I don’t know why singer (and famous actor) Jared Leto and company decided to spell the word Thirty instead of simply using the number 30 this time around. Perhaps it’s an attempt to put some distance between this and their previous albums? But one wonders why they would do that when their last two albums both went platinum? Perhaps it’s some attempt to finally win over the critics, who haven’t exactly been kind to the band? No, that would be too obvious. If anything, changing their name from 30 to Thirty will give the band’s worst critics another reason to pick on them. And, let’s face it, the critics have had a good time tearing this band to shreds. To say that they’ve picked on them is putting it lightly. However, it should seem obvious to anyone with half a brain that no band is capable of being quite so terrible as the critics have painted this band.
I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who called this album bombastic, but it’s bombastic in the best way possible. “I’ve been up in the air, chasing the dream,” Leto sings during “Up In The Air” and it’s easy to envision the band performing this song in major stadiums. It’s gigantic arena rock like that. Many of the songs on this album remind me of Muse, both Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars being forward-thinking, big rock bands that tend to get a little proggy. Why is it that Muse gets such critical acclaim while Mars gets spit on? I suspect it’s because Leto is an actor. Worse, he’s a ridiculously good-looking actor. The critics who seek to destroy his band with their biting reviews are likely jealous. Jealous of his acting career and jealous of his good looks. And jealous of all of the sex they imagine he’s had while they were jerking off to You Porn or the like.
In all seriousness, if “The Race” was a Muse song it would garner all sorts of critical acclaim. Its lyrics would be quoted in Rolling Stone. But because it’s Thirty Seconds To Mars the critics will probably just call it pretentious. Fortunately — well, depending on your perspective — I don’t consider myself much of a critic. I approach music as a fan. And I have become a fan of Thirty Seconds To Mars during the past decade.
“The temples are now burning, I’ve been caught up in flames, I need a new direction, ’cause I have lost my way,” Leto sings during “End Of All Days,” his voice cracking, sounding strained, worn out. But this is deliberate, as it helps render the song even more emotive than it otherwise would be. “All we need is faith,” he sings — no, cries out — during the final third of the song, which blends gorgeous yet intense strings with pulsating electro-beats. I can easily imagine Springsteen singing these lyrics. If someone told you Leonard Cohen wrote them you’d probably believe them. But since they come from the criminally good-looking Jared Leto, they’ll more than likely be dissed or dismissed. But not by me.
Even if you despise the music of Thirty Seconds To Mars, you have to give them credit for their persistence. They’re like the Energizer bunny, constantly soldiering on. Contrary to what most critics might want, they aren’t going away. “Fate is coming, this is the story, let it go,” Leto sings during “Do or Die.” “Dream out loud.” Let his words turn you away or let them inspire you, the choice is yours.