The Meaning of the Song "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragon

Categories: Song

There is a lot confusion when it comes to the exact meaning of Imagine Dragon song Radioactive. There has a been different opinions on what radioactive actually means since the song was released. The artists behind the song never clearly state what the meaning actually means and thus letting their fans to figure it out for themselves. Even though there are many point of views of the songs meaning, there is only one that makes the most sense. The music video shows a person who is behind bars for a very long time.

When the finally get out, they are a witness to a new age which is very different from their previous perspective. A more deeper meaning for this song could be that this song was meant to show how the world became more advanced or futuristic. Then the person is witnessing all of this for the first time in their life. If one is trapped in a prison like place, then let free to a world that is completely different the last time they saw it, where the person family and friends have all passed away and everything has changed.

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The first part of the song shows us the struggle of how life in prison is. Stuck behind bars, no way to escape, etc. The lyrics stating, I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust are referring to the never-ending labor that comes with being locked up in prison. Then the lyrics breathing in the chemicals” are referring to how prisoners are smoking to deal with stress and psychological aspects that come with being incarcerated.

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For the lyrics breaking in, the song is describing how when prisoners first arrive at the prison, they are broken in like how you would train a dog to be house broken. The lyrics shaping up refers to how the person is on probation. This is true because then the next lyrics checking out of the prison bus come after showing that the person was able to pass the test during their probation. The lyrics this it, the apocalypse shows the audience that when the person gets out prison after being locked for so many years, the world is going to be unrecognizable to them once they leave prison.

For how this song came to be, they state a source on how it happened. This helps make their credibility as artists stronger to appeal to ethos. One source is when they were working with another producer for the song. The group stated that producer comes from an urban background and this helped with the creation of the song since the band was already into this type of style. The band ultimately wanted their song to sound different from anything that anyone has ever heard. The group state that the song refers to self-empowerment but also about their own struggles of anxiety and depression as well. And because they give a source to how their song came about, their credibility is real as they show how they started. They also state that they have their own personal struggles as well, which clearly shows that the group has firsthand experience with this sort of issue.

The way that they use pathos, logos, and ethos are very interesting. They use ethos by using the purple monster and the main villain who was sitting in a big chair. He had a lot of money and was smoking on a cigar. The video shows that he was clearly in charge though the never video never flat out says it. The way that he was shown made it very obvious. The way that they use logos was very interesting. The video was leading our minds down one way then went another way. The video was funny to watch. It was kind of depicting a cock fight at first but ended up showing us fights between stuffed animals. And one animal had superpowers that ended up saving all the other stuffed animals. And the girl who owned the bear was able to make it all happen. It’s pretty funny if you think about it. The way they use pathos is by making the audience feel bad for how the stuffed animals are being treated because they were all just being eaten and beaten up by the purple monster. It is supposed to make the audience have anger towards the ring leader because while he is on the top floor having stuffed animals fight to the death, the imagine dragons crew are below everything happening being kept as prisoners. We know that this very wrong and wanted to see the champion stuffed animal and the ring leader lose.

The band is known for making their songs relate to some experiences in their life, the overall topic for this song seems to make sense for their type of genre of music. There isn’t really any concrete evidence that someone in the band has ever been in this type of predicament before but maybe this song was written about someone close to one of the members of the group. But for the most part, the group tend to focus on and write songs that are based on personal experience. We can all agree when the word radioactive being used to describe that living in prison can change one’s image of the world and after being locked up for so long, the world you once knew will never be the same once you leave prison. These lyrics have hidden meanings behind them. Maybe relating to how one’s hope hasn’t died in prison and that moving on with your life after being in a very bad place for so long. It really comes down to the will of a person to move past all their hardships and keep on living. The lyrics are supposed to show the audience the hardships of the artists and help us through our rough patched in our life. Learn from their experiences and how to overcome them. The group seems like they want to give the audience a glimpse into the future. So by giving them advice now, they will be prepared for anything that will be thrown their way.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Meaning of the Song "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragon. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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