Portugal. The Man’s John Gourley talked to Spin about the negative criticism Imagine Dragons got for their 2017 album ‘Evolve,’ and fit for the nature of the article, John defended the group. He explained that reasons to enjoy music could be diverse, and the importance of adding context:
“For whatever reason, people were just not having it. I heard it on the radio all the time, but it was really in that moment of going into [my daughter’s] special needs school and seeing those kids sing these songs. When we talk about the love of music, it could be something I would never listen to, but if I see someone truly enjoying it, it puts it in a different context for me.”
Gourley also emphasised the universality of music and pointed out that once musicians work together, or their fans show up to their live performances, it humanises them:
“I grew up in Alaska. I grew up in the woods. I grew up listening to the radio. That’s what we had up there. We couldn’t travel with these record collections. I’ve always had this fascination with songs that connect on this bigger level. I’m living in this cabin. How wild that I’m listening to the same thing that someone might be listening to in London or New York or around the world? They’re incredible musicians. We’ve worked with a lot of the same people. Hearing stories about them, people are like, “Wow, they’re actually really great musicians!” They show up, and people have this realization that this is more than just some radio band.”
John also shared his opinion on music critics giving negative reviews in general:
“This is a really weird debate. It doesn’t seem that complex to me. Clearly people listen to this band. [Their music] gets plays for a reason. And it’s connecting with a different audience.”
In 2022, Imagine Dragons covered a Portugal. The Man song ‘Feel It Still’, as a medley with Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble’.
You can listen to ‘Evolve’ here.