Released: May 17, 2013
Genre: Alternative Rock, Art Rock, Pop Rock
Label: EMI, Virgin
Number Of Tracks: 12
Grandiose production and amazing promotion doesn't stop this album from falling short. The first single, "Up In The Air," was the first commercial music release to be sent to space.
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
UG Team, on may 21, 2013 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: The band originally formed in 1997 by brothers Jared (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Shannon Leto (drums). Currently, since 2007, they are the only original members and the band is completed with lead guitarist Tomo Miličević. The band has had a few lineup changes over the years, always attributed to members leaving due to the touring schedule. The band's sound has changed drastically since their first release, and has been labeled one of several dozen different genres basically everything from emo to nu-metal to progressive metal. Their most diehard fans call themselves "The Echelon" and insist they aren't fans at all but "family." The band is involved in charities and has inspired much of their fan base to be involved in charities as well (which is admirable). Even more admirable, Jared Leto has made a point to keep his acting career and his band separate, refusing to play in venues that try to promote the band by using his name. There are a lot of things the band is doing right, but somehow their latest release still seems to fall a little flat.
"Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams" is the fourth full length studio album released by 30 Seconds To Mars and has a total runtime of just under 45 minutes. The first single from the album is "Up In The Air" which was debuted aboard the international space station on March 18th, being the first commercial release to be sent to space. It was released the next day, on March 19th as an available download on iTunes. The band recorded the choral support vocals via an event called "The Summit" where they invite fans to meet up to provide these vocals. They had used the same practice previously on the album "This Is War." The album is divided into 4 sections named after the words in the album title ("Love," "Lust," "Faith" and "Dreams") and the album was written as a concept album. Now, let me tell you how this album has failed they wrote every song on the album like it is intended to be a stadium ballad. Every song is written with very little substance but instead is full of hooks and big choruses and at the end of the day just sounds gimmicky. On the positive, the mixing and production on the album were nicely done and this could have potentially been an astounding album with more thoughtful songwriting. // 6
Lyrics: Jared Leto really does have an excellent voice, even when supporting sub-par songwriting as on this album. On the band's previous releases Jared's voice has really shined as a raw and soulful voice, but there seems to be a tad more in the way of post-processing completed on this album which makes his voice sound great (from a pop standpoint) but isn't doing him any favors with rock fans. I've read a little bit about Jared Leto getting caught up in some kind of rock 'n' roll messiah god complex, and after hearing this album I'm beginning to wonder. The lyrics from the album tend to range from pop music shallow to just ridiculous. As an example, here are some lyrics from the track "City Of Angels": "There was truth/ There was consequence/ Against you, weak defense/ Then there's me/ I'm seventeen/ looking for a fight/ All my life/ I was never there/ Just a ghost/ Running scared/ here our dreams are made/ the one." Jared Leto doesn't have any kind of leg to stand on singing about being seventeen and looking for a fight it just comes off as ridiculous and cheesy. The other lyrics on the album don't really get much better. // 5
Overall Impression: Before the album "This Is War" I had pretty much discounted 30 Seconds To Mars as radio pop, but when I heard "This Is War" I thought I must have made a mistake it was better than I expected. Then with the release of "Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams" I have to wonder if my original opinion was right after all. None of us can know what happened with the members to bring them to this point, but honestly the music sounds pretentious and shallow in a way that makes me feel seriously negative about the band. I had read recently about Jared Leto working with Kanye West and the band performing covers of some straight pop music in concert and at the time I thought it was "tongue in cheek" or just a fun sideline, but maybe this is the honest direction the band is moving towards.
Love Lust Faith + Dreams
Darth Wader, on may 30, 2013 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: There is much to compare 30 Seconds To Mars' "Love Lust Faith + Dreams" to Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns." Both bands are known for a vocalist with an impressive range that switches back and forth between melodic and aggressive and always intense. Both bands have put out albums with those moments with hard hitting guitars that perfectly compliment the intense vocals. Both albums have a message that is lost on this reviewer. And now both bands have put out albums where the guitar has become non-existent. I am unsure why rock bands of today are feeling a need to replace the guitar with keyboards and fake drumbeats. In an effort to improve the song, both of these groups have put out albums where the climax of songs come out flat. Granted, both of these albums manage to pull together a few decent songs and I truly believe that if you put some of these songs live in an arena with the guitar in the mix, they could make for great songs. Unfortunately, "Love Lust Faith + Dreams" is a disappointment in my opinion.
