0057. 30 Seconds To Mars – A Beautiful Lie [2005]

A_beautiful_lie

I’m not really sure how to classify 30 Seconds To Mars. It’s rock, yes, and they’ve had a popular hit or two, but they’re not pop. I’m not sure what to call them, but I definitely love them. Love Jared Leto’s voice and lyrics. I’ve got some great memories for which this album was the soundtrack.  I actually did a paper on the single, “From Yesterday,” for my Vocal Production class in college.  Check it out:

Truly, it is difficult to speak critically about Jared Leto’s performance on 30 Seconds to Mars’ song, “From Yesterday.” It is both soothing during the verses and dramatically powerful during the choruses, especially the last phrase of Chorus 2 (at 2:28 in the song). It sounds like it is all tuned properly and unnoticeably altered (if it required any such action at all). The performance does feel a little bit on top of the beat overall, but it works well nonetheless. Mr. Leto also does a rather good job of articulating his lyrics, so it’s rather seldom unintelligible. Frankly, the only thing about the song I’d even think of changing is the mix.

The song does sound good by itself with no additional EQing by iTunes or winAMP, however, I’d prefer the vocals stand more firmly in front where they belong during the powerful choruses. I would most likely simply trim the vocal level up or the instrument level down a few dB during the chorus sections. There are a few words/syllables that could probably be heard better by finer automation editing. One would be the first “it’s,” (at 1:03 in the song), another would be the “–ming” of “coming” (at 1:05 in the song) and another could be the “no” (at 1:10 in the song), but I’d have to experiment with that last one.

There is a seemingly apparent comp edit after the first four lines of the first verse. The word “one,” (at 0:38 in the song) seems to be cut a little bit short, however, if the mixer/editor were to make more room for it, the subsequent lines would fall out of the pocket. It is interesting how they chose to utilize a flange effect on the second utterances of “map of the world,” (at 0:49 and 0:56 in the song). It’s almost like it adds an element of mystery to the words, or at least, that seems to be what they were going for. The slight delay used throughout the two verses was also pretty apparent and was yet another enjoyable element of this song for me. Not only did it serve to draw contrast between the verses and choruses, but it was used in a way that wasn’t cheesy; that wasn’t too much.

30 Seconds to Mars used background harmony only sparsely and only during the final chorus. The first time it really stands out, I think, is on the “-sages” of “messages,” (at 3:25 in the song). After that, it’s only used on each subsequent, “from yesterday,” until the end of the song. In my opinion, it’s a good idea to have a slight texture change around the end of the song. It gives you something a little extra to remember the song by once it’s over. I might have turned up the backgrounds a little bit more if I were the mixer just to get a little richer texture.

Three things I particularly enjoyed about this song were the ways the first two choruses ended and the way the first verse came in. You’ll notice that as the song begins, there’s a synth pad that swells up to a point and then backs off to make room for the guitars that also swell, but once the vocal kicks in, the guitars move back smoothly and immediately and the verse begins. The first chorus ended with the word, “messages,” (at 1:30 in the song) trailing off into the beginning of verse 2. I’m not sure why I like that as much as I do. I suppose it’s just a nice, smooth segue. Lastly, the way the second chorus ends is wonderful because of the way the vocal crescendo and the snare drum crescendo complement each other, building tension until they both jump headfirst right into the bridge and the guitars smooth out the tension still remaining in the lingering last syllable of, “messages.”

As I said in my thesis statement, it is truly difficult to speak critically of this song because there is very little I’d change, given the chance. It’s just like the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” All in all, 30 Seconds to Mars has a very solid effort in, “From Yesterday,” and I was glad to be given the task of analyzing it.

This album is my favorite of theirs, but the self-titled debut comes in at a close second.  The albums they’ve released since this one have had their highlights, but I haven’t developed a love for them as much as I’ve developed for this one.  Anyway, give it a listen.

Wikipedia Says:

A Beautiful Lie is the second album by American alternative rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars. It was released on August 30, 2005 through Virgin Records and was produced by Josh Abraham. The album produced four singles, “Attack,” “The Kill,” “From Yesterday,” and “A Beautiful Lie“; of which three of those four singles managed to chart within the top 30 on the U.S. Modern Rock chart, with “The Kill” and “From Yesterday” entering the top three. A Beautiful Lie received positive reviews from music critics, many praising the album for the band’s new sound from their debut album. The success of the album had helped the band receive accolades for their singles such as “The Kill” and “From Yesterday“.

