REVIEW: Thirty Seconds to Mars transform on ‘It’s The End of the World But It’s a Beautiful Day’

Thirty Seconds to Mars, 30 Seconds to Mars, 30STM, Jared Leto

Thirty Seconds to Mars, “It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day.”

Thirty Seconds to Mars have always been a difficult band to pin down. While Jared Leto and co. launched as an emo-leaning alternative rock outfit, the band really hasn’t really existed in that space for some time. Not only has its sound evolved but so to has its structure; the group is essentially a duo now with brothers Jared and Shannon Leto. It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day feels like a natural extension of 2018’s America. But it pulls from a far wider spectrum of sounds and emotions.

It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day
Thirty Seconds to Mars

Concord, Sept. 15
Get the album on Amazon Music.

The band’s stated goal was to simplify. There are no expansive five- to six-minute-long songs to be found. In their place are nearly a dozen songs that hover right around the three-minute mark—they’re ready made for radio! Most are also spacious and atmospheric, without Thirty Seconds to Mars’ previously used wall-of-sound production.

The album opens with the melancholic guitar notes of “Stuck,” which slowly builds to an urgent bass thump and fuzzy bass synth. The rhythm is infectious, veering the track from alt-pop to dance territory—especially when Leto breaks into wordless vocalizations—dum-dum-badum-bum—bridge.

To his credit, the added space allows Leto’s voice to emote in way that some of the band’s previous work doesn’t have. Thirty Seconds to Mars then reign it right back in for “Life if Beautiful,” which also begins calmly and allows for a more intimate vocal delivery. That is, until the percussion-heavy chorus arrives section arrives (think Imagine Dragons).

The album succeeds in covering a range of emotions, not only focusing on the negatives of modern society.

“Falling through space/ I’m living in an empty place/ But one truth that I know/ Is that life’s beautiful,” Leto sings.

“Seasons’ may have no equivalent in the 30STM songbook. It’s a breezy ballad that shifts from a chilled-out acoustic strumming to a lightly programmed loop. As a pop track, the song delivers, almost surprisingly. Leto seems to find comfort in the uncomfortable, putting himself in positions to write songs that may not necessarily come naturally. “Get Up Kid” exists in the same space, doubling down on the intersection of heartbreak and opportunity, finding an ultimately positive message.

“Get up kid/ Swing and a miss/ But life’s around the bend,” he sings, encouraging listeners.

Leto offers his critique on modern love, with so many emphasizing the heartbreak over the beauty, on “Love These Days.” The song has a laidback R&B sway, with a minimalist production that keeps things moving. It’s a message that’s carried forward on the surprisingly uplifting “World On Fire,” declaring, “Let there be light/ And we’ll set this world on fire.”

The tradeoff with the new sound is that Thirty Seconds to Mars’ more dramatic moments are absent. The band opts for nuance instead. Driven by bass-laden drumming and Leto’s soaring, sometimes screamed vocals, “7:1” gets closest to the traditional Thirty Seconds to Mars sound.

Piano ballad “Never Not Love You” achieves quiet the opposite. The delicate track has a one-note piano drone and features lovelorn singing and a less-is-more musical foundation.

Drummer Shannon Leto moves to the forefront (singing) on “Midnight Prayer.” It’s a return engagement as he also handled vocals on America‘s “Remedy.” He’s effective, even without his brother’s range and power, and makes the anthemic track one of the album’s high points.

The pace slows on atmospheric ballad “Lost These Days.” The song has a deceivingly complex layering of sounds. The beat kicks in for the last chorus, taking it toward a club-oriented direction, before album closer “Avalanche” goes lighter on the electronics and toward a slightly more traditional sound. Think of it as a poppier take on rocker “From Yesterday.”

Follow writer Mike DeWald at

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