1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 130

30 Second to Mars, by Thirty Second to Mars
Suggested by Nicholas Fitterson

Jared Leto is rich and famous. I hate Jared Leto.

Jared Leto is the frontman for Thirty Seconds to Mars. I hate multi-platinum award-winning musician Jared Leto.

Jared Leto is an Oscar winner, scoring Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. I hate scene-stealing, scenery-chewing, method-acting Jared Leto.

Jared Leto is impossibly attractive, able to shed 30 pounds for a film role as easily as taking off a coat. I hate high-cheeked, long-haired, stick-thin, cool tattoo sexpot Jared Leto.

Jared Leto played The Joker in Suicide Squad. That sucked balls. Poor Jared Leto.

With Jared Leto, I’m reminded of the old Phil Collins gag: “I feel sorry for Phil Collins. He spent all those years as the drummer for Genesis, and when he got promoted to the microphone he discovered he couldn’t sing either.” Jared Leto, it seems, is the opposite of Phil, the Anti-Collins. He can literally do anything. Almost all he touches turns to gold.

So yeah. Screw that guy.

Before this name-dropping descends into Snoop-level nonsense, let’s hit the actual album. Thirty Seconds to Mars’s debut album is called 30 Seconds to Mars, and I’m immediately irritated by the Thirty / 30 thing. When you add this to my jealou- …*ahem*…  hatred of Jared Leto, I went into this with an inclination to rip it to shreds. Unfortunately for my fragile ego, I’m largely unable to do that. It’s a good record, Jim.

Allegedly a concept album that centres on human struggle and self-determination (… I hate Jared Leto…), the alt rock core of 30 Seconds to Mars is aided and abetted by Prog influences and electronica, almost taking on an operatic, space-rock feel. It opens strongly, with Capricorn (A Brand New Name, which showcases some tightly impressive drumming by Scott Leto (as the drums are one of the only things not in Jared Leto’s wheelhouse, I can heap on the praise). One slight incongruity of this opening track is that it seems to eschew any real build from an intro. There’s a climbing synth, then the drums hit and we’re seemingly right in the middle of the action. Is this a bad thing? Maybe not, but it felt a little odd.

Vocally, Jared is a fine singer with a decent styles, but he leans a little toward emo delivery and lyrical content for my tastes. Not completely, mind… just Emo Adjacent. In the quieter parts, he feels a little awed by the music rather than master of it. Is this a style choice? Possibly. If so, fair play, it imparts an air of majesty to proceedings. If not, it’s no great shakes, as it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

My favourite track is Echelon, which again grants Scott Leto a focussed showcase of drumming talent. It’s also the most confident vocal performance from Jared too. As for the rest, they’re grand examples of the genre, aside from the slightly off-kilter Buddha for Mary, with its vocoder robot vocal and dissonant lyrical theme.

I give 30 Seconds to Mars a creditable 7/10. And of course, I don’t actually hate Jared Leto. I did that for comic effect. But, unlike Jared’s turn as the Joker, my comic effect was intentional.

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