What does Radioactive mean?

Search Login

Imagine Dragons: Radioactive Meaning

Song Released: 2012

Get "Radioactive" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

Radioactive Lyrics

I'm waking up to ash and dust
I wipe my brow and I sweat my rust
I'm breathing in the chemicals
I'm breaking in, shaping up, then checking out on the prison bus
This is it, the apocalypse

I'm waking up, I feel it in my bones


    click a star to vote
    Jan 24th, 2015 1:38pm report

    I think its about how you were brought down by something and now your going to stand up for yourself. You're waking up from letting your dreams or whatever crushed. And now your going to fight for what's right.


    click a star to vote
    Dec 26th, 2014 12:38pm report

    You guys need to wake up from your nightmare and hear what the meaning of this song really is....


    click a star to vote
    Nov 10th, 2014 11:05pm report

    So, I've heard that one of the songwriters is Mormon, and apparently either from Nevada or Utah.
    I'm living in Nevada so I'm very aware of arguments between red republicans and outnumbered blue dems. Contrary to common belief, there are A LOT of dem Mormons. Take Harry Reid for example.
    So I'm thinking that this is about either republicans taking over and making people use Nevada as a nuclear waste site, or Reds (commies), which many ppl think dems are. However, it could just be that painted red refers to being covered in red dirt or rust: nv has many areas with red canyons.
    They are revolting against the new age, whether it's NWO or just bad people working with Satan in general.
    I really feel that this is about a guy from NV who is being forced to work at a nuclear waste site by republicans, and is consequently covered in red dirt, in order to survive. The whole point of making nv a dump site is to revolutionize the economy, so maybe this is the only job he can get. Maybe this has isolated nv from the rest of the country; from my democratic pov, republicans seem to be trying to make nv like its own little country.
    This guy singing the song is warning Nevadans what will happen to them if they don't stop the making of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site. Yes, they'll survive (sun hasn't died means that world hasn't been destroyed yet), but they won't be living.
    Very political in meaning; if you consider imagine dragons' other songs, you'll understand that this is NOT encouraging NWO or nuclear power. I've read other people's posts; I've thought about the meaning a lot; I'm 100% sure this is a political message against the Yucca Mountain project. Everything fits, especially when I consider the songwriter's origins.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Oct 29th, 2014 10:59pm report

    I think it is about people rising up and standing up for what they believe


    click a star to vote
    Jul 18th, 2014 7:49pm report

    Anyone else get "The Walking Dead"? He talks about waking up to a new age and the main character is just waking up from a coma. Also they are breathing in the chemicals, everyone is already infected. It's the apocalypse. Painted red reminds me of when they cut up the zombie and put his blood all over them to get past all the other.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 24th, 2014 6:15am report

    This is about them worshipping the devil, it's a very bad song and it's clear on the meaning. They believe the end is coming and they fell in with it. Painted red is the mark of the beast, the nwo has been talked about for two millennia, it's coming and they are on the side that can't win. Its sad that no one sees that, media is dangerous as this shows.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Jan 5th, 2014 1:08pm report

    I have three interpretations.

    A person who has woken up from a coma to Find the world has changed into a post apocalyptic world where everything is radioactive.

    We've all seen thee Matrix. Neo waking up to the truth of the world.

    Weve all seen Tomorrow when the war began. When they woke up to the fact they are the only ones left to lead the revolution


    click a star to vote
    Jan 3rd, 2014 1:59am report

    I believe its about the NWO as well.

    "We're painted red, to fit right in"

    red is often the color of repulicans and conservatives but being catorgorized is to help keep people divided. "right wing nut jobs"

    "I'm radioactive"

    There are a number of anti-NWO radio talk shows.

