30 Thirty Seconds to Mars preps the Dec. 8 release of "This Is War," they want you to think at least one thing going into it: that the band is really cool.
That would help explain why the rock group would spend so much time and money on "The Ride," a short film that accompanies the first single "Kings + Queens." Watch below.
The center of this beautifully shot clip is a critical mass of Los Angeles bicyclists on fixed, tricked, tank, tall and freak bikes, with committed riders costumed as "The Warriors" to football players to That Guy wearing the flag. If you live in New York or L.A. or other major cities with a pronounced biking community, this isn't necessarily an odd sight, with the exception of one Thirty Seconds frontman (and sometimes ex-actor) Jared Leto leading the pack, lip-syncing along the way. Leaders of bike gangs are cool, right?
There's a play on the famous Banksy "malatov" graffiti art and rocking the F out on Hollywood Hills that peer out over the City of Angels. There's some excellent shots of the wild fires that were engulfing Southern California in August and September. Fire's always good stuff. Cool cool cool!
The intended centerpiece is when one hooded biker is hit by a car. The poor square and hoodie's friend just stare at the body laying feet from the shattered windshield. Spoiler alert: he pops up and rides on.
Let's be fair though: he and his two biker buddies were going down the wrong way on a one-way street. That's not necessarily cool.
There is also, inexplicably, a white horse, which comes galloping in around the line "the age of man is over." I've been waiting my whole life for it to be the age of white horses.
The whole thing clocks in just under nine minutes, but only six and some change of that is the film, the rest are credits.
This marks the second time this week that biking and biking culuture has gotten a shout-out, only this time with no naked people. The fear here, of course -- and some biking enthusiasts may agree -- is that a beloved sub- and counter-culture is being co-opted to sell records. Could a band of their stature mar the very thing they're heralding by bringing it to the masses, or were we well on our way anyway? I don't know Leto's past or present interests in biking culture, but if there's a positive message to be had from this video, it's "use lights on your bike when you bike in the dark." It's safe and looks cool.
The song itself reminds me of that first single from Angels & Airwaves (remember them?): it's the stuff that expensive car commercials are made for. It's epic and well performed by Leto and company., and marks an almost hopeful high note for a band that's made (some of) its name on being so dark.
You can get another taste of things to come from the band in the trailer below for video game "Dragon Age," which features the title track from "This Is War." The running theme of these two tracks: some full-group sing alongs of "oh!"
Thirty Seconds to Mars' last effort, "A Beautiful Lie," was released four years ago.