A few days ago Thirty Seconds to Mars released an MTV Unplugged
ep. I’ve given it a few listens now. It is comprised of songs from their newest album this is War. Initially, I was excited, as my favorite Thirty Seconds to Mars song “Night of The Hunter” is on this piece and I always love listening to how a song sounds pared down to acoustic.
Jared Leto has a wonderful voice and articulates incredibly well courtesy of his acting background. However, one thing he does not do well is improvise. He is a very stick to the script type. On one hand, this leads to a degree of practiced percussion that doesn’t happen often. On the other hand, there is a level of redundancy to his work that is really noticeable in the acoustic sessions. The challenge of acoustic work is that it is so much subtler than electric can be. If the artist sticks to closely to the original piece, it can often fall apart. And that is exactly what happened with Night of the Hunter, unfortunately. Rather than becoming a chilling, heart-stopping piece it goes from layered to cacophonous. While still a gorgeous song, it lacks the knife twist that it has electric.
Every album by an artist that gets radio play has one “radio song” a song that is often not their most powerful, but has something that will catch the ear and compel the listen to look for more. That was “Kings and Queens.” Most of the time this song becomes the boring song on the album. While I adore Kings and Queens on the original album, it is the shallow, radio song. Not so on the Acoustic. The pain so easily overlooked in the album version is palpable in the acoustic. It haunts, chills, and brings out the mournful, yet hopeful tone of the lyrics. I got goose bumps when first heard this version.
I find “Hurricane” a throw away song. While the lyrics posit an interesting question “Would you kill to save a life?” It has never been a song that terribly kept my attention. It is the same way on the acoustic album—an obvious choice as it’s a radio song as well, but ultimately not one I’d pay attention to.
The few covers Thirty Seconds to Mars made have been interesting and always have a twist to them. “Where the Streets Have No Name” is surreal to hear in Jared Leto’s voice, instead of Bono’s . The addition of the background chorus was started by U2 however, Leto’s orchestration is still fairly strong. However, this still has the same issues that “Night of The Hunter” had—Too many layers for an acoustic show. Unlike “Night of the Hunter” however, this song’s layering is essential to the sound of the song.
Overall, I would say this is not Thirty Seconds To Mars’ best work, however, it is still a solid album well worth picking up
By Q101.com Blogga ArinWolfe
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