Review: ‘America’


Audrey Vieira, Commentary Editor

Five years after their last release, “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams,” Thirty Seconds to Mars has returned to the charts with “America.” However, this new release takes a drastic departure from the band’s early emo material, trading pop-punk for mainstream pop.

Personally, I have no issue with previously pop-punk artists making such a switch as long as the new music retains the quality of older material, no matter how much the sound changes over the years. Thirty Seconds to Mars flawlessly fulfills this standard with lead single “Walk on Water,” which opens the album by reflecting on America’s chaotic current political climate. Combining the political and religious allusions of the lyrics with catchy choruses makes “Walk on Water” an intriguing listen, an arena-ready anthem and an exciting introduction to the new era of Thirty Seconds to Mars.

However, while “Walk on Water” marks the start of something new, the remainder of “America” recycles the same sounds throughout each track. Even the collaborations — including production from Zedd (“Dangerous Night”), vocal features from A$AP Rocky (“One Track Mind”) and Halsey (“Love Is Madness”) — fail to add the variety this album so desperately needs. Although A$AP Rocky’s rap bridge breathes some life into “One Track Mind,” his verse isn’t enough to make the otherwise dull single shine, and Halsey’s part in “Love Is Madness” merely repeats lyrics already sung by vocalist Jared Leto. Repetition is especially rampant on “Love Is Madness” and “Dangerous Night,” which replace proper bridges with the same pre-chorus listeners have already heard twice before. The absence of originality is evident throughout these tracks, and even the most talented collaborators aren’t enough to fix this problem and make “America” great.

Though “America” introduces itself as an exploration of intriguing concepts and new territory, it only aims high enough to earn a C. If this album represents the next era of Thirty Seconds to Mars, I’ll declare my independence.