Cliff-pop-song-professor.png

Welcome!

My name's Clifford Stumme, and I explain the deeper meanings of popular songs. Let's have a conversation about what you think about the songs and go deeper together. Feel free to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "I Don't Know Why" by Imagine Dragons means?

What does "I Don't Know Why" by Imagine Dragons means?

"I Don't Know Why" Lyrics Meaning

"I Don't Know Why" is the first song from Imagine Dragons's new album Evolve. It might be one of the poppiest songs we've ever heard from them (at least until you listen to "Start Over" which goes so far as to adopt a Justin Bieber jungle beat). "I Don't Know Why" only goes so far as to be a pulsing, pumping pop rock smasher that reminds me more of Demi Lovato or Maroon 5. The song is intense, sexy, and lyrically focused on dangerous love.

"Your love is always dangerous"

Honestly, the lyrics of "I Don't Know Why" sound generic and poppy. I don't know how much of the song is to Dan Reynolds, but the band had help from Justin Tranter, a currently very successfully industry songwriter, so it makes sense that these lyrics would be a little more generic. After all, much of Tranter's work is generic enough to be saleable without being uncomfortably personal, but that personableness is what we love from Imagine Dragons, so I think analyzing these lyrics is going to be an interesting bit of gymnastics.

Verse 1

We could be strangers in the night
We could be passing in the shadows
We couldn't be closer if we tried
When we're caught in the headlights
We could be faces in the crowd
We could be passing in the shadows
Loving the risk of being found
When we're caught in the headlights
Dangerous
Your love is always dangerous
And now I'm lost in us
We're living in a lying trust

Imagine Dragons tells the mysterious object of the narrator's affections that they "could be strangers in the night" or "could be passing the shadows." These lines seem to contradict the third line "We couldn't be closer if we tried" since "strangers in the night" suggests they don't know each other, but perhaps this refers to a mysterious and unpredictable characteristic to their relationship.

Imagine Dragons continues that "[w]hen we're caught in the headlights / We could be faces in the crowd." Perhaps they don't want others to know they're together, but on their own, they are as close as can be. And this is confirmed a few lines later when Dan Reynolds sings that they're "[l]oving the risk of being found." And they like this element of risk because part of the appeal of this relationship is that it feels "[d]angerous." Imagine Dragons tells the target of "I Don't Know Why," "Your love is always dangerous / And now I'm lost in us." She entices the narrator and makes him forget other things. He finishes the verse by saying that they're "living in a lying trust," which is an ironic statement since they trust each other even if they are lying to everyone else. They have faith in one another but don't extend that trust to others enough to let friends know about the relationship.

Chorus

I don't know why
But I guess it's got something to do with you
To do with you

The chorus vaguely has Dan Reynolds's narrator pondering the idea that this love of the "dangerous" has "got something to do with you." He doesn't make it clear what the "it" that has "something to do with" her is, but this is likely just a vague way of complimenting the way that she has him infatuated with her. 

Verse 2

I was a faking alibi
Trading the truth in for a lie, oh
We were the essence of desire
And were caught in the headlights
Dangerous
Your love is always dangerous
And now I'm lost in us
We're living in a lying trust

Imagine Dragons's narrator tells us that he "was a faking alibi / Trading the truth in for a lie," suggesting perhaps that perhaps he was either ignoring part of his own preferences to allow himself to date her or that he was "living a lie" before he started dating her and truly came into his own because now they are "the essence of desire."

And he loves the thrill of being "[d]angerous" that he gets from being with her as they are "caught in the headlights," caught in this relationship that they have to make quick decisions about.

Deeper Meaning of "I Don't Know Why": Deep or Nah? Nah.

I honestly don't know what to say about this song, and I want to blame Justin Tranter, but I know he's just doing his job. Other Imagine Dragons songs have seemed so deep, and this song just seems like so much pop fluff that I try so hard to wade through and find true gems in, but there aren't even any hidden gems in this song sadly. "I Don't Know Why" is about a relationship that feels dangerous to the man involved, a common pop theme echoed in songs like "Dangerous Woman" by Ariana Grande or "False Alarm" by The Weeknd. Re-read the above lyrics and see if you can identify anything in them that suggests anything specific or that Dan Reynolds was even the one to write them. Even though I love Imagine Dragons, I bet you won't be able to find anything. I couldn't. 

 

What does "Yesterday" by Imagine Dragons mean?

What does "Yesterday" by Imagine Dragons mean?

What does "Mouth of the River" by Imagine Dragons mean?

What does "Mouth of the River" by Imagine Dragons mean?