October 11, 2002

Test Spin – 30 Seconds to Mars

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Actor/Musician: one of those titles that so many in the entertainment industry strive to have, although most have little success with this cross-over (ever see Mick Jagger in Freejack or hear Keanu Reeves’ band Dogstar?). But 30 Seconds to Mars may give frontman Jared Leto (Requiem For A Dream, Fight Club) a reputation as both a respected actor and singer.

The band’s self-titled debut consists of hard rock tracks that would fit in perfectly with both alternative radio and MTV2’s playlists. “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)” sets the stage for the rest of the CD — lyrics laden with odd references to outer space over driving guitars and synthesized sound effects. Leto’s voice has no trouble accommodating slow, whispery intros (in “Fallen”) or the loud, rageful chorus in “93 Million Miles.”

With song titles such as “Edge of the Earth,” “Welcome to the Universe,” and “Oblivion,” the album makes more allusions to the extraterrestrial than an Astronomy Grad student. Leto combines the otherworldly with bizarre apocalyptic images to create what sounds like the soundtrack to futuristic hopelessness. In “Buddha For Mary,” the singer’s voice is combined with a computerized voice and the disturbing lyrics, “He said ‘can you hear me are you sleeping’/ she said ‘will you rape me now’… he said ‘there’s a paradise beneath me’/ she said ‘am I supposed to bleed’.” Leto’s voice possesses a kind of innocence that adds to the dark sound of the songs.

30 Seconds to Mars proves that not all actor’s musical endeavors should simply be labeled as a joke. Let’s just hope the singer doesn’t adopt any clever monikers like J. Let-o.

Archived article by Ariel Ronneburger