Thirty Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds To Mars


4.0
excellent

Review

by DropTune USER (65 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2018 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Daring, original, and ambitious, "30 Seconds to Mars" is the most important album from the band.

“Launch forth into the deep,” says 30 Seconds to Mars, as they take their first step into the unknown. 30 Seconds to Mars is an album marked by feats of strength, broad perspectives, and masterfully written narratives. The pounding synths, heavy riffs, and elevated vocals birth a space opera unique to the band. Listeners are launched into a stratosphere decorated with darkness, drenched in ambition, and holistically compelling.

‘Capricorn (A Brand New Name)’ signals our launch into the vastness of 30 Seconds to Mars. Vocalist Jared Leto explains that the song is about finding one’s true self and one’s desire for renewal. “So I run and hide and tear myself up. Start again with a brand new name, and eyes that see into infinity,” excite the listener as they travel into an atmosphere defined with a powerful chorus.
“You know enough to know the way. Six billion people just one name. I found tomorrow in today. Apocalyptic and insane my dreams will never change,” calls for us to enter ‘Edge of the Earth.’ The track takes a forward-thinking narrative with a topic discussing how previous generations view the current. ‘Edge of the Earth’ inspires the listener to separate themselves and take control of the Earth they want to see. “Stand out on the edge of the Earth—dive into the center of fate,” tasks the listener to fearlessly carve a path for a promising tomorrow. “It’s not a matter of luck,” says Leto, “it’s a matter of time.”

Our journey continues into an intoxicating drumbeat that lays the foundation for ‘Fallen.’ Maynard James Keenan guest stars in a track lined with stellar lyrics. The delivery of ‘Fallen’ is what makes it one of the best songs on the album. ‘Fallen’ paints a subject who questions whether or not he has fallen into decadence. The lyrics outline his struggle to realize if there is more to life than indulgence, and if so, what is the subject’s purpose. Self-discovery and self-criticism are well explored in this track. “I am not here, I’m not listening. I’m in my head and I’m spinning,” immerses us into this beautiful disaster.

A seemingly innocent intro opens into ‘Oblivion.’ The song takes a seemingly lighthearted standpoint about hoping for change. The song raises the question as to what would happen if all of the issues came down. “Under the burning sun, I take a look around. Imagine if this all came down,” is welcoming listeners into the vision of their ‘what if’ reality.

“This is the night, this is night…” opens a vortex into ‘Buddha for Mary.’ Arguably the darkest song on the record, ‘Buddha for Mary’ is marked by its delightfully disturbing lyrics. ‘Buddha for Mary’ is more ambiguous with its meaning, but the lyrics are most commonly interpreted to be about the subject losing her identity. Welcomed into a world of disillusion, Mary begins to turn against her beliefs and eventually fall into a lifestyle of indulgence. “Mary was an acrobat but still she couldn’t seem to breathe. Mary was becoming everything she didn’t want to be,” indicates the downward spiral of our subject. “He said, there’s a paradise beneath me. She said, am I supposed to bleed,” is the heartbreaking revelation of her unbecoming. One could imagine rushing into save Mary from herself due to the painful reality the song paints. It’s almost too painful to hear, “Tell me, did you see her face? Tell me, did you smell her taste? Tell me, what’s the difference don’t they always look the same inside?” “This is the life on Mars,” the band sings, “this is the life.”

‘Echelon’ shifts the mood into a reminiscent track on our voyage through 30 Seconds to Mars. “Again, and again, and again, and again I see your face in everything. It took a moment before I lost myself the moment could not be found,” rings through your mind through an exploding chorus. ‘Echelon’ describes a decaying society where the subject is called to fight for his beliefs. The lyrics previously mentioned could also be interpreted as the inspiration for our subject to fight for what he loves as well.

