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Jared Leto – Thirty Seconds to Mars

America. Land of the free. Home of the brave. Possibility, potential, dreams realized.

That’s the good.

Then, there’s the bad, even ugly:

Political tension, racial and economic division, drugs, guns and war.

Thirty Seconds to Mars’ ambitious new project tackles it all… head on.

The group’s new album, “America,” is its first material in five years — a conceptual record about life in the United States… warts and all.

Jared Leto New York 1

“It’s social. It’s personal. It’s emotional. It’s creative and fun — provocative, at times.” lead singer Jared Leto told CNN.

“This is a new chapter for Thirty Seconds to Mars and ‘America’ is a very heavy-handed title, especially in the times we’re living in now.”

The music is equally powerful and polished — raw messaging of American imperfection impeccably produced and wrapped in a hopeful tomorrow.

The lead single, “Walk on Water,” serves as an anthem to freedom. Leto’s commanding vocals implore listeners to stand up and fight for your beliefs.

jared leto l.a. 1Can you even see what you’re fighting for?
Bloodlust and a holy war
Listen up, hear the patriots shout
“Times are changing”
In the end, the choice was clear
Take a shot in the face of fear
Fist up in the fiery light
Times are changing

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Hundreds of unique album covers, promotional billboards and snipes serve as 2018 American time capsules.

They feature colorful lists of descending words from American names to top trademarks, dangerous sports, and even sex positions.

“If you were to look back on these lists ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, one hundred years from now, I think you’d get a sense of the times that we’re living in and culture that we’re all apart of,” Leto said.

Jared Leto Austin

To promote the launch of “America,” Leto set out on a cross-country odyssey — retracing his teenage journey as an art school dropout from New York who wound up sleeping on the beaches in Venice, California, with just his backpack in tow.

“It’s a classic journey from East to West,” Leto said. “I got a chance to visit states that we’re going to be playing shows at for our tour in June and July. I got on the streets. I got in front of people.”

He used many means to make the trek: trains, planes, automobiles, hitchhiking, Greyhound bus, Lyft rides, NASCAR pit stops, bicycles and more.

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Along the way, Leto talked to a trucker in Milwaukee who was shipping Harley Davidsons, Native Americans at a Navajo reservation in Arizona and foster children in Texas.

Leto called it the trip of a life time. “What surprised me was the optimism that’s still out there,” he told CNN.

“I see a lot of unity out there. If you looked at the news, you obviously get a sense of the conflict in the country. You get a sense of the uncertainty, the debate and the discussion about what’s going on. But when you cross the country, I think you see that we have a lot more in common than may be expected.”

JARED 1Leto and his bandmates will embark on the North American leg of their tour in June performing in many of the cities he visited during his Mars Across America journey.

Asked what he wants to leave his live audiences with, Leto said, “If I had my way, I would love people to feel good. I would love people to feel some sense of possibility.

“I think when people come to a concert and there’s ten or twenty thousand people in a room sharing the same idea, that’s very unique, especially in the times we’re living in — you get a big group of people agreeing on something.

“I hope people leave with a sense of excitement that they had a night that they’ll never forget. I work very hard every night to make sure that that happens.”

Written & Produced by: Ben Bamsey for “CNN Newsroom L.A.” with help from Alexandra Meeks and Isha Sesay

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ben & leto

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