What do Olivia Wilde, Kanye West, Ashley Olsen, Corey Feldman, Selena Gomez and Shaune White have in common ? They all star in 30 Seconds to Mars’s latest video.
Directed by Jared Leto‘s alter ego Bartholomew Cubbins, the video is that of « City of Angels » from the trio latest album « Love Lust Faith + Dreams ».
With chords and chorus reminiscent of U2 best anthems (‘With or Without You’ anyone?) the song is amazing on its own, but with its video it takes on a whole new level. The song feels like the most personal from the album. Jared never hid his undying love for the City of Angels so it was only a matter of time before he penned a song about it. And I for one am glad he waited the 4th album to do so cause it is everything you could expect from a song about one’s favorite city. It is uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time, it is the perfect mix between Jared’s beautiful vocals (no subjectivity here) on one side, and Shannon’s drums and Tomo’s guitar on the other. And it hits home. For everyone. I’ve never been to Los Angeles, but I do know what it feels like to find your own City of Angels. To find yourself miles aways from home and to finally feel like you belong, like everything is possible. This song is about Los Angeles, but there is more than one City of Angels and the song is also about all of them.
So what about the video ? Well it’s as beautiful as the song, maybe even more. Why ? It delivers breathtaking views of Los Angeles from sunrise to night time while being touching and inspiring at the time. (Though I suspect a little of coloring happened at some point, the images are nonetheless extremely beautiful.)
The video opens on Kanye West. Yes. But that’s not a reason to click ‘exit’. For once he is not talking about himself and how he invented the leather leggings. He is listing all the things that make LA so great : pools, architecture, Tupac, Howard Hughes, James Dean, Walt Disney and so on.
The video also features interviews from Juliette Lewis, Ashley Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, Olivia Wilde, Corey Feldman, Shaun White, James Franco, Selena Gomez, Lily Collins, Steve Nash, Alan Cumming and maybe more that I didn’t catch, as well as more anynomous people like Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson impersonators, a porn star, a musician …
Let’s not forget the Mars boys, Jared, Shannon and Tomo. Shown both on interviews and playing in semi darkness on the hills. Just like they did in “Kings and Queens” another amazing video from Cubbins.
Though they may seem disconnected, they all have in common their love for Los Angeles and boy when you see the footage of the city, you can only agree. Highways at night, buildings, streets, hills, piers, everything is beautiful in Leto’s lens.
Just as the song is uplifiting and heartbreaking at the same time, the video is equally beautiful and dark. The people shown in the video express their hardships and black as white footage of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor is shown. It is touching to hear Lindsay Lohan or Selena Gomez talk about their hardships like any other girl their age, or to hear the lady pornstar mention her son. The images feel raw, and all in all we feel like we have humans in front of us not just stars.
But the best part for me comes around 4:10 when a living statue say, in a very deep voice, « If you are in it to win it, you gotta stick with it, through the good times and through the bad times ». Next comes a section on dreams and broken dreams. They express their hardships and then say how hard you should work if you want something, cause that is the only way to live really. Then comes the « I am home » line. The construction here is really masterful. It is like Jared’s taking our hand and driving us to the conclusion that we will be home once we have accepted the essence of our dreams and the fact that it will take work to get them. « As long as I keep believing it will happen » says Superman.
To me this is the most beautiful videos Jared directed. It just feels raw, intimate, it is really personal and it makes you feel close to the persons interviewed. We all have hardships, dreams, we all have failed, hoped and tried, and we all want somewhere to belong. The songs talk about ‘strangers’ but with this video, Jared made us family.
Come join us
- Thirty Seconds to Mars Recruit Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan for ‘Angels’ (rollingstone.com)