‘Welcome to the Universe’ and ‘The Mission’ are the black sheep of this album. Both are similar in theme where the lyrics describe the outcome of a new beginning. Many listeners would label these as filler, but they more or less add a new perspective on the theme of change. ‘Welcome to the Universe’ has a broader sense of the outcome of change where ‘The Mission’ takes a street level standpoint on the matter.

‘The End of the Beginning’ brings us to a desolate planet that is reconstructing after their revolution. The lyrics describe our subject establishing a new society. Many are thrown off by, “take some time, find a place, and I will start my own religion,” to be about a cult leader. Religion is often used as a metaphor for belief, and in the case of this song, it could be in regards to his citizens believing in a vision of a better society. “Some paradigm has shunned the race,” details the struggle the society takes in the fallout of a collapse.

’93 Million Miles’ takes a more aggressive standpoint during the latter half of this record. ’93 Million Miles’ sucks us into a black hole in a song that provides social commentary on humanity. The lyrics detail the band’s frustration with those who fail to accept reality. “Hey, hey, what do you got? It doesn’t matter ‘cause I don’t want it. I’m not the only one,” is the central theme of the anthem.

‘Year Zero’ brings us to a close reinforcing the theme of reinvention. “Be a hero, kill your ego, but it doesn’t matter, it’s all a pack of lies,” intrigues the listener as lines, “I will stand my own ground, I will tear down myself, I won’t fade,” take us home. “We will never fade away,” closes the album with a very pretentious promise.

30 Seconds to Mars had a lot to prove being an actor-turned-rock star band. You don’t see many of those, but with the track record of Leto’s career at the time, many had their reservations. Starring in cult hits like Fight Club and Requiem for a Dream, one could feel the darkness of those films make their presence known in their debut record.

30 Seconds to Mars was a phenomenal record that served as an amazing starting point for the band. The lyrics were mesmerizing, the sound was unique, and the concept of ‘the human struggle’ was well explored. The album soared through the stratosphere and didn’t fly too close to the sun, but we did run into some meteors along the way. One issue I found was the organization of tracks was a bit odd. The album was most certainly top heavy and suffered a big drop after ‘Echelon.’ The songs weren’t as intense and felt out of place in their slots.

A simple reorganization would have best suited the album so the material was more spread out. Fitting the last 5 songs between the first 6 would have been just enough to keep the album moving. Otherwise, the album was really strong. The depth of the album was incredible and took a cerebral standpoint to a lot of its themes. ‘Fallen,’ ‘Buddha for Mary,’ and ‘Echelon’ showed the bands strength in this album. The bold lyrics and a vast sense of expression make it easy for listeners to escape through the music. Despite 30 Seconds… flaws, the album is well put together and is easily one of the best overall records of the early 2000’s. I would dare say this album is the best 30 Seconds to Mars has ever created.

This album certainly provided a hopeful start for a band many weren’t expecting much from. The album lived up to its name as well as defined it. It’s incredibly jarring 30 Seconds to Mars once released an album like this, but nevertheless, it is incredibly important to listen to. 30 Seconds to Mars earns a 4 for making a controversial first step in what would become the most important album of their career. It’s too bad they haven’t lived up to it.

Standout Tracks
Fallen
Buddha for Mary
Echelon



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user ratings (1062)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • DaveyBoy EMERITUS (2.5)
    Passable over-produced & overlong album has a couple of impressive tracks, but is too repe...

    ninjuice (3.5)
    A overlooked little gem significantly better than the follow-up....

    VigorousDuck13 (3)
    It's not often a band has a perfect debut. While "30 seconds to mars" has its short coming...

    Aeri (4)
    Mary was a different girl; had a thing for astronauts....

  • Nick Mongiardo (4.5)
    It took a moment before I lost myself in here......

    pizzamachine (4)
    “Jared Leto is not lost in space - he lives in it.”...



Comments:Add a Comment 
MrSirLordGentleman
February 2nd 2018


15343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Their best album by far



Edge of the Earth rules hard

DropTune
February 2nd 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Need for Speed anyone?

