"Radioactive" is an electronic rock and alternative rock song with elements of dub-step that contains cryptic lyrics of apocalyptic and revolutionist themes.
The song became a sleeper hit, peaking at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming the band's first top 10 single as well as being the third best selling song in that country in 2013.
It broke the record for slowest ascension to the top 5 in chart history and holds the record for most weeks spent on the Billboard Hot 100 at 87 weeks.
"Radioactive" received two Grammy Awards nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance, winning the latter.
"Radioactive" was used heavily in promotion for the video game Assassin's Creed III.
The song has also reached number one in Sweden and in the top 20 in several countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, becoming Imagine Dragons' most successful single.
It has been certified Diamond in the USA, making it one of the best selling singles of all time.
The song's lyrics speak of apocalyptic and revolutionist themes.
NPR music critic Ann Powers has opined that the song features strong "religious or spiritual imagery", the likes of which have been common throughout the history of rock music.
The song is written in the key of B minor.
Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio gave the song a rating of 4.5 out of 5, calling it "hook-y and emotional", and stated that the "drama" and "excitement" of the song would allow "Radioactive" to appeal to both alternative pop fans and hard rockers.
AbsolutePunk gave a positive review, calling the acoustic section of the song "haunting", and called the chorus "hypnotizing".
Dara Hickey of Unreality Shout reacted positively, calling the song the "darkest moment" on the album, and stated that, like all the other songs on the album, "Radioactive" was successful in creating a sound that "never fails to take off and send fists skyward".
IGN lauded the song, calling it "strangely intense and abrasive", and stated that "Radioactive" was "perhaps the greatest calling card of Imagine Dragons".
Crave Online called the song an "opening throb", saying that the song "sexes up the dub-flirtation with a verse hinging on the line 'this is it, the apocalypse' and a triumphant chorus, with more than a few shades of Hip-Hop in the production", and that the song was as "radio-ready as they come".
Our Vinyl stated that the "power of this song is outstanding with heavy drums and more of an electronic feel than the rest of the album and strong, impressive vocals from front-man Dan Reynolds which are reciprocated throughout the LP."
Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone was critical of the song, calling it "a dour moaner that sounds like Chris Martin trying to write an Eminem ballad about the end of the world."
It has gone on to sell 8,234,360 digital copies in the USA as of September 2017.
The track is included on the soundtracks for the video games MLB 13: The Show and NBA 2K14.
The song was featured in the commercial for Powerbeats by Dr. Dre and starring LeBron James.
The song was used in the trailer and end credits of the 2013 film The Host.
In the series Arrow, "Radioactive" was used during episode 22 of season 1 for the love scene between characters Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance.
This song was also used in season 5 episode 14 of The Vampire Diaries, as well as the theme for the arrival of a group exiled from space to a post-apocalyptic Earth in the pilot of the TV series The 100.
It was used as the theme song for the Combat Zone Wrestling event Cage of Death XIV, TNA Wrestling PPV Slammiversary XI and for the 2013 television series Inside Combat Rescue on the National Geographic Channel.
The song was played during the end credits of the True Blood season 6 finale of the same name, as well as the HBO Go commercial that immediately preceded the episode.
The song was used in a hype video for a Korean League of Legends tournament hosted by Ongamenet, to introduce the two final teams for their 2013-2014 winter season.
The song was featured in Sony's E3 2013 Press Briefing.
The song was used in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online game trailer.
The video has more than 862 million views and 5 million likes on YouTube as of April 2018.
It is in the top 70 most liked music videos on YouTube Channel.