Jared Leto isn’t afraid to use the occasional dirty word. Like “concept album,” perhaps the dirtiest word in the rock-journo lexicon. And yet, he hardly bats an eye when he uses the phrase to describe 30 Seconds to Mars’ This Is War , which hit stores Tuesday (December 8).
“It’s safe to say it’s a concept album — I mean, if this isn’t, I’m not sure what is — but that seems to be a dirty word. People seem OK with calling it ‘a rock opera,’ ” Leto laughed. “I would never say that though; the only thing I’m comfortable saying ‘rock opera’ about is Tommy by the Who. But it’s very conceptual, about many spiritual things, and it really is simply who we are, who we’ve become.”
In other words, Jared Leto doesn’t care what you think about 30STM’s new album, to the point where he’s willing to not only arm his critics, but give them the ammunition, too. Chalk it up to having poured so much of his heart and soul into the completion of the album , to pushing his band further than they’ve ever gone before. They all know this is their absolute best, detractors be damned.
“There is nothing left. We gave it all to make this record,” Leto sighed. “Every piece of us went into making it.”
And he means every piece. This Is War is many things, but mostly, it’s an exploration of the loneliness and isolation Leto endured while making it, the strange sort of Universal Sadness that links us all, and the even stranger hope that comes from those things. And to make it, Leto had to go deep … and get dirty, like he does on “Stranger in a Strange Land,” a dark, twisting tune that features him panting, “Enemy of mine/ I’ll f— you like the devil.”
We told you he wasn’t adverse to the occasional dirty word.
“One thing that I thought was missing from 30 Seconds to Mars was a sense of optimism, which I think you feel on songs on this record. ‘Kings and Queens,’ there’s a triumphant feeling of the possibilities that we all have. ‘This Is War,’ you feel a confidence and a celebration, and even ‘Closer to the Edge,’ ” Leto said. “[In the case of] ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ … the other thing I felt was missing was sexuality. And that’s obviously a big part of all of our lives, and I thought it important to address some of that.
“But you could take that line in a lot of different ways. … There’s a vindictive quality to it as well,” he continued. “It’s nice to have a sense of abandon with music, and that song represents that for me. There’s no guitars on it, except for one little part I snuck on there. That’s me and the left side of my brain, the music I would make if I were in a closet and no one would ever hear it.”