MrSirLordGentleman
February 2nd 2018


15343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh yeh

Snake.
February 2nd 2018


25303 Comments


can jared leto just die already [2]

bach
February 2nd 2018


16303 Comments


i'm whoopin jared letos ass if i see him on god

bach
February 2nd 2018


16303 Comments


edge of the earth is a good song though

TheSpirit
Emeritus
February 2nd 2018


30304 Comments


Glad to see you posted another review! Glad to see you injected some personality in it. Those last three paragraphs are great. The rest of the review is a bit more shaky.

You spent a lot of time reinterpreting the lyrics in your own voice it seems. There's nothing wrong with breaking them down like that - some of my favorite reviews have done the same - but at some point it feels like too much, and a bit pointless. Doing it for every song is unnecessary. Find a few songs or lines that stick out to you the most and run with those.

You're pretty sparse as far as musical descriptions. I've heard Thirty Seconds to Mars in the past, so I have a vague idea of what this may sound like, but for the most part I feel a bit lost. I think depending on the music you're reviewing (e.g. rap, jazz, rock, etc...) there's varying degrees to which the actual music should be covered. When it comes to rock, where the instrumentation takes front-and-center, there should be a bit more detailing how it sounds and more importantly how that sound makes you feel. Now, there's obviously no golden standard, but as as someone who frequently reads rock and metal based reviews, I usually find that important.

For me, its really when all of these things converge ( lyrics, music, and how it makes you feel) that makes a really good review. Like I said, I think your last three paragraphs actually did a pretty good job of that, but I would love to see that expounded on in the future. The balance of elements is tricky and I don't think anyone ever really nails it perfectly, but practice and being aware really does help. I'm not sure about your feelings on writing/reviewing, but I'm hoping you continue because I think you could be really good down the line.

DropTune
February 2nd 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm still getting the hang of reviews. Most comments from my first review "Thirteenth Step" enjoyed the track-by-track style. I will definitely try to tone it down a bit and work on describing the actual music. I really appreciate the constructive criticism because I enjoy writing and always hope to get better.

rodrigo90
February 3rd 2018


7387 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

can jared leto just die already [3]



MrSirLordGentleman
February 3rd 2018


15343 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

but he's

so

sexy

rodrigo90
February 3rd 2018


7387 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I liked his emo haircut back in those early years of the band.

theNateman
February 3rd 2018


3809 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fallen is my favorite 30 seconds to mars song tbh.

DropTune
February 3rd 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Fallen' was one of the best songs on the album. I don't know how Leto was able to pull of a Maynard cameo on their debut album. That to me is shocking.

Rik VII
February 3rd 2018


4130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, this reads more like a review of the booklet than one of the actual music. Like Spirit said, try to write more about the sound and its effect. I won't care about the meaning of the lyrics as long as the music doesn't suit me, and I'm sure many people feel that way

DropTune
February 3rd 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

After reading the review a few times, I'm starting to see your point. I'll be sure in my upcoming review to put more focus on the music rather than the lyrics. These tips are very helpful to me and could always use more.

Ocean of Noise
February 4th 2018


10970 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome album. I'd say A Beautiful Lie was probably a more important album for the band tbh but I like this one slightly more.

rodrigo90
February 4th 2018


7387 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'll never forget the happiness that brought me this album the first time I listened to it.

Divaman
February 4th 2018


16120 Comments


Saw these guys live last year, and liked them much more than I expected to.

DropTune
February 4th 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"A Beautiful Lie" was a good effort from the band, but I think it depends on what you're after. "30 Seconds to Mars" established the credibility of the band and caused for a heavily anticipated release for "A Beautiful Lie." While "A Beautiful Lie" cemented their legacy in the mainstream, I can't say anything important was produced because of it. That's not to say the album was bad, but it was rather underwhelming when listening to its predecessor. I wouldn't say the emo style was the cause of it, but rather the fact they dialed back on other aspects. I'll end up writing a review for "A Beautiful Lie" sometime down the road.



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