Imagine Dragons “Believer” Lyrics Meaning

“Believer” is a song by Imagine Dragons, an American pop rock band. It came out on February 1, 2017, as the main single from their album “Evolve” (2017). The band members Dan Reynolds, Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, and Daniel Platzman, along with Justin Tranter, wrote the song. It was produced by Mattman & Robin.

The song “Believer” talks about finding strength during hard times. The lead singer, Dan Reynolds, drew from his own struggles, such as dealing with ankylosing spondylitis and emotional challenges. He wanted to show that facing and accepting difficulties can make you stronger.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the lyrics’ meaning.

“Believer” Lyrics Meaning

[Verse 1]

First things first

I’ma say all the words inside my head

I’m fired up and tired of

The way that things have been, oh-ooh

The way that things have been, oh-ooh

In Verse 1, the singer begins by expressing a sense of urgency, saying “First things first.” He talks about having a lot of thoughts and emotions bottled up inside his head, suggesting that he’s been holding onto them for a while.

The phrase “I’m fired up and tired of” implies that he’s both passionate and exhausted about something.

The next line, “The way that things have been,” repeats twice, emphasizing the frustration or dissatisfaction the singer feels with the current situation. 

[Verse 2]

Second things second

Don’t you tell me what you think that I could be

I’m the one at the sail

I’m the master of my sea, oh-ooh

The master of my sea, oh-ooh

In Verse 2, the singer starts by saying “Second things second,” which implies that he’s moving on to the next important point he wants to make.

The line “Don’t you tell me what you think that I could be” suggests that the singer is rejecting others’ expectations or limitations placed upon him. Instead, he asserts his own agency and self-belief.

The next line, “I’m the one at the sail,” compares the singer to a sailor navigating his own ship, which symbolizes his control over his own destiny. He declares himself as “the master of my sea,” reinforcing the idea of self-mastery and control over his own life. 


I was broken from a young age

Taking my sulkin’ to the masses

Writing my poems for the few

That look at me, took to me, shook at me, feelin’ me

Singing from heartache from the pain

Taking my message from the veins

Speaking my lesson from the brain

Seeing the beauty through the…

In the Pre-Chorus, the singer reflects on his past struggles and how they have shaped him into the person he is today. He begins by recounting that he was “broken from a young age,” suggesting that he has faced challenges and difficulties from a tender age.

The singer then describes how he channeled his emotions and experiences into creative outlets, such as writing poems and sharing his message with others. He mentions “taking my sulkin’ to the masses,” which implies that he turned his pain and sadness into something meaningful that resonated with others.

The phrase “Singing from heartache from the pain” emphasizes the raw emotion and vulnerability behind his creative expression. He shares his message “from the veins” and “from the brain,” suggesting that his art is deeply personal and comes from the core of his being.


Pain! You made me a, you made me a

Believer, believer

Pain! You break me down, you build me up

Believer, believer

Pain! Oh, let the bullets fly, oh, let them rain

My life, my love, my drive, it came from…

Pain! You made me a, you made me a

Believer, believer

The chorus is structured around the repetition of the word “Pain,” which serves as a central motif throughout the song. The singer acknowledges that pain has played a significant role in shaping him, declaring, “You made me a, you made me a Believer, believer.” This line suggests that the challenges he has faced have ultimately strengthened his beliefs and convictions.

The following line, “You break me down, you build me up,” refers to the cyclical nature of growth and resilience. Despite being broken down by pain, the singer emerges stronger and more resilient than before.

The imagery of bullets flying and raining down suggests a sense of chaos and turmoil, but the singer remains steadfast in the face of adversity.

He asserts that his life, love, and drive have all been shaped by pain, sining, “My life, my love, my drive, it came from…, Pain! You made me a, you made me a, Believer, believer.”

[Verse 3]

Third things third

Send a prayer to the ones up above

All the hate that you’ve heard

Has turned your spirit to a dove, oh-ooh

Your spirit up above, oh-ooh

In Verse 3, the line “Third things third” suggests that the singer is moving on to address a third important point or aspect of their message. It’s a phrase used to emphasize prioritization, implying that what follows is significant.

The following line “Send a prayer to the ones up above” is a call to action, urging people to direct their thoughts or requests to a higher power, often interpreted as referring to God or a spiritual force. It suggests seeking guidance, support, or intervention from a divine entity.

The lines “All the hate that you’ve heard, Has turned your spirit to a dove, oh-ooh, Your spirit up above, oh-ooh” suggest that the negative words, criticism, or hostility that the person has encountered have transformed into feelings of peace, purity, and perhaps even reaching a higher level. Doves are known for peace, purity, and spirituality in many cultures.

