Thirty Seconds to Mars - AMERICA
Thirty Seconds to Mars
The album art above is only one of the many versions that you'll find online for this new album, and it just gets more confusing from there. Has the political upheaval in the US lately got you down, well Thirty Seconds to Mars is here to save you with some anthemic rock. The only problem is they do nothing of the sort on this album barely scratching the surface of the issues they are trying to tackle. Jared Leto is at his Leto-ist here singing to the back of the room, really emoting each note that comes out of his mouth, but it falls so incredibly flat. "Rescue Me" has this almost EDM style drop in the chorus and some kind of percussive beat throughout, but it is laughable how far it misses. It's like someone putting every single thing they have into one punch and then whiffing as hard as they possibly can. It just looks ridiculous. These Heavy anthems may have worked back in 2007 but now they could not feel more played out. There isn't a popular sound that they don't touch on with AMERICA complete with features from A$AP Rocky and Halsey. A$AP in particular sounds absolutely foolish half singing half rapping over this super melodramatic song "One Track Mind". This track spills into "Monolith" a song that sounds like it was based of the blaring horns they use in damn near every movie trailer today. It leads into the track with Halsey titled "Love is Madness" which is perhaps the most Thirty Seconds to Mars sounding name they've ever come up with. You can almost smell the candles that they were burning when they were in the booth recording this song, totally self obsessed and far more focused on the image than the song.
After touring with Muse it feels like Thirty Seconds to Mars have tried to pickup on some of that bands later works, taking the half rock half electronic anthem to it's most stadium filling. In the past Thirty Seconds to Mars always seemed to have some kind of over arching narrative based in fiction, but with this album they try to dig into real life and their bombastic style just doesn't square. If they are going to try and deal with real life they need to cut out some of their more dramatic tendencies. Reality has never been their strong suit and the push for answers here feels sloppy and self serving. The acoustic "Remedy" is also ridiculously overwrought for an acoustic track. They can't help themselves but pull in tons of effects even while trying to keep things simple. The more you listen to the record the worse it gets, grasping throughout for pop relevance while missing it every single time. Everything about this feels forced and over done, especially Leto's vocals which are tuned within an inch of their lives. In a year where artists seemed completely obsessed with trying to capture the mood of the country, no one seems to have been more obtuse to it all than Thirty Seconds to Mars. The whole album just feels far to extra, to much of everything, I'm not sure even the faithful will be able to get behind this one.
2.0 out of 10