January 3, 2014 Thirty Seconds To Mars – LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS (Album review)
Music is an ever-changing concept. What’s considered popular or hip one day, changes the next. With these constant changes it can be really difficult for musicians to stretch out their careers amidst all of these phases and trends. With all this said when we hear that a band that has been around for over fifteen years has dropped a new album, it really is a huge feat. It’s an even bigger deal when that album shows substance, progression, and relevance, all of which could be said of the recent Thirty Seconds to Mars release, LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS. Consisting of members Jared Leto (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Shannon Leto (drums, percussion), and Tomo Milicevic (lead guitar, keyboard), Thirty Seconds to Mars formed in Los Angeles in the year 1998. With over fifteen years under their belt in this industry, the band have released their highly anticipated fourth studio album and let’s just say Thirty Second to Mars is going to be staying on planet Earth for a little while longer.
LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS opens up with an intro song aptly titled, “Birth.” It begins simplistic but quickly builds up with the entrance of horns and the voice of Jared Leto. It’s entrancing from the start and the dark, mysterious sound of the song only draws listeners in more. By the end of the two minutes and eight seconds, it’s hard not to be excited for what will follow next from Thirty Seconds to Mars.
“Birth” easily transitions into follow-up track, “Conquistador.” This song has a rock edge and it literally sounds just like the title of it. It’s a big, powerful song with lyrics to match: “This is a fight for love, lust, hate, desire. We are the children of the great empire.” The chants echoing in the background of the track only add to this battle-like theme. The next song off of LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS is “Up in the Air.” This song features some synthetic keyboard elements, giving it a pop feel. While the background music is enticing, nothing can keep the listener from being drawn into Jared Leto’s angsty tone all throughout this track.
The song “City Of Angels” slows things down a little. It features a minute-long instrumental intro before the vocals roll out. This could easily be called the prettiest track on the album. It’s a nice change of pace from its predecessors and it definitely highlights the vocal abilities of Jared Leto. While “City of Angels” is dubbed the prettiest, the follow-up track, “The Race” is definitely one of the coolest sounding. It again features elaborate keyboard melodies and when this is coupled with the amazing vocals and percussion runs of the Leto brothers, it becomes an insane collaboration for anyone listening.
Another stand out track from LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS is the song “End of All Days.” It’s dark and slow and it could be argued that there are some bluesy elements to it, as well. This track specifically seems to pull the first half of the album together as it echoes one of the phrases in the album’s title with the lyrics: “All we need is faith. All we need is faith. Faith is all we need.” Following this is a completely instrumental track entitled, “Pyres of Varanasi.” It again sounds like the prelude to a battle of some sort and it’s clear that we are about to enter a new phase of the album.
“Bright Lights” quite literally brightens up the tone for listeners. This song has a synthetic-pop aura about it even though it’s a softer sounding track. The album title themes of love and dreams seemed to be explored in a hopeful way here. It’s a catchy track with motivating, feel good lyrics that will leave listeners feelings sated. Following this is the most radio-friendly track off of the album, a song entitled “Do Or Die.” It’s up-beat and has some great sing a-long runs that will be playing back in your head hours later. It will make you feel recharged by the end of four minutes and eight seconds.
LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS features another two-minute-long instrumental track at this point. And it’s clear we are about to reach the resolution and close of the twelve-track album. “Northern Lights” is the next track and it’s another hard-hitting battle-like song. The collaborative melody of percussion and keyboard is especially prominent in this song. While Jared Leto’s vocals are top notch, it’s impossible not to tap along to the steady beat that this song offers listeners.
The tone of the album shifts altogether with closing track, “Depuis Le Début.” With a completely acoustic opening, the focus is all on Jared Leto and the dark lyrics he’s sharing with us as he repeats the line, “There will be blood.” Suddenly, there’s another shift in sound. The synthetic keyboard is brought in and it sounds like we’re in the midst of the fight. Just at the peak of this fight, the song harshly turns to silence before playing back an eerie lullaby-like tune. With the end of the album, all you’ll want to do is replay it in its entirety to try and make sense of the brunt ending.
If there’s one thing that could be said of Thirty Seconds to Mars’ fourth album, it’s that no two songs are the same. LOVE LUST FAITH & DREAMS has a song for each and every listener no matter what they are into. Every single track is strong enough to stand alone, yet are even more powerful when listened to collectively from to back. Furthermore, every single track tells a story of its own, yet creates an even bigger picture when combined with the other tracks from the album. Thirty Seconds to Mars has found a way to stay relevant in this day and age even after fifteen years in the industry. This album is arguably the best one yet as it offers so much diversity and progression. The time and effort behind the inception of this record is definitely picked up on by listeners, as well. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock gives LOVE LUST FAITH & DREAMS 5 out of 5 stars.
Written by Vanessa Carlucci