Jared Leto claims that 30 Seconds To Mar is an "art project." This is clearly evident in their newest offering but as mentioned above, the art has failed. Co-mingled with this "art" are plenty of oh's and whoa's and other singalong moments that are strategically designed for the large arenas that 30 Seconds To Mars sell out on a nightly basis. While this album will do nothing to impede the quality of their live shows, I am hoping that their next album is more of a return to the group that put out one of the best albums of last decade, "A Beautiful Lie." // 4
Lyrics: Lyrics are uninspired and obtuse at best. While there are plenty of singalong moments (and an overload of "ohs," "ahs," and "whoas" and some repeating of lines), the lyrics do not really say anything. Jared's vocals are solid, per usual, though I do believe the production has made them a little polished and has removed the rawness that has helped defined some of his earlier work. There are a lot of similar moments in each song with Leto singing softly and then building his vocals louder to the point of predictability. // 4
Overall Impression: 1. "Birth": An interesting track that leads into a synth heavy album. Although only about two minutes in length, it has some cool moments. It begins with some keyboard and when Jared's vocals come in, I was feeling excited to hear what was coming next. Sadly, I did not know that the keyboard was going to take over this album.
2. "Conquistador": Plenty of "oh's." References to fighting and wars and great background vocals of "We will, we will, we will rise again." There is some guitars in this song but unfortunately they are nothing special.
3. "Up In The Air": More "oh's" and "whoa's" designed for an arena singalong. This is the first single of this album. Again, not to sound like a broken record but hard hitting guitars would have make this an epic song. But the mix of keyboards/synth and fake beats make it stale. Leto's vocals are great as usual.
4. "City Of Angels": The highlight of this album. A slower song for 30 Seconds To Mars but it is one lyrically that I feel is quality. Again, keyboards reign supreme but this time it works. Probably will be a second single.
5. "The Race": This song begins with... Synth. And what again sounds like fake drums. There is a pattern here of similar sounding music and Leto starting quiet as the song builds. This would be more effective with some sort of buildup of intense music but with synths, it cannot reach the apex required to cut you to the core.
6. "End Of All Days": Starts with piano which is a little different than keyboard/synths. Leto's voice is quiet and it builds... Ineffectively with fake drums and keyboards. The chorus is simple enough: "All we need is faith. All we need is faith. Faith is all we need." The message of this song is lost on me. I can't tell if Leto is being ironic as the verses seem to betray the chorus. If that is the point, then it is pretty weak.
7. "Pyres Of Varansi": Worst thing I have heard in awhile. It is a filler track with keyboards and what sounds like an Indian guy caterwauling. It is one that I wanted to skip almost immediately and wish that I did.
8. "Bright Lights": Starts of slow with Leto's vocals. Builds with keyboard/synths with some more "oh's." And then more keyboards and synths. I am starting to wonder if anyone got credited with guitars on this album.
9. "Do Or Die": You'll never guess how this song starts... Synths. And then it is slow with Leto's vocals. And then fake drums come in. And if they are not fake drums here (or anywhere else on this album that I mentioned it) then they sure do sound fake and I apologize. Then the song builds a little with more synth and some "oh's" and "whoa's." It never reaches the climax it deserves. Leto's vocals sound great, though, but cannot save the mediocre song.
10. "Convergence": Another throwaway, filler track. Just keyboards for 2 minutes. Press skip. It adds nothing.
11. "Northern Lights": Fake drums begin this song. It begins slow and Leto's vocals come in. He does a little bit of his screaming which is unfortunately limited on this album. My guess is that it is limited due to the lack of hard hitting intense moments. It is a shame, especially at this point, when the album is near its close. This would be a pretty good song if you added in some guitars to go along with the synths/strings.
12. "Depuis Le Debut": The last song is also close to a throwaway track. It makes an odd conclusion to the lackluster album.
In conclusion, I think it is obvious my feeling on this record. The songs in themselves are decent but the constant keyboards/synth and fake drumbeats cause the songs go nowhere. I will say if you were a fan of Linkin Park's "A Thousand Suns," then you will probably enjoy this album. If you are a fan of 30 Seconds To Mars previous output AND a fan of guitars, then you will not enjoy. I still remain hopeful, though, as Linkin Park followed up "A Thousand Suns" with the excellent "Living Things." I can only hope then that 30 Seconds To Mars will do the same. // 4