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30 Seconds To Mars - Up In The air

So with great anticipation I sit waiting for the countdown, 3…2…1 and I click the option to skip the stupid forced advert on YouTube. After hearing the news of a new album to be released soon, I’m online to check out the newly released song from 30 Seconds to Mars – Up in the AirSo what did the talent rich Alternative artists compile in this much anticipated release?

The video is quite impressive for the launch of a new album. Brilliant colours and awesome images fill the screen as the electro rock music starts. Awesome scenes fill your screen themed around different viewpoints and angles of the earth as if observed from space. Aurora Borealis, Satellites, deep blue oceans, landscapes and spectacular shots with electric text shocking the lyrics across the scenes with cool animation.

At first the music grabs your attention and  gets your foot a tappin’ while you allow yourself to be taken on the visually attractive ride that suits the track so well. Quite a nice song…

And that’s when I realised that, unfortunately, that is exactly what the problem is. It hit me the way the taste hits you when you accidentally drink from the ashtray beer bottle at a party. A Nice song… Easy to listen… In other words it has successfully disguised itself with cool video to be an awesome new fresh song from the band. Only… it isn’t. As soon as you hear the entry of the choir as backup singers (again???) it is clear the  band has stuck to the trend of their last album with a similar disappointing theme. You instantly know it’s not going to be what long time fans want. It would be a good song, if another artist like Fall Out Boy had done it.

30stm_love_lust_album_art_3

Lemme take you back in time a bit so I can tell you what I’m referring to.

30 Seconds to Mars’ self titled debut album expressed a certain raw ingredient (a phrase which I will often refer to when looking at alternative/rock/metal music) that expressed different emotions and views in the albums tracks. All cleverly served through intelligent lyrics and sense rousing music.

A sense of rebellion (End of the Beginning), a questioning of authority (Oblivion) and social issues (Echelon). So with this album, the band set a benchmark for me.

It showed me that they had something more to offer to the world than the regular mainstream alternative scene, which was growing rapidly at the time. Back then (and even more so today) there was a display of many different cakes, all of the same flavour, but the only difference being the colour of the icing. And 30STM brought a multilayer flavour bomb of awesome.

And who can forget the successful launch of their second album “A Beautiful Lie” with the EPIC song “From Yesterday” and the f#cking Brilliant short film music video that accompanied it.

Man, did this set the bar high! As soon as I got my hands on this album, I realized its undeniable ability to tap into one’s emotion, in a variety of angles. Striking and enlightening it was to listen to the different tracks and allow yourself to get instantly buried in the emotional expressive tracks. Sorrow, compassion and longing (Was it a Dream, a Modern Myth, A Beautiful Lie), Hope and freedom (From Yesterday, Re-Evolve), liberation (Attack, The Fantasy) just to name a few.And not even mentioning videos for Attack, The Kill and A Beautiful Lie. The album, with its combination of differently themed tracks, offered a compilation of brilliant songs. They took the same intelligent lyrics and enthusiasm from the first album and just rammed the dial to 12 in all ways.

The following Album “This is War” had me checking the web every couple of days on updates about the release. And when it finally came, I ended up not even buying it after listening to it at the store. They seemed to have taken a completely different approach: Leto described the band’s third album as a concept album and also stated: “One thing that I thought was missing from 30 Seconds to Mars was a sense of optimism, which I think you feel on songs on this record.”(Montgomery, James (December 8, 2009). “30 Seconds To Mars Get Deep, Dirty On This Is War”MTV. July 29, 2011.)

30stm_love_lust_album_art_2I’ve since put my bias aside and on numerous occasions tried to listen to the whole album to find the thrill in this new optimism. But time after time found myself skipping to the gem of the album “Hurricane” which sees the return of Leto’s passionate artistry in another short film music video.

I have to say that this is another amazing video its availability is limited by its explicit content (banned by all major networks). If not for this, I would have written the album off as a complete fail. Seems to me like the guys were walking next to the river, then tripped and fell into the mainstream. Where is the defining edge from the acoustic version of “The Kill” and “A Modern Myth”?

I get the sense that they attempted to target a different listener group demographic i.e. teenage girls. Perhaps to achieve a make up for the $30Million Virgin lawsuit

Jared Leto has completely blown any “pretty boy” stereotypes (brought on by ridiculous good looks and very respectable acting skills) along with the band and their amazing alternative music.

Conclusion

With the release of this new album debut song, it seems like 30 Seconds to Mars’ is being dragged deeper and deeper into the strong current they tripped into. Will this mark the end of their past glorious, hard hitting and intriguing era of fantastic songs or have they completely found themselves drowning in the “mainstream”? One can only hope for a shimmer of their former glory in the rest of the album, but the chances look slimmer for the Leto brothers. We will post an update as soon as the full album is available.

30 Seconds to Mars’ New Album rumored to be released in May, 2013.

[vimeo 38704588 w=500 h=281]

30 Seconds To Mars – Hurricane ( Uncensored) from Catherine Leszko on Vimeo.