A Beautiful Lie differs notably from the band’s self-titled debut album, both musically and lyrically. Whereas the eponymous concept album‘s lyrics focus on human struggle andastronomical themes, A Beautiful Lie ’​s lyrics are “personal and less cerebral”.[1]

History[edit]

A Beautiful Lie was recorded on four different continents in five different countries over a three-year period to accommodate lead singer Jared Leto‘s acting career. The album’s title track, as well as three other songs, were composed in Cape Town, South Africa, where Leto was later met by his bandmates to work on the tracks. It was during this time that Leto conceived the album’s title.[2] Prior to this, the album was tentatively to be released under the title Battle of One. It was leaked onto peer-to-peer file sharingnetworks almost five months before its scheduled release; the version of the album that leaked was unmastered. Because of this, the band was forced to set back the album’s release date.[1]

To promote A Beautiful Lie, Thirty Seconds to Mars included the songs “Battle of One” and “Hunter” (originally performed by Björk) asbonus tracks. “Golden passes” were also included with three of the special versions of the album that entitled the buyer free entrance and backstage access to any Thirty Seconds to Mars show for the rest of their formation.

A Beautiful Lie sold 21,000 copies in its first week of release in the U.S. and has gone on to sell more than 1.2 million copies in the U.S. alone.[3]

Alternative versions[edit]

Deluxe edition[edit]

On November 26, 2006 a special edition of A Beautiful Lie was released and features different artwork, a third bonus track (all versions have at least two); the UK version of the song “The Kill” entitled “The Kill (Rebirth),” and a DVD that features the music video for “The Kill”, the making of the video for “The Kill,” live performances and MTV2 moments involving the band.

Before production of the Deluxe Edition, the band requested that the members of the “Echelon” send in their names so that they could be thanked for their support over the years. As a result, the inside cover(s) of the Deluxe Edition contain a large list of printed fan names. In addition to this, the front cover contains a holographic image consisting of the Mithra (phoenix) and the Trinity (skulls).

2007 re-release[edit]

A Beautiful Lie was re-released in 2007, following extensive touring throughout Europe, in an attempt to expose themselves to a larger audience. The re-release is essentially the same as the original release, although includes different artwork. The album was re-released in Ireland again in November 2007, the version contains the UK version of “The Kill” and a second bonus track, and an acoustic version of the song “A Beautiful Lie” recorded live on a radio session.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[4]
Alternative Addiction 3.5/5 stars[5]
Billboard favorable[6]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[7]
Melodic 4/5 stars[8]
Revolver 4/5[9]
Rock Sound 6/10[10]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[11]
San Francisco Chronicle 4/5 stars[12]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5[13]

A Beautiful Lie received generally positive reviews from music critics.[14] Jon Wiederhorn from Revolver noted that “intensity and passion clearly inform the textural hard rock of A Beautiful Lie,” which “boasts echoing riffs, moody bass lines, and strong vocal melodies that evoke a radio-friendly mix of Staind, Nine Inch Nails, U2, and The Cure.”[9] Jaan Uhelszki of the San Francisco Chronicle described the album as “full of ferocious electronics, overcaffeinated guitar lines and anxious drumming paired with brainy, brittle but emotionally austere lyrics.”[12] Nylon magazine called it “an album that is digestible without losing the rough-around-the-edges appeal that the band’s rapidly expanding fan base crave.”[15] Alternative Addiction commented that the band recorded “an album with a handful of very impressive tracks,” beginning with “Attack”, the first song on the record, which “soars sonically with processing mixed and forceful vocals.”[5]

Christa L. Titus from Billboard felt that the band “proved its potency” with songs like “The Kill”, “Was It a Dream?”, and “From Yesterday”, and praised Leto’s vocal ability by writing, “[he] alternates between cathartic shouts and a tantalizing croon that shows his capable vocal range.”[6] Kaj Roth from Melodic praised the sonic variety and summarized the record as “an impressive list of anthemic rock songs.”[8] Davey Boy of Sputnikmusic echoed this sentiment, writing that A Beautiful Lie “works well as an album due to greater variety”.[13] He also found the record “a more controlled effort” than the band’s debut album 30 Seconds to Mars (2002).[13] Kerrang! magazine called it a “great album to close your eyes and fall in to, an anthemic eruption of upfront emotion.”[7]

