Today on Blogcritics
Home » Music » Reviews music » Concert Reviews » CD Review: 30 Seconds to Mars – A Beautiful Lie

CD Review: 30 Seconds to Mars – A Beautiful Lie

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Authentic hard rock has always been about bleeding emotions and music so sharp and heavy it can tear flesh. This might not be what you would expect from a band that is fronted by an actor, but it is exactly what 30 Seconds To Mars delivers in A Beautiful Lie. The music is razor-sharp and solid, everything that good old-fashioned hard rock is suppose to be, but with a polished edge that is refreshing and modern.

The band is headed up by Jared Leto, also known for his roles in such critically acclaimed films as Requiem For Dream, Panic Room, Alexander and most recently Lord of War with Nicholas Cage. On Leto’s dual roles, MTV.com said,

He is not the first actor to launch a career in rock and roll, but somehow he’s managed to be the only one audience don’t laugh off the stage … 30 Seconds to Mars has earned itself some bona fide rock cred over the course of its brief career.

I couldn’t agree more. Leto must draw from the same deep introspective place he goes to for his dark roles to write his music. The lyrics are passionate and the music is raw energy.

Aware of the preconceptions held toward acting musicians, Leto said, “Any time you have precedent that’s negative like that, you’re gonna have an uphill battle. I’ve never shied away from that.” He doesn’t offer any apologizes, and he shouldn’t. The commitment and talent he brings to the music can’t be denied and is just as credible as what he brings to his acting. Not only the does he write all the songs the group records, he is lead vocalist and plays guitar. Jared’s brother, Shannon Leto, plays drums, and they are joined in 30 Seconds to Mars by Tomo Milicevic, also on guitars, and Matt Wachter on bass.

The CD opens with what was the first single, “Attack.” The opening is a digital extravaganza of synthesizers which gives way to Leto’s powerful vocals. Though he occasionally moves to the screaming that is ever present in today’s heavy music, he doesn’t cheat on the vocals. For the most part, it is very melodic and his voice is commanding. What he is delivering with that voice is potent as well. The lyrics are intricate and nearly poetic. This song is a driven expression of endings and new beginnings. The deep seated emotions cross both sides of the spectrum, rage filled and mournful.

The second single from A Beautiful Lie is “The Kill.” This begins soft … soft drums, and lyrics tenderly whispered. As it progresses, it fills out with the guitar lines, and it transforms into something loud. The emotions run high through this charged track. It’s another song about a volatile relationship, a theme that is ever present through most of the CD. It is all laid out on the line – powerful and strong guitar and drum lines behind a sturdy lyrical delivery.

“Was It a Dream” is a huge change up. It’s a moody ballad that shows yet another side of the songwriter and the band’s ability to carry the listener somewhere different without breaking with the flow of the CD. The emotional pain is still there, just conveyed in a different style. My favorite lyrics on the whole CD come from this song,

Your defenses were on high
Your walls built deep inside
Yeah I’m a selfish bastard
But at least I’m not alone

It is the core message of the theme to A Beautiful Lie that looks at the demons of the human spirit; those that exist inside us, and those that plague our relationships. This is a stand-out track on a CD that shines pretty bright as a whole.

Leto continues to show his range on “The Fantasy.” A portion of the lyrics are sung with a throaty and seductive whisper befitting the subject matter. He weaves this in and out with rich, pleading moans that assemble and build until they explode with climax, and then it all abruptly ends … powerful stuff.

A Beautiful Lie was produced by Josh Abraham who won a Grammy for his work on the Velvet Revolver album. He did an amazing job with this one as well. The CD as a whole has a flow that rises and ebbs like the tide. Emotions climb and fall with a natural feel. The changes are not abrupt, and the songs themselves are weaved and intertwined, but not over manipulated. There is still a raw edge to it that is pure rock.

After spending eight months in 2005 opening for such bands as Audioslave, The Used, and My Chemical Romance, 30 Seconds to Mars started out on their own headlining tour. “Forever Night Never Day” began March seventh in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will run through May and carry them through 44 cities. Below is a list of dates for the rest of this month. A complete list of dates can be found on the artist’s website.

30 Seconds to Mars is a Blogcritics Featured Artist. Look for upcoming coverage in the next month.

Tour Dates for March
March 16 – Ft. Lauderdale – Culture Room
March 17 – Orlando – House Of Blues
March 18 – Atlanta – Masquerade
March 19 – Norfolk – Norva
March 24 – New York – Avalon
March 25 – Washington DC – American University
March 26 – Buffalo – Town Hall
March 28 – Pittsburg – Mr. Small’s
March 29 – Cleveland – House of Blues
March 30 – Toronto – Opera House
March 31 – Toledo – Headliner’s

Our coverage of 30 Seconds to Mars continues:

Featured Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars looks at the history of the band and their two CDs.