    "i'm checking out of a prison bus"
    I instantly thought fema camps, where they would take all the awake.


    click a star to vote
    Jan 1st, 2014 1:07pm report

    Radioactive pretty much means where we are now, in the "New Age." You wake up to "ash and dust", the muck and smog of our "new and better" society, and "sweat my rust" means you've been slaving away for those above you and its time to clear yourself up.
    The prison bus is what takes him around each day. (Ever seen a public bus? Pretty similar...) He's Radioactive because the world around him is tainted and ill-fated, and he shines like the morning sun in the bloody mist that will layer the Earth soon. OUR earth soon...
    "Raise my flags, dye my clothes, its a revolution I suppose" means the people are finally seeing what they've helped to create and are now choosing their side to fight.
    "Paint it red to fit right in, woah" Red, white, blue? Red is the color of blood. Blood is the color of shame and murder and death. WE will be RED white and blue...
    "All systems go, sun hasn't died, deep in my bones, straight from inside, revolution is on, hope hasn't died..." It means all systems, including US will go, but the sun will run on longer, allowing more systems to thrive. Deep in his bones, he feels that the revolution against what we've created will go on, until we are all no more...
    (Rate me! ;) )


    click a star to vote
    Dec 4th, 2013 12:26pm report

    To me it's about "wakeing up" and seeing what is really going on and going agaist the mass for what is right...


    click a star to vote
    Sep 26th, 2013 9:05pm report

    It's about nuclear testing in Nevada where over 900 nuclear bombs detonated some above most below ground. About people living near and working at NTS. The song writer was born and lived in Nevada. Workers took a (prison) buses innocently to work. DOE said it was safe but WE Are Radioactive.


    click a star to vote
    Sep 20th, 2013 9:19am report

    This is about the sudden realization that the so-called "weak" have power. This feeling of being "radioactive" testifies to this. Not only is radioactivity related to the awesome power of nuclear technology, but also the potential to change the world. The only way to do that, is to tap into that power and use it for change.

    The plot of the song is about an individual having that realization. He goes through the daily routine, waking up to ash and dust (his poor living conditions), breathing in the chemicals (things in life meant to subdue and keep him doped up, so to speak). But now he is getting off the prison bus and is deciding to welcome a new age of humanity. And how does he welcome it? Revolution.

    However there is something to beware of. People are not so keen on cooperating effectively. Look at the Occupy movement in the US. It did not amount to anything. They just raised their flags and donned their clothes and hoped it would result in a, supposed, revolution. But it failed. That new age. That rising sun....it stopped. But the sun hasn't died. The People still have a chance. They always have the potential to be change the world. They are Radioactive.


    click a star to vote
    Sep 6th, 2013 9:47am report

    I think it would be a good theme song for the walking dead as that is what it reminds me of.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 25th, 2013 7:19pm report

    It seems based on the show Jericho. First episode has the prison bus escape. The EMP from the nuke blew all of the electrical systems. The group that set it off was trying to start a new age without corrupt politicians (naturally failed). The second season starts with a new flag for the Allied States of America. It ends with the start of a revolution to restore America. The whole series is about waking up to what could happen if we just left things in the current path.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Jul 10th, 2013 7:08pm report

    Age of Aquarius, anyone? Welcome to the New Age.
    "Waking up" is a theme throughout the song as it is mentioned many times. An "awakening" is taking place in the singer and also those he is encountering this "revolution" with - a spiritual awakening perhaps.
    The real world manifestations he encounters is war and destruction, changes in social structures, technological advances, "radioactive" may refer to nuclear weaponry as many have pointed out, the "apocalypse" of one world view to give rise to another. Welcome to the New Age.

More Imagine Dragons song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

XIX anonymous
Disasterpiece anonymous
Real Friends anonymous
My Oh My anonymous
Liar anonymous
Go Stupid anonymous
Kiwi anonymous
Us and Them anonymous
End of Time anonymous
Learning to Fly anonymous
Bird Song anonymous
Two Weeks anonymous
Garden anonymous
Deleter anonymous
Style anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Almost Maybes
Jordan Davis
Never Have I Ever
Danielle Bradbery
I Called Mama
Tim McGraw
Senior Year
Drew Baldridge
Bloody Valentine
Machine Gun Kelly
Pain 1993
Zoo York
Lil Tjay