Adam Lambert was never afraid to rock the guyliner off the bat, thrust his hips or use male pronouns in his wildly popular music. Like so few are brave enough to do, from the “Idol” stage to American center-stage, this pop rocker used provocativeness to his advantage.
He’s a gay icon and queer superstar. “The Glambert” gets people talking. It’s a shame he can’t lead our march so wildly this time around.
A few years later, Lambert has still got the look, the moves and the ballsy approach to making music. The high contrast and heavy glam that earned him the nickname even from his early days on “American Idol” have not died off. They’ve only intensified with Trespassing. A sophomore slickness overcomes the sound of the new album as the singer’s confidence and musical drive were heightened and exemplified.
Something about the high intensity vibe along Trespassing gets the listener’s blood running and doesn’t let up in its attempt to pull something from its listener.
In the case of “Kickin’ In,” Lambert’s efforts are validated in the manic-like rounds of its refrain, full of buzzing energy and noise that urge the listener to become a part of the imagery he’s presenting to his audience. It just works.
“Better Than I Know Myself” came first in the promotional lineup for Trespassing. The slower, softer side of the singer came out for maybe the first time in his career, capturing a stellarly artistic mood that was both sexy and solemn. What’s funny about the single is that it conquered higher notes than we’ve ever heard from Adam Lambert, but this time it wasn’t for shock factor. It was for emphasis on vulnerability and dedication to a person you love. And it was a safe move.
But as we could all predict, Lambert couldn’t stay safe for long. The world was ready for a strong and bold single from him. We were waiting for a dark and deadly club anthem and we got it with “Never Close Our Eyes.” The heartbeat that pumps through the song makes it thrive and the words make it blithe. Brace for its sickly feel-good impact.
It’s bittersweet to hear songs like “Cuckoo” and “Chokehold” in the midst of it all, and the reason for this is that the subjects are so visual and taboo. Too often, Top 40 is so structural and tightly bound in its lyrical content but Adam Lambert, with the help of big names like Pharell and Dr. Luke, definitely challenged that with Trespassing, pairing the vintage effect of an age-old way of writing with the classic rock sound to match. But there might be a reason for this apprehension for this upfront imagery: these themes quickly fall into a rut of cheesy mayhem. That’s Lambert’s greatest downfall.
The album’s title track is exactly what we’re talking about. The cheap-sounding electric guitar and hand claps with a difficult melody in tandem with a metaphor about a sign to turn around is an all-around tacky overload. It happens more than once, too, on the new album. This just doesn’t work.
The comfortability with this new album is easy to listen to and jive with, exactly the way the singer wants us to. But it is just too comfortable to fully enjoy. Aside from the poster-boy Glambert tracks and the scenes that stimulate discourse in us and inspire an itch to dance, he underwhelmed us a little bit in his second effort. Perhaps another public controversy is in order.