Thirty Seconds To Mars Say ‘Up In The Air’ Isn’t Just About Sex

'It's about power, it's about control,' Jared Leto says of Mars' brand-new single.

Earlier this month, Thirty Seconds To Mars blasted the first copy of their new single “Up In The Air” into orbit, on board a SpaceX rocket bound for the International Space Station. And, then, on Monday (March 18), not content to let astronauts have all the fun, they premiered the song for the rest of us.

And now, with the single on terrestrial airwaves, frontman Jared Leto is speaking about “Up In The Air,” which he considers to be one of the “most important” in Mars’s history, because it helps usher in the brand new chapter of their career, not to mention their upcoming album, LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS.

“I think it’s an appropriate beginning of conversation, and that’s really what you want your first song to be; a conversation starter between you and your audience,” Leto told MTV News. “It’s a song that’s really passionate, it’s really energetic, in some ways it feels really free, and in other ways, there’s something about constraint and tension in the song as well.”

And that concept of constraint it evident throughout, though perhaps nowhere quite as much as in the line “I’ll wrap my hands around your neck so tight/With love, love, love,” which Leto said isn’t just about the idea of erotic asphyxiation. At least, not entirely.

“It does play on two different levels; there’s an obvious sexual connotation to the line. … But it’s also about power, it’s about control, and the song is about that,” he said. “It’s about getting to a point in your life where you’re ready to let go and move on and become the better version of yourself, the self-actualized version of yourself. So I’m curious to see what responses to that are going to be; it’s interesting to be asked about it.

“Music is weird, you write it and sometimes it comes from a very conscious place, other times it comes from a subconscious place, and sometimes you don’t know what the f— you’re doing and you do it anyway, you make a lot of bad choices,” he continued. “I say a lot in the studio ‘Let’s try and fail,’ because through the failure you learn, and it can lead you to the next solution.”

Of course, in the days since “Up In The Air” premiered, folks have been focusing on the lyric, and Leto doesn’t necessarily have a problem with that, either. After all, Thirty Seconds To Mars have continued to push the boundaries, and exploring concepts that some might find taboo is a central theme to both their new record, and their new single.

“I think that lyric is really important for us as a band, because it’s a conversation that started with ‘Hurricane,’ a song that had a very strong sexual component to it,” he said. “I think that’s a very worthy conversation to have. Songs don’t just have to be about your dad or your girlfriend; there are other avenues to explore, and we certainly did that with ‘Up In The Air.’”

What do you think of “Up In The Air?” Let us know in the comments below.