America (Thirty Seconds to Mars album)

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America
A yellow background with the words "Thirty Seconds to Mars" printed vertically on the left margin, with the band's logo featured in the top left corner. A list of the "Six Popular Sex Positions As Reported By Askmen" is printed across the rest of the space.
One of ten covers created for the album. This is the main cover used for digital editions.
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 6, 2018 (2018-04-06)
StudioThe International Centre for the Advancement of the Arts and Sciences of Sound
(Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length42:22
LabelInterscope
Producer
Thirty Seconds to Mars chronology
Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams
(2013)
America
(2018)
Singles from America
  1. "Walk on Water"
    Released: August 22, 2017
  2. "Dangerous Night"
    Released: January 25, 2018
  3. "Rescue Me"
    Released: June 15, 2018

America is the fifth studio album by American rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, released by Interscope Records on April 6, 2018. It is their first album release in five years, after 2013's Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, as well as their first release under Interscope following the band's departure from Virgin in 2014.

Produced by frontman Jared Leto alongside Yellow Claw, Zedd, Robopop, and others, the album represents a drastic shift in style from the experimental compositions of their previous efforts, with an electronic and art pop aesthetic shaping the musical genre of America. It was described as a concept album exploring themes such as politics, sex, and fame. America is the fourth and final Thirty Seconds to Mars album to feature lead guitarist Tomo Miličević, who left the band two months after its release.[3]

The album received polarizing reviews from critics. Some commended the conceptual themes, while others felt that they were not fully developed; critics also debated the stylistic change in the band's sound. Upon its release, America debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, becoming the band's highest entry on the chart.

Background[edit]

Thirty Seconds to Mars released their fourth studio album Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams in May 2013. The album, produced by frontman Jared Leto and previous collaborator Steve Lillywhite, marked a shift in the band's musical direction from an alternative rock sound, recognized with A Beautiful Lie (2005) and This Is War (2009), to a more experimental and electronic-influenced sound.[4] The band parted ways with Virgin Records in 2014 after tumultuous years with the label, and later signed with Interscope.[5]

The group began preparations for new music in November 2015, with Leto expressing his desire to experiment and explore new musical grounds.[6][7] Additionally, Leto started working on the documentary film A Day in the Life of America, which was conceived as a companion piece to the band's fifth album. The film includes user-submitted footage from July 4, 2017, depicting Independence Day in the United States, and is scheduled for release in 2018.[8] The band later embarked on a promotional tour with Muse and PVRIS, which was one of the highest-grossing North American tour of 2017, according to Pollstar's annual year-end tour chart.[9]

While touring, Thirty Seconds to Mars announced "Walk on Water" as the lead single from the album.[10] Critics acknowledged a slight political edge in the song's lyrics, inspired by the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.[11] The song earned the band an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Alternative. While collecting the award, Jared Leto made a remark at Trump's immigration policy as he stated, "We are Americans – a land of immigrants – and we just want to say that we welcome you with open arms and with open hearts, and we love you."[12]

Promotion[edit]

America was first announced by the band in February 2018 under a placeholder name, alongside the North American leg of The Monolith Tour.[13] Tickets for the tour, including the previously-announced European leg, were sold with a copy of the album, to be delivered upon its release on April 6, 2018.[13] A presale of tickets were offered to people that had pre-ordered the album before February 12.[14] America was officially unveiled by the band and Interscope Records on March 22, 2018. It was unveiled with an advertising campaign featuring billboards and posters reproducing the album's art direction and design. Billboards were located at landmark locations such as Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, New York City's Times Square, and outside of a number of London Underground stations.[15] A listening session for the album took place on April 3 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.[16]

Singles[edit]

On August 22, 2017, Interscope released "Walk on Water" as the lead single promoting the then-unannounced fifth studio album by the band.[10] The song was performed live for the first time at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards on August 27 with Travis Scott as a special surprise guest.[17] A music video for the song premiered on Vevo on November 8, 2017, featuring footage from the documentary film A Day in the Life of America. "Walk on Water" was used by ESPN as the promotional theme for the network's coverage of the 2017 College Football season.[18]

"Dangerous Night" was released as the second single from the album on January 25, 2018, after it premiered on Zane Lowe's radio show of Beats 1 in London.[19] The band debuted the song live the same day at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Their performance was filmed through the use of advanced robotic cameras which changed frame following the beat of the track, and featured an interpretive dancer. Nicholas Rice from Billboard commended the band's performance, praising its visuals and calling it "one-of-a-kind".[20]

"Rescue Me" was released as the third single from the album on June 15, 2018.[21] The official music video premiered three days earlier.[22] On May 27, 2018, the band were joined on stage by Shawn Mendes to perform the song at BBC Music's Biggest Weekend.[23]

Packaging[edit]

