A Beautiful Lie is Thirty Seconds To Mars’ second effort, released in 2005 after their eponymous debut in 2002. While their first album only saw limited success, A Beautiful Lie catapulted them into the mainstream airwaves and brought newfound recognition upon the band. What’s inside this iconic album that made it a widespread success?
Listening to A Beautiful Lie for the first time both fascinated and confused me at the same time. While I had heard the album’s singles before, and have always been fond of Attack and The Kill, the style of the rest of the album felt so broadly inspired by so many other bands that I couldn’t pinpoint one specific influence for the band’s sophomore release. And yet it’s the broadness of progressive sound on the album that left the biggest impression for me.
While the introductory riff from Was It A Dream? could’ve come straight from a Metallica ballad (Sanitarium specifically comes to mind), the rest of the song fits right in with the 2000s punk-pop-emo scene. The preceding track, The Kill, is heavy on the My Chemical Romance sound with its aggressive screaming vocals. Each track has a different vibe from the rest, putting its listeners in a different mood to make for a roller coaster of a musical experience. It is for this reason that, as a short-term impression, I wouldn’t hesitate to rank A Beautiful Lie among some of my favorite albums.
The back half of the album, meanwhile, takes on a similar blend of musical influences. While some songs take pages from the musical styles of Linkin Park and Blink-182, songs such as The Battle of One adopt the theatrics of Green Day. As I write this and currently listen to the album’s closing track, Hunter, I come to realize that the album’s varied influences are what make 30STM’s sound so unique; if you were to ask me which band 30STM reminds me of, I would likely fail to give you a singular answer.
I truly don’t believe that there’s a bad song on the album. I wouldn’t even claim to say that some songs are weaker than others. Each song on A Beautiful Lie both blends with the next while standing out uniquely on its own, be it differences in vocal styles, instrumentals, or even in the electro-vibes heard in Attack and Hunter. A Beautiful Lie feels like a rare album that perfectly summarizes the progressive rock scene of the 2000s and deserves your utmost attention.
A Beautiful Lie marked a departure from the band’s self-titled debut, but this evolution in sound would help to contribute to the album’s success. A Beautiful Lie debuted at #36 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release for sales of 21,000 copies.
Frontman Jared Leto, before his involvement with the band, made fame as an actor, starring in films such as Fight Club (1999) and American Psycho (2000) during the band’s early days. As a result of Leto’s filming schedule, A Beautiful Lie was recorded in five different countries on four different continents.
The album would bring the band to worldwide fame, particularly with singles The Kill and From Yesterday. A Beautiful Lie has since sold 1.2 million copies in the United States alone, and would lead to the band’s first performances at international festivals such as Rock am Ring and Roskilde.
In 2009, Kerrang! Magazine ranked A Beautiful Lie #4 on their 50-album list of decade-best albums.
Thirty Seconds to Mars’ latest album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, was released in 2013. As of late, Leto has refocused on his acting career, which included supporting roles in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Suicide Squad (2016). Despite his filming schedule, Leto’s touring requirement have been seemingly unfazed, as the band has played festivals and tours throughout 2015 and 2016.
Currently, the band is at work recording their fifth studio album. It was confirmed in 2016 that the band had signed with Interscope Records, with an album releasing sometime in 2017.
Next week’s review: The Descendents’ “Milo Goes To College”