Up until a few days ago, there was a glaring blindspot in my knowledge of contemporary music: I had never knowingly listened to a Thirty Seconds To Mars song.
This is acceptable for most people. After all, while Thirty Seconds to Mars has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide since 2002 and features the messianic posturing of Oscar winner Jared Leto, it’s not as if the band is hugely important to the culture. Like practically every other rock band right now, they are extremely easy to avoid.
But for me, ignorance of Thirty Seconds to Mars was inexplicable. I am a publicly known sucker for bombastic, unintentionally hilarious rock bands. (Please enter my near-complete collection of Muse, Killers, and Kings Of Leon CDs into evidence.) A person like myself not already being intimately familiar with Thirty Seconds To Mars’ oeuvre is like Charles Barkley not having seen Kevin Durant on a basketball court until this week.
My 16 years to hearing Thirty Seconds To Mars finally ended with America, the band’s first album in five years, which dropped last Friday. It’s likely that America will be the second or third most popular album of the week, behind Cardi B’s juggernaut debut Invasion Of Privacy, which you might have heard about from the approximately 6,423 reviews that have papered social media in the past few days.
America, meanwhile, has been largely ignored by the music press, no matter Leto’s desperate stabs for attention during the album’s promotional campaign, including a five-day trek across the country in which he traveled by Greyhound bus and even by hitchhiking, an ersatz On The Road-style adventure that Leto inevitably described as “very grounding.”