30 Seconds to Mars' "Up in the Air": Too Shiny For Any Real Feelings

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Is anyone else really shitting surprised that 30 Seconds to Mars is still making music? Like, who really saw that coming? When the first album came out (over a decade ago, incidentally), we were like "Oh, that's cool, Jared Leto has turned into Jordan Catalano in real life! Let him do some role-playing for a while -- this nonsense will all be over soon enough." But no. Here the band still is. On the verge of releasing a fourth full-length. Can't this nightmare be over already?

It's not just that Leto is a better actor than a musician. It's not just the horror stories we hear in backstage rooms about Leto's rumored egomania and the persistent, alleged tales of bratty behavior that continue to follow him around. Put in the simplest of terms, when we think about 30 Seconds to Mars, we just cannot figure out who the hell is still buying the band's music at this point. To illustrate why, here's the brand new single, "Up in the Air":



"Up in the Air" is a really great example of why 30 Seconds to Mars has never done it for us. It -- like every 30STM song we've ever heard -- has all the elements necessary to make an exciting song, without ever actually becoming one.

We listen to "Up in the Air," with its vaguely dancey undertone, and its "woah-oh-oh" refrain, and its soaring chorus, and feel absolutely nothing about any of it. Nada. Zip. Because it's the sound of a band that understands the structural elements of anthems, and has figured out how to build nice big shiny ones, but never actually stopped to put any genuine emotion into the finished product.

Leto knows how to fake emotion and tries to get it in there that way -- he knows when to yell, he knows when to be quiet, and he knows when he's supposed to convey sadness or happiness or excitement. And he does that every time he sings. Problem is, it all feels incredibly hollow at its core. Everything is too shiny. We don't believe him. We can't engage with him. To make matters worse, while it's not really bad, his singing voice lacks personality, so there's a detachment present to begin with.

So, on and on 30 Seconds to Mars continues to trundle, writing songs that are perfectly constructed and fine, kinda. We just want to feel something real from these guys -- a glimmer of something we can empathize with, a story that sounds raw and fresh, a crack in the veneer. Something.

A copy of "Up in the Air" was sent into space on March 1st, with the Dragon spacecraft, which was delivering cargo, supplies and experiments to the crew of the International Space Station. What a genuinely great idea! But, let's face it -- terribly fitting. Just about the only place 30 Seconds to Mars would sound somewhat human is in a place where there are none.

-- @Raemondjjjj

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11 comments
shoshita
shoshita

The actual f%&$???  I get it if you don't like the music, it's not for everyone but don't go spouting such ignorant nonsense and insult the people who do like and "feel" the music! I know for a fact how much their music has helped a lot of people and how much it means to them! Plus: they're not just "jared leto fangirls"... 

I for one think Mars is a great band who put everything into their music and have a connection to the people who listen to it unlike any other band I've come across! 

So if you are too emotionally stunted to get anything from their actually pretty deep and emotional music I feel truly sorry for you... But that's only my very subjective opinion, I would never assume to speak for anyone else or a majority of people, - unlike someone else *hinthint*!

aqualech
aqualech

98% of TSTM buyers are starry-eyed Jared fangirls who somewhat lack musical perspective or anything like critical thinking.  I agreed with your assessment of the music 100%, except you missed one obvious thing: it was probably cobbled together by the label to whom they still owe 2 albums.  Jared sings, some synth tech who understands crescendos did the rest.

ms_tipene
ms_tipene

Rae Alexandra = Oxygen stealer. Please do the world a favor & give up doing any reviews on music bands. You simply don't get it!

noah100121
noah100121

This is by far the WORST review I have ever read, not because of the fact that I love 30 Seconds to Mars, but the fact that you are only stating your opinion, the opening and ending is horrible, and the fact that you don't even state the good. They are one of the most popular rock bands in the world, hence the fact that they are in the Book of World records for most stage performances for an album. I get fucking feels from his songs, they are great. Listen to Echelon, listen to Alibi, those are great songs with tons of sad feels, then there are songs like Closer to the Edge and Up in the Air, which want to make you get up and dance. You are just a horrible, close-minded person.

mcgheeceecee
mcgheeceecee

You write like an ignorant 10 year old.   Notwithstanding your horribly written opening paragraph,  you then move on to the most tired excuse to not give the guy his due (fyi, even the haters have moved on from it), and then you go on to talk about rumours? stories? - to lay the foundation on which you base your OPINION that the song lacks emotion.  Of course, these rumours and stories you speak of mean his music and singing lacks emotion right? (I'm laughing as I write this)  Who buys their albums?  The same people who buy tickets to sold out stadium tours.  You blither on about "structural elements" and how it's all "perfectly constructed" as if you "know music" and  therefore presume credibility when saying there's no real emotion or authenticity in the performance.   But it is painfully clear that the only thing you know in fact is... nothing 

BananaBetty
BananaBetty

Not everyone out there will like everything a band puts out but I am really quite surprised by your review.   Like a few of the other people commenting, I feel the complete opposite.  Up in the Air is fun and infectious.  Im looking forward to the rest of the album when it's released on May 21 - pick up a copy, I betcha like at least one song on there if not 12 ! 

P.S. - Time to get over the Jordan Catalano thing...it's been like 20 years since that show.

hugortferreira
hugortferreira

Is your life so frustrating??  30 seconds to mars continues to sell out shows around the world ! Jared is one of the most talented guys on this planet, so discharge your frustration over your bathroom instead making these ridiculous reviews. 

meteorhero26
meteorhero26

This entire article, it's just a person saying "Yeah, Jared is great and the band really knows how to make a good song, but 'we' just don't 'feel it'.

What kind of contradiction is that? Like, seriously!?


This is a very weak attempt to drag a band down to your own level, Rae Alexandria.

stasa.meles
stasa.meles

I  have to say, that I cannot believe, what I was reading in this review about 30 seconds to Mars. My opinion on that group is exactly the opposite.To me their songs are very exciting and they are touching me because I do feel the genuine emotions, the big questions and the turmoil  in them. 30STM do sound human, because the text reveals so much understanding of the human nature and at the same time is expressing their own seeking for answers.  I LOVE 30STM!

rockinangels
rockinangels

What a BS article. I tell you what the actual nightmare is. Someone letting you publish articles is a real nightmare. I mean really? If something is beyond your intelligent to understand  try to keep it to yourself and spare us. We don't need to know how dumb you are. I mean at least do some fact checking before putting this together. If the band brook the Guinness world record of touring just for one cycle album with 300+ sold out shows "all over the world", there must be a lot of people "all over the world" who STILL love to listen to them. And that just beside the fact that the millions of albums sold already. 

Grow up a little, please 

xnorcrossx
xnorcrossx

You are without a doubt the stupidest reviewer I have ever read an article from.

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