30 Seconds to Mars – Love Lust Faith + Dreams
Record Label: Virgin Records
Release Date: May 21 2013
For as long as I’ve been into music, I’ve normally just found out about music, thanks to the internet, magazines, radio, and TV. I was never one for friends and/or significant others to recommend me things, because not many people really seem to know what I like and what I don’t. I had known about California alternative rock trio 30 (or Thirty) Seconds to Mars for a long time, but I never was into that kind of music. At least, until this year, anyway. My friend Jake was recommending their new album Love Lust Faith + Dreams to me for awhile before it even came out, because he thought I would like it, and well… After finally picking up a copy of it, he was totally right. In all honesty, the first (and really, only band) that came to mind when I was listening to this record was Muse. Last year, I was heavily into their most recent effort The 2nd Law, and one thing both bands have in common is how ambitious they are, so I was certainly curious to check this out as well. I was not disappointed whatsoever, honestly; it was a very ambitious and experimental record with a lot of interesting twists and turns. Coming from someone who’s never listened to this band before, or at least a full release, I was very impressed. This band seriously does remind me of Muse, though, even down to vocalist Jared Leto sounding quite a bit like Muse’s Matthew Bellamy. I apologize already for the sheer amount of Muse comparisons, but it seems fitting, considering that both bands are quite ambitious and love to go above and beyond. That’s what this record attempts to do, by melding the themes of love, lust, dreams, and faith. It doesn’t seem to be a concept record, like The 2nd Law was, and even then, that record kind of fell apart towards the end, because the concept seemed to be lost. This record doesn’t really have a set concept, all the while just talking about a few central themes, so it doesn’t suffer from that whatsoever. The themes are a bit more realized and cemented, but the songs do work very well on their own, such as single “Up In the Air,” which is a very synth driven track, almost with a dance-rock vibe to it, but it works, nonetheless. Most of the record actually does feature keys, synth, and a lot of electronic elements, but not in an obnoxious way. Anyhow, this record essentially is a journey, because it takes the listener through plenty of different sounds, so with that being said, let’s take a look at this record, shall we?
The record begins with the two-minute intro “Birth,” and immediately, it’s got a rather orchestral and theatrical sound, exactly like Muse. Jared Leto’s voice is also heard quietly, and it sets the stage for what’s about to happen. It leads right into second track, “Conquistador,” which is a really cool alternative/synth-rock track. That’s how most of the record is, however. This song is more of a “rocker,” while first single and third track “Up In the Air” is more electronic and poppier in nature. “Up In the Air” is actually one of my favorite tracks, as well as being one of the catchiest on here. Fourth track, “City of Angels,” branches out even further and is a piano-driven track. So far, the first half of this record is absolutely fantastic. It has a similar sound, and flows very well together, but at the same time, each track is pretty different. As the record goes on, it still manages to stay entertaining and interesting without delving into “cliché” or “generic” territory. A few songs certainly do stand out, and one of them is seventh track “Pyres of Varanasi,” which is actually an instrumental track. It seems to be somewhat of an interlude, because it’s mainly got a really atmospheric sound to it, while Leto’s vocals show up here and there, and honestly, his vocals have a rather “Indian” sound to them (of course, I mean the country of India, not Native Americans). This track leads right into “Bright Lights,” which is another “slower” song. This song is cool because it shows Leto in a different light, pun unintended. Towards the end, the tempo changes and the song gets a lot “bigger,” so to speak. Most of this record has an arena-rock sound to it, which makes the song come alive, and sound larger than life. Of course, there are a few interludes and instrumentals to help balance out the arena-rock sound. “Convergence” is a very “chill” instrumental, with some ambient synth. It leads right into “Northern Lights,” which continues that trend, but also manages to become “larger than life” as well. It’s a great balance, frankly. Finally, closing track, “Depuis Le Debut,” which means “since the beginning” in French, ends the same way that the record started – as an orchestral and theatrical sounding track.
As someone who’s never listened to Thirty Seconds to Mars before, this record is very impressive. The band themselves are wonderful, and the music is quite ambitious, and doesn’t manage to get stale or boring. Despite a lot of comparisons to Muse, the band does manage to separate themselves from that band as well. At least 30STM didn’t use dubstep, like Muse did on The 2nd Law. That wasn’t actually that bad, and they only used it on one song, but even so, this record has a nice electronic sound throughout, and it works quite well. Some songs are much more “single worthy,” such as “Do Or Die,” and “Up In the Air,” while others are ambitious and sprawling, like “Bright Lights,” and sixth track “End of All Days.” This record has a lot of diversity to it, and as a new fan, I’m very curious to check out the rest of the band’s catalog.
I feel like LLF+D is an electronic This is War (album). I think that the album is strong, but the individual songs are weaker on their own. I agree that the first half is amazing. I think the second half could have used another energetic song like tracks 2 or 3. I agree with your review. I think you will love This is War. ;)