City of Angels

Album: Love Lust Faith + Dreams (2013)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Though the song title references the nickname of Los Angeles, frontman Jared Leto told Purevolume that it could refer to any place where you go to fulfill your dreams. He explained: "That was a very personal song, obviously, about a specific place: Los Angeles. But it could be ... well, when I was a younger kid, it was New York City. That was the place where I went to make my dreams come true, at that time to be a painter, an artist. I was in art school and New York was the place where you went to makes those things come alive. And as I got older, I started studying film and I came out to Los Angeles. But it could be Paris, it could be Shanghai, it could be San Francisco, Palo Alto, anywhere. A place where you go to realize yourself and your dreams."
  • The song's lyric video was helmed by Leto under his directorial alter-ego moniker Bartholomew Cubbins. It shows the frontman in pitch black silhouette performing the song against the backdrop of a Los Angeles sunset. Leto explained that it was a last minute piece of filming, "There we were. Deadline city. Once again," he said. "A lyric video was needed. We were way past deadline and without any real options in sight. We were getting desperate. Having just finished 'Do Or Die' and already shooting / editing 'City of Angels' there wasn't much time to get one in order — especially one worthy to share with you all. So I said f--- it, grabbed my camera, went up to the hills of Hollywood and shot. We came back with this."

    Leto continued, "It's mostly one take, a couple cutaways. But very simple overall and sometimes that's for the best … We got really lucky with some incredibly gorgeous light and maybe some magic from an owl that kept us company during shooting. If you look close you can even see him fly right by me. Really nice to be able to share such a beautiful sunset with you all."
  • An 11-minute music video directed by Jared Leto (as "Bartholomew Cubbins") was released to accompany the song's single release. It opens with Kanye West riffing on his impressions of the City of Angels. James Franco, Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Olsen, Juliette Lewis, Alan Cumming, Corey Feldman and Shaun White are amongst the other luminaries who join the three members of Thirty Seconds to Mars in sharing their visions of Los Angeles. The clip also features multiple monoliths and murals, including James Dean, Michael Jackson, Marylyn Monroe and Elisabeth Taylor impersonators as well as homeless people, hired by Leto himself for the visual. "City Of Angels is a short film about this wild, weird, and wonderful land, Los Angeles, California," said Leto. "A place that has left its mark on the world's imagination and a place where dreams can actually come true. I made this short film so I could share my thoughts on this incredibly special place and talk to others about theirs. It's not so much about this particular city but more about the people who inhabit it. This is for the dreamers who know that sometimes the impossible is indeed possible."
  • An acoustic version of the song features on the soundtrack of the biographical drama film Dallas Buyers Club, which is based on the true-life tale of AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroof. Jared Leto co-stars in the movie as his fellow patient, Rayon.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Gene Simmons of Kiss

Gene Simmons of KissSongwriter Interviews

The Kiss rocker covers a lot of ground in this interview, including why there are no Kiss collaborations, and why the Rock Hall has "become a sham."

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

Maria Muldaur

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In Songs

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Charlie Daniels

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.