Concert Review: 30 Seconds to Mars looks at the band’s March 31 appearance at Headliners in Toledo OH.

Powered by

About Connie Phillips

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    Yeah, this is a really good album. It’s actually better than the band’s debut album, which is good too.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/cmpwrite Connie Phillips

    I just downloaded their first (self-titled) album from iTunes yesterday. Haven’t had the chance to listen to it yet, though. I’m having a hard time turning this one off long enough to listen to anything else.

  • lplover

    yawn

  • Janine

    I was introduced to 30 Seconds to Mars last year…and I immediately fell in love with their music. There’s something about the raw edge in both albums that makes you feel like the song was written just for how you’re feeling. I’m taking the opportunity to see the band live next month and I am really stoked. I think the main reason why I never paid attention before is because the thought of actors becoming singers makes my skin crawl….Wicked Wisdom, The Bacon Brothers, etc…
    Jared is a talented actor, but somehow I prefer his singing above all else and the fact that he isn’t using his acting credits as a way to push the band further into the spotlight is commendable. In fact, he wants both to be separate, and he does a good job of doing so. These guys have won my heart, and I still can’t decide which album I like better….they’re both so good!

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/cmpwrite Connie Phillips

    Thanks Janine,

    I’m also going to see the band in a couple weeks and am looking forward to it. Both CDs are strong, if I had to pick one over the other, it would be A Beautiful Lie. I love how deep and personal the lyrics are.

  • Rev

    BOTH OF THESE ALBUMS/CDS ARE FABULOUS.I LOVE THE WAY CONNIE DESCRIBES A BEAUTIFUL LIE ABOVE, I LOVE THE VOCALS AND ARRANGEMENT (THE DRUMS ARE GREAT) ON “FROM YESTERDAY”. IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD EITHER ALBUM I RECOMMEND BOTH. BUY ONE THEN THE OTHER, BOTH WILL HOOK YOU, THEN YOU WON’T WANT TO STOP LISTENING. THESE GUYS MAKE GREAT MUSIC!!!!! I HAVE SEEN THE BAND AND THEY ARE GREAT. 30 SECONDS TO MARS FOREVER NIGHT NEVER DAY TOUR-WHAT A BLAST!!! PROVEHITO IN ALTUM

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    Thanks Rev, As I said I was listening to A Beautiful Lie pretty obsessively the last couple weeks. After seeing them perform at Headliners in Toledo last night, I think it’s only going to get worse.

    Stay tuned for a review of that show and my interview with Tomo and Mathew in the next week or so.

  • jennifer marina

    I quite enjoy Jared Leto as an actor. I think actully that he is one of the underappreciated actors, that he has alot of range and depth in his acting. I bought the first album and I liked it alot, but the second one “A beautiful lie sounds alot like the first. He has a haunting beautiful voice, it sounds like you’re hearing the music from inside his head or as if he was projecting it down to you from a long way off but his melodies sound too much alike, and all seem to convey just one type of emotion. I like that sort of breathy thing he does in parts of his songs, but because he does it so often after a while it loses the cool effect. My favorite songs on the album are, a beautiful lie, Was it a dream, and Story.

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    Hi Jennifer,

    I agree about Leto being under appreciated as an actor. I thought he was fantastic in Lord of War.

    I also like A Beautiful Lie better then the self titled first CD. I think it’s much more personal.

  • ebathory

    Its good to know i’m not the only one obssesing.He truely is A dark angel.

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    Jared Leto is certainly an incredible talent, not only as an actor but as the driving force behind 30 Seconds to Mars!

  • http://reterd Revolutionary

    UR Awesomme!

  • Caoilfhinn^_^

    they are just simply irrisistable..Love the band to pieces.

  • Akka

    30 seconds too march is the best band

  • vale

    ok!!! no se english pero
    les escrivo en spanish
    I love Jared Leto

  • dani

    too, i dont know ingles well mas o menos son un grupo genial me gusta su musica hablan de lo que en vdd kiero escuchar sigan asi 30 seconds to march

  • damcruz

    for me it’s one f the best rock band i ever heard in my live, one of the best, couse the best it’s linkin park

  • cecilia

    i love this song and the group