Thirty Seconds to Mars Returns

: Andrew Wessel, Herald Contributor

After five long years, Thirty Seconds to Mars has finally released their long-anticipated fifth album, “America.”  The new album was released on April 6 and holds 12 brand new tracks. Thirty Seconds to Mars is composed of singer and actor Jared Leto (vocals, guitars),  his older brother Shannon Leto (drums, percussion), and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar, keyboards). They are an American rock band from Los Angeles, California and have been making music since 1998.

Overall, the album has a modern indie pop sound that will appeal to most listeners.  There are many electronic elements used in this album, following a growing trend among artists in the genre in recent years.  The record also features two appearances by guest artists. On track four, “One Track Mind,” Hip-Hop artist A$AP Rocky provides a verse, while track six, “Love Is Madness,” features pop singer Halsey. Throughout the album, there are lyrics and sounds used that pay homage to the band’s previous albums.  This is heard primarily in the song “Monolith,” which uses themes from the 2013 album “Love, Lust, Faith, and Dreams.”

The first track that really grabbed my ear was “Great Wide Open.”  In this song, Leto talks about America and what it has to offer. The chorus begins, “Into the great wide open / Across a land of blood and dreams.”  Here, he is clearly referring to the land of the free, the blood that has been spilled for it, and the dreams that people have fought to achieve here. In the beginning of the song, Leto sings “Say the prayers of a thousand tongues,” referring to the massive amount of diversity among people in this country.  He continues, “Is this love? Some new beginning?” speaking on how he envisions an immigrant would feel when first arriving in America. The song has a gospel/church vibe and gradually crescendos in volume throughout the entirety of its duration. As the song progresses, more instruments and sounds are added to give extra effect.  To those who know the band’s discography, the song feels as if it could have been straight off of 2009 release “This Is War.”

The next song that I liked was “Hail to the Victor.”  It has a similar feel to many modern EDM songs that you would hear on the radio.  It begins with piano and electronic effects, followed by the introduction of vocals. The beat then kicks in and gradually gets faster, building up for a drop. Leto then sings, “Is everybody out here crazy? / Anybody want a war? . Everybody out here crazy, / Hail to the Victor,” before the bass drop commences.  This is where the heaviest part of the song begins, giving a club-like feel. I would recommend this song to those who want to spice up their party playlists.

The last song that stood out to me was “Remedy.”  This is the first song where Jared Leto does not sing on a track in the Thirty Seconds to Mars discography.  This song was actually written and performed by the drummer of the band, Shannon Leto. It is a song about Shannon questioning Jared on specific topics, such as love, life, and pain.  This is especially heard in the lyrics “Hey man, there ya go again, / On your own again, / You’re breaking hearts again.” It is mostly just acoustic guitar and vocals, aside from a few piano effects in parts of the song.  The chorus is where Shannon discusses pain and this search for its remedy. He sings, “Alright, okay, / Do you hear what I got to say? / I’m searching for a remedy.”

This album has been well worth the wait.  It has something for everyone and continues to hold the classic Thirty Seconds to Mars sound.  The band has evolved with the music industry and are thriving in it. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.