2. A Beautiful Lie
3. The Kill
4. Was It A Dream?
5. The Fantasy
7. From Yesterday
8. The Story
10. A Modern Myth
11. Battle of One
30 Seconds To Mars, fronted by singer/actor Jared Leto, makes music that’s been called many things, from rock, to emo, to alt-metal, to rubbish. In reality, it’s somewhere in the middle. It’s a whole lot of things assembled, but it’s not something that can stand by itself. Their decent self-titled debut was nothing more than that, decent. Nothing outstanding, nothing new. Just a lot of things and not much at the same time. With their follow-up ‘A Beautiful Lie’ they carry on in the same tradition. Although the songs are by no means bad, they just aren’t great either. Jared Leto has an interesting voice and the band members (including Jared’s brother) are capable musicians, but the songs just don’t have the quality that many similar bands do. Mix Incubus, with The Cure, topped off with a little AFI, producing stereotype songs with stereotype lyrics, and basically you have all the ingredients for 30 Seconds To Mars.
Attack, the song that opens the record, is a wall of sound, but Jared’s vocals don’t come out as well as they could have. And frankly, the song gets boring after a 80 seconds or so. There’s nothing special or creative in it.
Next up is the title track A Beautiful Lie, which isn’t too bad actually. Jared’s vocals are much better on this track and even though the track isn’t extremely creative it can stand the test. The song could’ve used some catchy hooks but it doesn’t get boring like Attack did.
The 3rd track on the album is The Kill which became their famous song, especially cause of the video. But the song itself deserves some credit too, as it is the most accessible and best song on the album. The repetitive sample that continues throughout the whole song is a little downside, but Jared’s vocals are quite strong, and the drums deserve a little notion here. Though subtle, they are the foundation of the song.
‘A Beautiful Lie’ continues with Was It A Dream? This might be a question the band will ask themselves in a little while, since all this attention they are getting, will most likely fade away soon. The band just lacks originality, as does this song. This sounds like a collaboration of All-American Rejects & The Cure, just not as good. And the lyrics remind us strongly of Nickelback. It really isn’t a bad song, it just really lacks creativity and originality.
The Fantasy, which is next up on the album, is a very up-tempo song, that actually quite pleased me. It shows a little more creativity and displays an energy that would be great on a live set.
And also Savior shows some creativity that I was looking for. It’s not great, but definitely not awful either. A tight song, nothing more than that though.
The next song is From Yesterday, which is the best song vocally, but the song itself is by no means special.
The Story is just boring, it’s too slow, and way too overproduced. Pick up the pace, play it acoustic and add female backing vocals, and it might turn out to be a cool pop song. And also, it just doesn’t fit with the rest of the album.
R-Evolve, interesting song title, and the song isn’t too bad either. At times it reminds me of Audioslave.
Then A Modern Myth which might well be my favorite song on this album. A gentle little song. Then there’s a whole lot of silence and on the end there’s a little bit of unnecessary bonus material.
The album closes with the rocker Battle of One, which has a lot of energy, but consists of a wall of noise, and the industrial song Hunter, which is alright, but can’t convince either.
Although this review sounds very negative about 30 Seconds To Mars’ sophomore album, I have to say that the songs aren’t awful or disastrous. They just cannot convince. The band is talented, but is still looking for its own sound. Once the band finds their spot, I am convinced they will be able to cruise on. I’m curious what the future holds for them.