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Rock hits nadir: Imagine Dragons debut at top of Billboard's Top 200

Through keen use of pounding drums and cliche-driven emotions, Imagine Dragons debuts at No. 1 at Billboard.

Imagine Dragons, the bombastic modern rock band with lyrics about overcoming epic struggles, doing battles with demons both known and unknown and feeling radioactive, has prevailed: The Las Vegas-birthed group's new album, "Smoke + Mirrors," has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 album charts.

It's the first time that the quartet has reached the summit; its debut album, the platinum-selling "Night Visions," fought a worthy battle with great fortitude, but only managed to hit No. 2. Produced by hitmaker Alex da Kid and issued through his Interscope-affiliated KIDinaKORNER imprint, the band's second album features the hit "I Bet My Life."

Through keen, piercing use of many pounding drums, cliche-driven emotions and explosive dynamics, the band successfully knocked from the top Canadian rapper Drake, whose surprise release of "If You're Reading This, It's Too Late" premiered at No. 1 last week. According to Billboard, that record has gone gold and then some: it's tallied an impressive 624,000 sales less than two weeks after its release.

The rest of the top ten includes the soundtrack to "Fifty Shades of Grey," Taylor Swift's "1989," Ed Sheeran's "X," Sam Smith's "In the Lonely Hour," Maroon 5's "V," Meghan Trainor's "Title," Nicki Minaj's "The Pinkprint" and Hozier's "Hozier."

The reigning questions: How much fortitude do Imagine Dragons and vocalist Dan Reynolds have? Can they prevail over so many rivals? Is this the best that commercial rock has to offer in 2015? Will someone please do something?

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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