Have you ever wondered why the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars looks so familiar? Well, that is because he is an Oscar-winning actor. If you didn't know already, #SuicideSquad star #JaredLeto is that familiar face of the group. Truth is he has been a part of the Billboard Award winning group since its formation in 1998. He has even created a concert and event streaming platform for the band (and other artists) called VyRT.
The band consists of Leto, his older brother Shannon Leto, and Tomo Milicevic, and has been around the radio and touring circuits since releasing their self-titled debut album in 2002. The group has consistently risen in popularity since their 2005 release, A Beautiful Lie, went mainstream. They even managed to even set a Guinness World Record after their 2009 release, This is War, when they toured the world for two years straight with over 300 concerts.
Despite what you might think would come from a successful career in Hollywood, it hasn't been an easy road. The group was sued for $30 million by their label, Virgin/EMI, in 2008 after attempting to re-negotiate the terms of their record deal. After a long and heavy fought legal battle (which Leto's documentary Artifact profiles), they have achieved both domestic and international success and have one of the largest fanbases worldwide known as the Echelon. They are also currently working on their fifth studio album to be released under their new record deal with Interscope in 2017.
With that said, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the best songs 30 Seconds to Mars has given us so far. These songs are quite eclectic as the band has evolved their sound quite a bit over the years, but it's an evolution that not many groups can undergi and live to tell the tale. Given the fact that they managed to independently record and release This is War to massive success in the midst of a $30 million lawsuit, you have to give these guys credit where credit is due.
12. "Edge of the Earth"
"Edge of the Earth" debuted in March 2003 and served as the second single from the band's 2002 self-titled album. It managed to do pretty well and is often considered by many fans to be one of the best songs the group has released. The accompanying video profiles the band in their early tour days and is quite nostalgic for any longtime Echelon.
One of the more strongly worded songs from the band, "Attack" gave us the first taste of what A Beautiful Lie was all about in May 2005. It hit #22 on the modern rock charts in the United States and remains to be a fan favorite to this day.
10. "Do or Die"
Described by Leto himself to be about the pursuit of dreams, "Do or Die" is one of those songs you can't help but feel inspired by. Similar to another song on this list, the music video follows the band on their touring journey and features interviews conducted with Echelon around the world. The single debuted in July 2013 and managed to reach #20 on the US Billboard alternative chart.
9. "Up in the Air"
This lead single from the 2013 release, Love Lust Faith + Dreams, delivers that different sound mentioned before. The more alternative-pop sound seems to have paid off as the song managed to rise to #13 on the Billboard charts. The music video also turned a lot of heads as it features cameos from fellow celebrities, to models, to Olympic gold medalists. Not to mention the fact that "Up In the Air" became the first song to debut inside of the International Space Station with the band watching via satellite at NASA.
8. "Closer to the Edge"
This song was the third single from This is War. Although it only got to #7 on the US Billboard charts, it reached #1 on the UK Rock Singles chart and managed to deliver some pretty deep, inspirational lyrics. The accompanying music video took us around the world on their record-breaking Into the Wild tour, as well as again featuring interviews conducted with Echelon worldwide. Get ready to dance, everyone.
7. "City of Angels"
Let's face it, "City of Angels" is just a beautiful song. Inspired by Leto's personal journey to Los Angeles, this song really hits you in the feelings as it profiles what fame, dreams, and the City of Angels means. The accompanying video (aka, short film) isnt too shabby either as Leto profiles fellow musicians and actors, such as Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan, Juliette Lewis, and Corey Feldman, as well as Los Angeles street performers on what dreams and the city means to them. Single wise, the song did quite well as it reached #8 on the US Billboard alternative chart.
6. "A Beautiful Lie"
Released in December 2007, this was the fourth single from their album A Beautiful Lie. The band made music video history by filming entirely on location in Greenland. The band filmed the video while performing on top of active glaciers and icebergs. They released a documentary short about the making of the project titled Edge of the Earth: Featuring 30 Seconds to Mars, directed by Jared under his pseudonym, Bartholomew Cubbins.
5. "From Yesterday"
"From Yesterday" served as the third single from A Beautiful Lie and hit the airwaves in November 2006. It peaked on the top 20 charts in 26 countries around the world and was the band's first #1 single on the Billboard charts. The video made history once again as they became the first band in music history to film a music video entirely in the People's Republic of China.
If you feel like sitting down for almost 14 minutes (and aren't easily offended), I would recommend checking out the video accompaniment for "Hurricane." It's rather dark and has a lot of imagery that enhances the strong lyrical content of the song. It also goes to show what a visionary director that Bartholomew Cubbins is. The original single was released in December 2009, while a remix with #KanyeWest was released in November 2010.
3. "Kings and Queens"
"Kings and Queens" served as the leading single from the 2009 release, This is War. It peaked at #1 on the Billboard charts and gave the band a resurgence in the wake of the lawsuit between them and the record label, EMI. It even was featured in several film trailers, such as Hugo and Rise of the Guardians, and was covered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It's also one of the most fun songs to see performed live as it involves a lot of audience involvement - including Jared pulling audience members to sing and dance with him on stage.
2. "The Kill (Bury Me)"
"The Kill (Bury Me)" was the second single from A Beautiful Lie and was released in January 2006. Basically, this is the song that's responsible for launching 30 Seconds to Mars into musical stardom. The accompanying music video was directed by Leto himself and was a fun play on the Stanley Kubrick horror classic, #TheShining. No matter how many times you've heard this song on the radio, it's always a solid addition to any playlist.
1. "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)"
In this case, you can't mess with the original. "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" was the band's debut single that hit back in July 2002. Although songs from their self-titled album isn't too well remembered, this song really represents what #30SecondsToMars is all about in terms of lyrical development, energy, and sound. It also did pretty good for a debut, too. It managed to reach #40 on the #Billboard mainstream rock charts.
- "This Is War" - This Is War (2009)
- "Buddha for Mary" - 30 Seconds to Mars (2002)
- "Northern Lights" - Love Lust Faith + Dreams (2013)
- "Was It a Dream?" - A Beautiful Lie (2005)
- "Night of the Hunter" - This Is War (2009)
- "End of All Days" - Love Lust Faith + Dreams (2013)
"Alibi" - This Is War (2009)