[Pre-Chorus 2]

I was chokin’ in the crowd

Building my rain up in the cloud

Falling like ashes to the ground

Hoping my feelings, they would drown

But they never did, ever lived, ebbin’ and flowin’

Inhibited, limited ’til it broke open and rained down

It rained down, like…

In the second Pre-Chorus, the singer starts by describing a suffocating feeling, saying, “I was chokin’ in the crowd.” It means that he feels isolated and struggling to to move through a crowd, maybe symbolizing the overwhelming challenges he’s faced. 

Then, the lyrics talk about “Building my rain up in the cloud, Falling like ashes to the ground,” showing intense emotional turmoil and despair. The metaphor of rain being built up in a cloud suggests pent-up emotions or struggles accumulating over time, only to come crashing down like ashes to the ground. 

Next, “Hoping my feelings, they would drown, But they never did, ever lived, ebbin’ and flowin’,” shows a wish to escape or numb the pain, but realizing that the emotions persist and fluctuate like the ebb and flow of tides.

Finally, “Inhibited, limited ’til it broke open and rained down, It rained down, like…,” hints at a breakthrough or moment of clarity in the darkness. The image of rain breaking open and pouring down suggests a release of emotions, leading to a feeling of relief or renewal.

[Verse 4]

Last things last

By the grace of the fire and the flames

You’re the face of the future

The blood in my veins, oh-ooh

The blood in my veins, oh-ooh

In Verse 4, the singer begins with the phrase “Last things last,” referring to a final point or resolution in the his narrative.

The singer expresses gratitude and acknowledges the role of challenges and adversity in shaping him, stating, “By the grace of the fire and the flames.” The imagery of fire and flames evokes notions of purification and renewal, implying that the singer has been transformed through his struggles.

The next line, “You’re the face of the future,” suggests a sense of optimism and hope for what lies ahead. This line may reference a person or entity that has played a significant role in the singer’s transformation, serving as a beacon of guidance and inspiration.

The final line, “The blood in my veins, oh-ooh,” suggests that this influence runs deeply within him, shaping his identity and guiding his path forward.

[Pre-Chorus 3]

But they never did, ever lived, ebbin’ and flowin’

Inhibited, limited ’til it broke open and rained down

It rained down, like…

The pre-chorus begins with a repetition of the lines, “But they never did, ever lived, ebbin’ and flowin’,” which emphasizes the ongoing nature of the singer’s internal battles.

The next lines, “Inhibited, limited ’til it broke open and rained down, It rained down, like…,” suggest a breakthrough or moment of clarity following a period of inhibition. The imagery of rain breaking open and pouring down evokes a sense of release and renewal, symbolizing the cathartic release of pent-up emotions or struggles.

The pre-chorus concludes with an ellipsis, leaving the phrase “like…” unfinished. This open-ended conclusion invites interpretation and reflection, allowing people to fill in the blank with their own experiences of overcoming adversity.

Deeper Meaning Behind “Believer”

Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds has faced numerous challenges in his life, including depression, ADD, anxiety, and a chronic inflammatory condition called ankylosing spondylitis.

In the band’s third album, the first song “Believer” tackles his emotional struggles. Regarding the song’s meaning, Reynolds said, “This song explains my realization that the emotional pain I faced the last few years actually helped me progress to this healthier mental space – that adversity truly is what helps you become a believer in yourself.”

In a 2017 interview with People, Dan Reynolds revealed that the song was inspired by his experiences with ankylosing spondylitis in 2015. He said:

“The meaning of the song is really reflecting on specific things in my life that were painful, whether it was anxiety and dealing with crowds, feeling overwhelmed by that or the success of the band, disease, going through depression—anything that was a source of pain in my life. And just rising above that, finding a place of perspective where I could be appreciative of the pain in my life and make it my greatest strength.”

The music video for the song was directed by Matt Eastin, known for his work on Imagine Dragons’ “On Top Of The World,” “Roots,” and “Shots (Broiler Remix)” videos. In the psychedelic visual, Dan Reynolds gets ready to fight action star Dolph Lundgren in a boxing match.

Reynolds said, “Believer’ is about finding a place of peace and self-confidence. The video depicts a man facing his inner self, the toughest critic of all while paying homage to some of the classic movies we grew up with.”

In the lyrics, the imagery of rain and fire in the song symbolizes purification and renewal, suggesting that the singer has emerged stronger from his struggles.

Overall, “Believer” is a testament to the human spirit’s ability to overcome adversity and find strength in the face of challenges. It’s a song that resonates with listeners who have experienced struggles of their own, serving as a reminder that even in our darkest moments, there is hope for transformation and growth.

Leave a Comment

Join My Lyrics Writing Course