Thirty Seconds to Mars compiles patriotic footage from 10,000 fan submissions, filmed on the Fourth of July, in their new video for “Walk on Water,” which asks, “What does America mean to you?”
The project is a taste of the band’s upcoming documentary, A Day in the Life of America, which is set to be released in 2018. The video is a composite of 10,000 fan submissions across the 50 states (along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico), including professionally shot footage from 92 film crews — all filmed on Independence Day. Familiar faces like Danny Trejo and LeBron James appear within the abrupt jump cuts.
However, the national celebration coexists with criticism, as this unflinching look at the state of the country is encased in the trappings of patriotism.
The day-in-the-life collaboration mixes party vignettes with footage of policemen making an arrest. It attempts to offer a portrait of a country in crisis that is still hanging onto its core values. And, as text in the music video points out, those values include love, liberty and, of course, Bernie Sanders.
“Walk on Water,” a single off the band’s upcoming, still-untitled fifth album, blends the stratospheric synth-pop of Imagine Dragons with folksy country-pop. Frontman Jared Leto belts out politically charged lyrics like, “Can you even see what you’re fighting for/ Blood lust in a holy war/ Listen up hear the patriot shout/ Times are changing” while an image of Donald Trump flashes across the screen.
A succession of statistics attempt to sum up the American condition: 313 unique religions are practiced, 99 percent of Americans are descended from immigrants, and we check our phones 150 times a day.
There’s a segment that cuts to Americans speaking about their experiences in the country. At one point, a tearful prisoner is filmed in his cell, saying, “I chose to steal. I made a choice. But at 11 years old, you shouldn’t have to do that.”
At the end of the video, Leto reflects on the day’s events. “Did we get everything?” he asks. “Absolutely not, it’s impossible to catch everything. But what a day it’s been.”
Watch the video for “Walk on Water” below.