The art direction and design for the album were handled by Willo Perron and Jared Leto.[24] America features multiple album covers featuring an array of lists of words that reflect the themes of the album, including the most prescribed drugs, iconic American names, the most valuable trademarks, popular sex positions, recognizable abbreviated agencies, most dangerous sports, highest paid YouTubers and hot topics. Thirty Seconds to Mars also launched a custom album cover generator allowing fans to create their own custom lists in the format of the America album cover. Leto explained, "For me the lists are almost like a time capsule. Independently they may surprise, entertain or provoke, but as a group they give us a sense of the culture we are a part of and the times we are living in."[25]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[26]
Alternative Addiction3.5/5 stars[27]
Belfast Telegraph8/10[28]
Contactmusic3.5/5 stars[29]
Kerrang!2/5[30]
The Music4/5 stars[31]
Q2/5 stars[32]
The Record8/10[2]
The Reflector4.5/5 stars[33]
Spinmixed[34]

America received polarizing reviews from music critics. Many commentators commended the album's conceptual execution, while others believed that its underlying concept was not fully developed. Critics also debated the stylistic change in the band's sound.[30] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 47 based on four reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[32] Neil Z. Yeung from AllMusic described America as a "bold and risky move" from the band, calling it as "vast and polarizing" as the country after which it is named.[26] Katie Wattendorf, writing for The Cavalier Daily, gave America a positive review, praising the album's concept and calling it "as diverse as the country itself". She commented that the album addresses recent history in the United States not just "by mentioning the political climate, or the violence, or the technology takeover — but by posing a solution in the form of unity through differences, cohesion through variety".[35] Aneta Grulichova from The Music magazine awarded the album four stars out of five and praised the band's stylistic change, noting that the record incorporates a softer sound as well as elements from techno.[31]

Spin's Al Shipley, who gave the album a mixed review, felt that the energy and volume found in the band's signature style was replaced with "fairly tame looped and programmed beats and ominous synths", although he praised the song "Rider", describing it as "a rare glimpse at a Thirty Seconds to Mars that's willing to subvert expectations".[34] Both Q and Kerrang! gave America a mixed review, with the former calling the album "unsubtle, self-important and not half as good as it thinks it is", while the latter called it "an odd album, one that requires patience to unlock."[32] In a four-and-a-half star review, Ethan Gerling of The Reflector wrote that the album functions as a "conversation on the current state of America and its culture" without making extreme political statements, and praised the musical diversity, writing that the band "struck gold with their experimental digging style" in the album.[33]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Walk on Water"Jared LetoJ. Leto3:05
2."Dangerous Night"
3:19
3."Rescue Me"
  • J. Leto
  • Graham Muron
  • KillaGraham
  • J. Leto
3:37
4."One Track Mind" (featuring ASAP Rocky)
4:20
5."Monolith"J. LetoJ. Leto1:38
6."Love Is Madness" (featuring Halsey)
  • J. Leto
  • Jamie Schefman
3:54
7."Great Wide Open"J. LetoJ. Leto4:49
8."Hail to the Victor"
3:22
9."Dawn Will Rise"J. Leto
  • Schefman
  • J. Leto
3:57
10."Remedy"
J. Leto3:17
11."Live Like a Dream"J. LetoJ. Leto4:06
12."Rider"J. Leto
  • Tommy English
  • J. Leto
2:58
Total length:42:22

