Thirty Seconds to Mars
A Beautiful Lie


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
May 31st, 2008 | 80 replies | 12,735 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pleasing to see a band admit the weak points from their debut & attempt to resolve them. A more controlled effort with greater variety, this album contains some strong songs that prove the band is on the right track.

30 Seconds To Mars’ debut self-titled album clearly showed potential. It had some neat ideas, good experimentation and was something just that bit different. It also had a couple of really good tracks, but it was difficult to mark highly due to it being over-produced, overlong and containing a lot of repetition both musically & lyrically. In delivering a follow-up, it seems an extremely simplistic formula to just rectify the weaknesses of a first album, but in this case it was the obvious thing to do. Thankfully, that is exactly what the band has done here and ‘A Beautiful Lie’ is all the better for it.

Gone are the multiple songs lasting over 5 minutes, as excluding a short hidden track tacked on to the end of another song, the longest tracks here is 4:29. Also gone is the over-reliance on synthesizers. While they still exist on this effort and are far from being pushed to the background, they do not overwhelm any songs like they arguably did on the debut. And thankfully there is hardly a mention of planets and the universe, with the only repetitive lyrical content this time around seemingly concerning the word “lie” which pops up frequently.

Like the debut release, this album is front-loaded to some extent, with 3 of the first 4 singles kicking things off. ‘Attack’ is an excellent choice of opener (if not 1st single), as it contains a good mix of everything in its 3 minute running time which sums things up promptly. It continues to prove that the band know how to set up a chorus with varying verses and then ram it home successfully… A strength shown in dribs and drabs on their debut.

Musically, there is still a sense of over-production on most tracks which doesn’t quite allow the intricacies of the guitar-work to reach its potential. But what the band does better here is subtly vary the pace of most tracks. While it is rather obvious that it is still a variation on the same theme, it works satisfactorily. In fact, the title track almost makes the subtle changes of pace within the one song as it ends up being mid-tempo despite showing signs of being both a ballad and an up-tempo rocker at stages.

Track 3 ‘The Kill’ is the clear highlight on the album and deservedly gave the group an extended fanbase. The charisma of lead vocalist (and part-time actor) Jared Leto really shines through on this track and there is a sense of intensity and emotion about his vocals that fits well in combination with the atmospheric music. ‘The Fantasy’ is also a recommended track, even if it just fails to live up to its blueprint from the first album… Using similar ideas concerning guitar-work from ‘Oblivion’ off their debut, this musically builds up to the chorus effectively.

30 Seconds To Mars’ ability to pull off ballads hasn’t exactly been perfected on this release, but I believe it to be improved with both ‘Was it a Dream?’ and ‘The Story’ providing solid variety. It helps the middle to latter stages of the album that does tend to stray into a repetitive territory once more, despite one of the stronger tracks of the album, 3rd single ‘From Yesterday’ being involved in that stretch.

When the ok and nothing more ‘R-Evolve’ floats on by at track 9, there is an unfortunate case of deja-vu kicking in, but the band pleasantly surprise with a truckload of variety on the final 3 tracks. It’s almost a shame that only 1 of these work so well, as the acoustic strings-assisted ‘A Modern Myth’ is fairly unmemorable and the Bjork cover ‘Hunter’ really should have been something the band played around with in their own time and at best used as a B side. However, ‘Battle of One’ is a genuine revelation as it is a raw rocker with some metal traits that is actually pulled off well and proves that the band should occasionally scale the production of their songs back.

In conclusion, it is almost pleasing to see 30 Seconds To Mars admit the weak points from their debut album and attempt to resolve them for this follow-up. It is a sign of a band that clearly are realistic with their ambitions, even if sometimes it appears to be exactly the opposite within their music. ‘A Beautiful Lie’ is a more controlled effort than their debut and also contains stronger songs which are more likely to appeal to a wider audience. More importantly, it works well as an album due to greater variety. There are clearly still improvements to be worked on, but I am glad to say that 30 Seconds To Mars are on the right track.

Recommended Tracks: The Kill, From Yesterday, Attack & The Fantasy.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Writer
November 21st 2009



136 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review is by an as-of-now staff member, and it has no comments? Anyway, this is a good sort of track-by-track synopsis.

This album is a great example of all highs and lows, with barely anything in between. As far as mainstream releases go: I enjoy this. I'm really looking forward to the band's next album that is supposed to be released in a couple of weeks. I bet the critics will hate it for being overblown and pretentious, however, but that's one of the reasons I'll probably find it appealing.


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Writer, this review had to be re-posted due to a website database crash where my first 23 reviews were basically lost. So it originally had a lot of comments but when I re-posted it (along with 22 others), it didn't get a great deal of attention.

I've got my hands on a copy of their new album but have yet to give it a listen. Will do soon.

Dreamsoffew
December 4th 2009



1002 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've never been a big fan of this band, but this review highlights all of the strong points very eloquently

Asiatic667
December 4th 2009



4647 Comments


From Yesterday is only really cool when played with the music video.
Epicest music video ever

Dreamsoffew
December 4th 2009



1002 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah but Jared Leto's obsession with slow motion and meaningful stares into the camera are a bit excessive, unless you're a 15 year old girl

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think it's fair to state that Leto has lofty ambitions. You can tell directing is one. When his music career comes to an end, I'm sure he'll be directing movies. I watched the making of the video for the title track off this & you could just tell.

Dreamsoffew
December 4th 2009



1002 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lofty ambitions sounds about right. He's packing too much into his songs, they're bursting at the seams with unrealised grandiosity

Asiatic667
December 4th 2009



4647 Comments


Yeah but Jared Leto's obsession with slow motion and meaningful stares into the camera are a bit excessive, unless you're a 15 year old girl


Yeah, but Samurais dude, samurais



Dreamsoffew
December 4th 2009



1002 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Dudette dude, dudette

Asiatic667
December 4th 2009



4647 Comments


apologies, m'lady

Dreamsoffew
December 4th 2009



1002 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

No worries kind sir

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Apologies"... "sir"... This is a very unsputnik-like conversation. Why can't you guys & gals follow all my reviews around?

And to continue the trend; "Thank-you very much fisherfreak".



AtavanHalen
December 6th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

YEAHHHHHHHH

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What's 'Sowing Season' got to do with it?

AtavanHalen
December 6th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that's the only song to ever prominently feature the word yeah in it

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But it's in the title.

Now clap your hands & say...

sEby146
July 13th 2010



177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

..Nostalgia

ShadowRemains
July 13th 2010



20226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

never really liked this band

sEby146
July 16th 2010



177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just think they need moar ballz.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
July 19th 2010



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Would replacing the member they lost count as getting moar ballz? I'd say technically it does.



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