The Meaning Behind “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons, the renowned American pop rock band, consistently amazes fans with their music. One of their hit songs, “Whatever It Takes,” initially debuted as a promotional single on May 9, 2017, through Kidinakorner and Interscope. Later, on October 6, 2017, this captivating track was included as the third single in the band’s third studio album, Evolve.

The song quickly became a fan favorite, earning a spot as the official theme song for WWE’s PPV event Battleground and being featured in the video game Madden NFL 18. The popularity of “Whatever It Takes” continued to skyrocket, and it made its way to US contemporary hit radio on February 13, 2018.

“Whatever It Takes” perfectly showcases Imagine Dragons’ signature style, blending rock and pop genres with an irresistible melody that captivates listeners. Its inspiring lyrics serve as a reminder to remain resilient, regardless of the challenges faced.

In this article, we will dive into the meaning behind the song’s lyrics, examining themes of perseverance, ambition, and overcoming limitations.

Lyrics Interpretation

Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.

Verse 1

Falling too fast to prepare for this

Tripping in the world could be dangerous

Everybody circling is vulturous

Negative, nepotist

The opening verse sets the stage for the song’s theme of facing hardships and overcoming obstacles. The protagonist is thrown into an uncertain world, full of negativity and people who seek to bring them down. The vulturous circling represents the predatory nature of those who prey on the weak or vulnerable. However, the protagonist is determined to rise above these challenges.


Whatever it takes

Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins

I do whatever it takes

Cause I love how it feels when I break the chains

Whatever it takes

Yeah take me to the top, I’m ready for

Whatever it takes

Cause I love the adrenaline in my veins

I do what it takes

The chorus emphasizes the protagonist’s determination and passion to succeed, no matter the cost. The adrenaline in their veins symbolizes the excitement and thrill they feel when they break free from the chains that bind them. The repetition of “whatever it takes” shows unwavering commitment to their goal, even if it requires significant sacrifice and effort.

Verse 2

Always had a fear of being typical

Looking at my body feeling miserable

Always hanging on to the visual

I wanna be invisible

In this verse, the protagonist’s desire to stand out and be unique is evident. They struggle with the idea of being “typical” and yearn for invisibility to escape the pressure of societal norms. The feeling of misery when looking at their body suggests a dissatisfaction with their physical appearance or the expectations placed upon them by society.


Hypocritical, egotistical

Don’t wanna be the parenthetical, hypothetical

Working hard on something that I’m proud of, out of the box

An epoxy to the world and the vision we’ve lost

I’m an apostrophe

I’m just a symbol to remind you that there’s more to see

I’m just a product of the system of catastrophe

And yet a masterpiece, and yet I’m half-diseased

The bridge delves deeper into the protagonist’s struggle with societal expectations and their desire to create something meaningful. They reject the idea of being a mere parenthesis in the world, striving for significance and impact.

The protagonist acknowledges their flaws, describing themselves as both a “masterpiece” and “half-diseased.” The apostrophe metaphor reinforces their role as a symbol that serves as a reminder that there’s more to see and experience in life.

True Meaning Behind “Whatever It Takes”

As the rhythmic beats of Imagine Dragons’ “Whatever It Takes” come pounding through the speakers, one can’t help but feel the raw energy and passion exuding from every note. According to a review by The Guardian, the song was “written with a sports highlights package in mind,” making it the perfect soundtrack to a triumphant montage of sweat, grit, and glory.

Frontman Dan Reynolds roars lines like “I love the adrenaline in my veins,” capturing the heart-pounding thrill of pushing past limits and chasing dreams. The contagious chorus, filled with chart pop’s current obligatory “woah-ohs,” urges you to join the anthem and shout your own commitment to doing whatever it takes.

But there’s more to this energetic anthem than meets the ear. For Reynolds, “Whatever It Takes” is a personal battle cry, an ode to his unyielding ambition. He’s determined to leave a mark on this world, and he won’t back down until he’s accomplished it.

Digging deeper, the song is also a story of healing and overcoming adversity. Reynolds shared with ABC Radio that it’s about “overcoming my own self-confidence issues that I’ve had since I was young.” The lyrics speak to anyone who has ever faced doubt, fear, or pain, urging them to find their inner strength and break free from the chains holding them back.

As the song’s pounding drums and soaring vocals drive you forward, imagine yourself in the heat of your own personal battle – whether it’s on the field, in the gym, or simply within your own mind. Let the lyrics be your war cry, your declaration of resilience and determination, as you face down the obstacles that stand between you and your dreams.

Music Video

Directed by Matt Eastin and Aaron Hymes, the music video is a feast for the eyes with its impressive special effects and subtle nods to the classic horror movie “The Shining.”

The video begins with lead singer Dan Reynolds swimming through a room filled with water. As he navigates through the room, viewers can spot matchbooks with the words “The Overlook Hotel” and “Mt. Qualo, Colorado,” clear references to the iconic film. The band then starts playing in the same room, but it’s no longer underwater. As they perform the chorus, the roof crumbles, and rain starts pouring in, a dramatic and intense moment that sets the tone for the rest of the video.

Despite the rain persisting and the room eventually filling completely with water, the band continues to play. Objects such as boxing gloves and keys float by Reynolds, who also interacts with two people who are seemingly sirens tugging at him from both sides. Before the final chorus, the music stops, and the band floats lifelessly on the water.

But the video doesn’t end there. As the band breaks into song again, the stage has completely changed. The room is no longer underwater, but on fire, creating a surreal and intense visual experience. As the video ends, everything is on fire, and the music stops.

This music video was not only an impressive visual spectacle, but it also won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video. If you’re a fan of Imagine Dragons, horror movies, or just great music videos, this one is a must-see.



Imagine Dragons’ “Whatever It Takes” is more than just an adrenaline-fueled anthem; it’s an invitation to look within yourself, find the fire that burns brightly, and unleash it upon the world. So, as you join the chorus, singing those infectious “woah-ohs,” remember that whatever it takes, you have the power to conquer your fears, overcome your past, and achieve greatness.

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