 

“Deep in my bones, straight from inside”

They really miss their bones and would do anything to find Rico and convince her to return them. 

The band  then repeats the chorus one more time, in a more sullen tone, and listeners are left to dwell on their wise words.