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Qobuz.[36]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[37] 10
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[38] 1
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[39] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[40] 7
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[41] 3
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[42] 4
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[43] 14
Estonian Albums (IFPI)[44] 7
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[45] 13
French Albums (SNEP)[46] 10
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[47] 1
Greek Albums (IFPI Greece)[48] 11
Irish Albums (IRMA)[49] 15
Italian Albums (FIMI)[50] 2
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[51] 36
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[52] 20
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[53] 4
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[54] 2
Russian Albums (NFPF)[55] 2
Scottish Albums (OCC)[56] 4
Slovak Albums (ČNS IFPI)[57] 8
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[58] 9
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[59] 24
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[60] 2
UK Albums (OCC)[61] 4
US Billboard 200[62] 2
US Top Alternative Albums (Billboard)[63] 1
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[64] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Russia (NFPF)[55] Gold 5,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leep, Joshua (April 6, 2018). "Thirty Seconds to Mars traverses electronic territory in 'America'". Salute. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Ryan, Patrick (April 5, 2018). "America". The Record.
  3. ^ Sharp, Tyler (June 12, 2018). "30 Seconds to Mars Guitarist Quits, Band Become Duo". Loudwire. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  4. ^ Montgomery, James (May 21, 2013). "Thirty Seconds To Mars Set To 'Unleash The Beast' On Love Lust Faith + Dreams". MTV News. Viacom Media Networks. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Sharp, Tyler (August 1, 2016). "Thirty Seconds To Mars tease return with new video". Alternative Press. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Payne, Chris (November 3, 2015). "Jared Leto Teases New Thirty Seconds to Mars Music". Billboard. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  7. ^ Gregory, Claire (September 8, 2017). "Jared Leto: New 30 Seconds To Mars album is 'complete and total insanity'". Sky News. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Baltin, Steve (June 29, 2017). "Jared Leto Talks 'A Day in the Life of America' Film Project and New 30 Seconds to Mars Album". Variety. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  9. ^ Rendon, Francisco (February 8, 2018). "Thirty Seconds To Mars Raises The Monolith Tour". Pollstar. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Maine, Samantha (August 14, 2017). "Thirty Seconds To Mars have teased their new single". NME. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  11. ^ Christopher, Michael (August 22, 2017). "Thirty Seconds to Mars Unveil Lyric Video for New Song 'Walk on Water'". Loudwire. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  12. ^ Paxton, Whitney (November 12, 2017). "30 Seconds To Mars wins at EMAs, call America "land of immigrants"". Alternative Press. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Schatz, Lake (February 9, 2018). "30 Seconds to Mars set release date for new album, announce North American tour". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Dickman, Maggie (February 8, 2018). "Thirty Seconds To Mars share massive North American tour, detail new album". Alternative Press. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars Have Revealed Details of Their New Album, America". Kerrang!. March 22, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  16. ^ "Jared Leto Stops In Cleveland To Promote Thirty Seconds To Mars New Album". Radio.com. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  17. ^ Stedman, Alex (August 27, 2017). "Jared Leto Delivers Heartfelt Tribute to Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell at MTV Video Music Awards". Variety. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  18. ^ Negron, Anna (August 22, 2017). "Thirty Seconds To Marsí Newest Single "Walk on Water" Highlights ESPNís 2017 College Football Music Slate". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  19. ^ "Thirty Seconds To Mars Releases New Single, Dangerous Night". Artistdirect. January 25, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  20. ^ Rice, Nicholas (January 26, 2018). "Thirty Seconds to Mars Perform Stunning 'Dangerous Night' on 'Colbert'". Billboard. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  21. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars - Rescue Me (Single)". Spotify. June 15, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  22. ^ "Thirty Seconds To Mars Unveil Epic Music Video For 'Rescue Me': Watch". Billboard. June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  23. ^ "WATCH: Shawn Mendes Performs With James Bay, Jared Leto". iHeartRadio. May 28, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  24. ^ Steven, Rachael (March 22, 2018). "America in lists: Jared Leto on Thirty Seconds to Mars' new album art". Mixed Sign. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  25. ^ Cummings-Grady, Mackenzie (March 22, 2018). "Thirty Seconds To Mars Unveil Title and Track List For Forthcoming Fifth Album". Billboard. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Yeung, Neil Z. "America – Thirty Seconds to Mars". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  27. ^ "Album Review of America by Thirty Seconds to Mars". Alternative Addiction. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  28. ^ Reid, Deirdre (April 13, 2018). "Albums of the week: Thirty Seconds to Mars to Cardi B". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  29. ^ Lai, Alex (April 13, 2018). "Thirty Seconds To Mars – America Album Review". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  30. ^ a b "America Review". Kerrang! (1716): 54. April 7, 2018.
  31. ^ a b Grulichova, Aneta (April 6, 2018). "Thirty Seconds to Mars: America Album Review". The Music. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  32. ^ a b c "Reviews for America by Thirty Seconds to Mars". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  33. ^ a b Gerling, Ethan (April 11, 2018). "Thirty Seconds to Mars: "America" Album Review". The Reflector. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  34. ^ a b Shipley, Al. "America – Thirty Seconds to Mars". Spin. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  35. ^ Wattendorf, Katie (April 4, 2018). "30 Seconds to Mars' melting pot". The Cavalier Daily. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  36. ^ "America by Thirty Seconds to Mars". Qobuz. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
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  38. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  39. ^ "Ultratop.be – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  40. ^ "Ultratop.be – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  41. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  42. ^ "ČNS IFPI – TOP 100 – America" (in Czech). IFPI Czech Republic. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  43. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  44. ^ Nestor, Siim (April 16, 2018). "EESTI TIPP-40 Muusikas: Reket valmistub suuremaks soorituseks". Eesti Ekspress (in Estonian). Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  45. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars: America" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  46. ^ "Lescharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  47. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  48. ^ "Top-75 Albums Sales Chart Week: 20/2018". IFPI Greece. Archived from the original on 1 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  49. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Thirty Seconds to Mars". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  50. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  51. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  52. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  53. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  54. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  55. ^ a b Bykova, Anastasiya (April 29, 2018). "Иван Ургант выступил с Джаредом Лето на концерте 30 Seconds To Mars". Hello! Russia.
  56. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  57. ^ "ČNS IFPI – SK TOP 100 – America". IFPI Czech Republic. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  58. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  59. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  60. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Thirty Seconds to Mars – America". Hung Medien. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  61. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  62. ^ Caulfield, Keith (April 15, 2018). "Cardi B's 'Invasion of Privacy' Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  63. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars Chart History (Top Alternative Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
  64. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved April 18, 2018.

External links[edit]