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In Imagine Dragon's song Polaroid, there's a certain line that gets repeated throughout the song:

I am the color of boom

What is the meaning of this line? Does it mean like an explosion of color, or like a firework? How does "boom" have a color?

3 Answers 3

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The singer feels like an unfulfilled promise, or an anticlimax.

In terms of what this lyric means in the song, I think the interpretation is best understood when you examine the lyrical pairings that come after it. The full lyric in question is:

I am the color of boom / That's never arriving

Then, after that, there are two different lyrics that pair with it, one from the first chorus and the other from the second chorus.

...And you are the pay raise / Always a touch out of view (first chorus)

...And you are the opera / Always on time and in tune (second chorus)

Both of these are, lyrically, expressing the idea that while the singer is an unfulfilled anticlimax (a boom that never arrives), the person referenced in the song as "you" is a pay raise and an in-tune opera, a satisfying climax who delivers on the promise given. They are the opposite of an anticlimax.

This interpretation is reinforced by another, fairly straightforward line from the song:

I am a head case.

It also pairs with the meaning of the song as a whole, expressing the singer's misfortunes in life and his frustration that his failings get in the way of his relationships. He's singing about how he can never seem to find the picturesque, "Polaroid" romance, a relationship goal that he can never seem to achieve. If you think of the "color of boom" being like a firework, something that would obviously be right at home in a photograph, I think that explains the strange choice of imagery.

From all of these lines taken together, we can take the meaning of these lyrics to be that the singer, in comparison to the person he's singing about, feels like a failure and someone who never delivers on their promises, compared to the person who always delivers what they promise - being in-tune, on-time, etc.

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    the pay raise / Always a touch out of view might be just as chimerical as the color of boom / That's never arriving? Why out of view if the person he's singing about is completeness and perfection? And I've attended too many operas to be sanguine about there being one that's Always on time and in tune. Maybe the addressee is just as imperfect as the speaker here? Just wondering.
    – verbose
    Feb 19, 2021 at 10:06
  • I think a really interesting point to reinforce this point is that "boom" is usually not sung or glossed over in the repetition. The song usually goes "I am the color of - All my life I've been living in the fast lane" skipping the word "boom". Feb 21, 2021 at 0:47
  • That's an interesting perspective, but I have to disagree. I think when the singer refers to himself as the color of boom, he means that one of his most visible characteristics is his repeated spectacular failures.
    – mrog
    Mar 10, 2023 at 22:52
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I definitely believe he is talking about his cons/failures and when talking about his love, "you," when he says:

you are the payraise, always a touch out of view

He is talking about how "you" is something he wants but knows he probably won't obtain, and when he says:

you are the opera, always on time and in tune

He is comparing them to perfect versus how imperfect he is himself.

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"The color of boom" is an expression of having a chaotic manner.

Being ADHD with a tic-related neurological disorder makes it difficult for me to focus and stay organized. I have a tendency to flit from one activity to another, get ideas for things I want to do while trying to stay in the moment, and "need" to act on impulsions and lose sight of the fact that someone is waiting for me, or there is a deadline that needs to be met. I even still wander off in stores. Hence I am never arriving on time or at all.

Life with me can be hectic, unpredictable, and full of colorful creativity, an emotional roller coaster. A head case the color of Boom. And I can easily let you down without intention, so love never lasts. It's like a Poloroid, a snapshot in time that becomes a memory.

At least that's how I relate to the song.

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    Hi and welcome to Literature SE. This interpretation is interesting but relates the phrase solely to your experience. The answer would be stronger if it were related more specifically to the song or even to the musicians—are any of the bandmembers of Imagine Dragon known to be neuroatypical? Thanks!
    – verbose
    Apr 30, 2023 at 5:12

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