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Thirty Seconds to Mars fall victim to their ego on “America”

Alex Toth

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Jared Leto & Co. have always been trend-hoppers. From the emo-tinged alternative of 2005’s “A Beautiful Lie” to their artsy electro-rock venture “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams” in 2013, the band have always performed in line with the latest radio craze.

And for four albums, it worked. It’s a testament to Leto’s songwriting abilities that he’s been able to make such unoriginal music sound so good for so long. Unfortunately, on “America”, it sounds like he’s not even trying anymore. In fact, the entire band’s talent has regressed to a level that I would’ve never thought possible back in 2009, when they released “This Is War”. Where that record was a fiery explosion of passion fueled by a hellish lawsuit with their record label and backed by the voices of 1,000 fans, “America” is derivative and vapid, devoid of any creative spark the band may have had in the past.

The only things that remain from the band’s previous albums are their absolute worst traits. The incessant “woah oh oh’s” in every chorus have returned yet again, as have Leto’s cringe-inducing attempts at eroticism with raspy, whispered vocals. Pseudo-deep lyrics regarding themes of love, sex, religion, politics and war have also found their way back into a Mars album, to no one’s surprise. Meanwhile, Shannon Leto’s drums and Tomo Milicevic’s guitars have been banished almost entirely, replaced by simple electronic booms and lifeless synth compositions. Nearly every song on the record is centered around a mildly catchy chorus, followed by a slickly produced electronic break, ad infinitum until the next song begins. By track 4, it’s a snoozefest; by track 10, it’s unbearable.

To make matters worse, the music isn’t even this album’s greatest flaw. That honor goes to its marketing. Don’t get me wrong, Thirty Seconds to Mars (and Jared Leto especially) have always reeked of pretentiousness, but never have they attempted something so painfully self-important. You’d think that naming an album “America” would mean it has something to do with… well… America. And Leto himself has said as much.

The band’s social media has referred to it as, “a creative journey through the lyrics and stories of Thirty Seconds to Mars and a hard look at some of the issues America faces. It’s a call to action for Americans to look up from their phones, take notice, and get involved. This album and museum is as experiential as it is lyrical. It comes with a message that is loud and clear.”

If that’s the message that this trite, soulless collection of songs is supposed to convey, then I’m not hearing it. And don’t even get me started on the awful “lists” that plague the album’s various covers. Sorry Jared, but I don’t think any of your fans care to see America’s six most popular sex positions plastered on a mustard yellow background on the front of your new album.

Long story short, “America” is not good. It’s an album that feels like nothing more than an exercise in narcissistic futility, an effort to see just how big they can get. Please people, do the world a favor, and don’t let it be successful.

Sails: 1/5

 

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “Thirty Seconds to Mars fall victim to their ego on “America””

  1. Ana Baptista on April 10th, 2018 2:03 pm

    Congratulations for this article, you absolutely wrote everything that I was thinking about this album. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love Thirty Seconds to Mars, but that was in a time when they were an actual band, not just Jared, and his ego. Their first album was a masterpiece for me, that level of quality dropped on their third album, and it ceased on their fourth when Tomo was completely put aside, only to be replaced by synthesizers and poor electronic mixes. But this album totally killed all my sympathy for the band, Shannon and Tomo were completely forgotten, (ironically the best song on the album is “Remedy” where Shannon sings), and Jared’s voice is so full of autotune, that it seems that he was replaced by a robot. And the pretentiousness of it!! God, I thought LLFD was pretentious but this was way worse!! The saddest part is that they used to be my favourite band, and now that they are finally going to play a concert near the town I live, I no longer want to see them.
    PS: Sorry for the long text, and sorry for any mistakes I made, English is not my mother language.

    [Reply]

  2. deck on April 10th, 2018 7:27 pm

    Haters gonna hate

    [Reply]

  3. stephen mallett on April 10th, 2018 9:26 pm

    Go back and listen to “Dawn will Rise” and “Hail to the Victor”

    Give them some love for shaking things up. They know their fans and they don’t care to take some risks.

    [Reply]

  4. Cory on April 11th, 2018 6:55 am

    THIS Article is very good. Fans going to be on here bashing, but we all have to be honest: The Album is horrible. 30 Seconds to Jared Leto’s one man show.

    [Reply]

  5. Anna on April 14th, 2018 10:49 am

    This album is a very different 30 seconds to mars this is for sure. But to expect the same music theme in all albums it would be like to expect someone to live every single day of life in one manner, this is impossible to do. I personally a huge fan of 30STM and I do not like 50% of new album, but now one can please everyone, and while some people will hate other will love. And all songs I do love from new album I see a strong connection with America theme, “hail to the victor” for instance is rich of my own story here,but it also depends on every person experience and not everyone can relate to that.

    [Reply]

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Thirty Seconds to Mars fall victim to their ego on “America”