In a mixed review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic wrote that the “band floats out of time, inspired heavily by ’90s alt rock but too clean, heavy, and facile to truly be part of that tradition, yet too indebted to the past to sound like part of the 2000s, either.”[4] He found the band “capable enough at shifting from tense quiet verses to piledriving, heavy choruses, but they borrow the worst habits from all their favorite groups, and then assemble them in insufferably earnest fashion, playing clichés as if they were revelations.”[4]Christian Hoard of Rolling Stone stated, “[d]espite some credible modern-rock tunes, Leto’s self-involved myopia guarantees that his band’s second disc is long on melodrama.”[11]

Accolades[edit]

At the Billboard Music Awards, “The Kill” and “From Yesterday” were nominated in the category of Modern Rock Single of the Year in 2006 and 2007, respectively.[16][17] In 2007, A Beautiful Lie was named Best Album by Rock on Request.[18] Thirty Seconds to Mars received the Kerrang! Award for Best Single in two consecutive years for “The Kill” and “From Yesterday” in 2007 and 2008.[19][20]Metal Edge ranked A Beautiful Lie one of the top 10 albums of 2005.[15] Melodic included it among the best albums of the year.[21]Alternative Addiction ranked it at number six on their list of 20 best albums of the year.[22] In 2009, Kerrang! listed A Beautiful Lie at number four on their list of the 50 best albums of the decade.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Jared Leto, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Attack 3:09
2. A Beautiful Lie 4:05
3. The Kill 3:47
4. “Was It a Dream?” 4:15
5. “The Fantasy” 4:29
6. “Savior” Thirty Seconds to Mars 3:24
7. From Yesterday Thirty Seconds to Mars 4:07
8. “The Story” 3:55
9. “R-Evolve” 3:59
10. “A Modern Myth” (includes hidden track “Praying for a Riot”) 14:14
Bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. “Battle of One” Thirty Seconds to Mars 2:47
12. Hunter Björk Guðmundsdóttir 3:54
Total length:
56:09

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from A Beautiful Lie album liner notes.[24]

Thirty Seconds to Mars
Additional musicians
  • Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – viola on track 10
  • Caroline Campbell – violin on track 10
  • Steve Dress – strings contractor and double bass on track 10
  • Vanessa Freebairn-Smith – cello on track 10
  • Oliver Goldstein – additional synthesizer on tracks 1, 6–7
  • Neel Hammond – violin on track 10
  • Wataru Hokoyama – string arranger on track 10
  • Jeremy Rubolino – programming on track 12
  • Matt Serletic – piano on track 3
Production
  • Josh Abrahamproduction on tracks 1–10
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars – production; creative direction and design
  • Brian Virtue – production on tracks 3, 11–12; additional engineering; mixing and engineering on tracks 11–12
  • Ryan Williams – engineering; mixing
  • Brandon Belsky – assistant engineer
  • Tom Lord-Alge – mixing on track 1
  • Femio Hernandez – mixing assistant
  • Dave Riley – assistant engineer
  • Sean Geyer – assistant engineer
  • Brian Gardnermastering
  • Sean Mosher-Smith – creative direction and design
  • Olaf Heine – photography
  • Gary Stiffelman – legal
  • Irving Azoff – management
  • Dian Vaughn – business management

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2005–11) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[25] 20
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[26] 10
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[27] 96
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[28] 35
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[29] 31
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[30] 15
French Albums (SNEP)[31] 87
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[32] 30
Greek Albums (IFPI)[25] 40
Irish Albums (IRMA)[33] 76
Italian Albums (Musica e Dischi)[34] 8
Mexican Albums (Top 100 Mexico)[35] 20
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[36] 20
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[37] 23
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[38] 49
UK Albums (OCC)[39] 38
US Billboard 200[40] 36
US Rock Albums (Billboard)[41] 9

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2006) Position
US Billboard 200[42] 184
Chart (2007) Position
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[43] 72
Italian Albums (FIMI)[44] 63
US Billboard 200[45] 84
US Rock Albums (Billboard)[46] 20

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[47] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Gold 50,000^
Germany (BVMI)[49] Gold 100,000^
Italy (FIMI)[50] Platinum 80,000*
South Africa (RiSA)[50] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] Platinum 1,200,000[53]
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States[54] August 30, 2005 CD, LP, digital download Immortal, Virgin
Canada[55] EMI
Japan[56] December 7, 2005 CD, digital download
Australia[57] November 11, 2006 CD, digital download Virgin, EMI
Italy[58] February 14, 2007 CD, digital download EMI
Austria[59] February 15, 2007
Germany[60]
Netherlands[61] February 16, 2007
United Kingdom[62] February 26, 2007 CD, LP, digital download Virgin
New Zealand[63] March 27, 2007 CD, digital download EMI
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