Reviewed Item: Trespassing (Album) by Adam Lambert
I didn't intend for this to be so long, but I hope it is useful for non-fans and casual listeners. :-) And no, I don't work for Adam or RCA! LOL
Edited to add: I just noticed that the tiny handful of negative reviews mostly had to do with not liking the genre of the album. They liked Adam's voice but apparently they weren't expecting the first half of the album to be dance songs - but that's just a matter of musical taste. People who don't like pop often complain about 'over production'. Yes, it is true that heavy music production tends to be just a cookie-cutter attempt to compensate for mediocre (or non-existent) singing talent. But I contend that Adam's incredible voice completely obliterates this concept. He can do things with his voice that other pop singers could never hope to attempt. Adam's pop music blends the best of both worlds. The production compliments and supports his amazing talent; it doesn't cover it up. This album has a mix of dance pop, rock, electro-funk, mid-tempo pop/rock and slower, heartfelt ballads. Adam's vocal skill ties it all together and keeps it fresh. If you like those styles of music, I guarantee you will love this album. Read on for a detailed review!
Until now, I've never heard an album where EVERY single song is awesome. My reactions to each track range from "I love this song" to "OMG I'm gonna faint!" Enthusiastic track-by-track reviews from reputable publications/blogs are cropping up everywhere. I've not seen any reviews that weren't positive. (With the exception of one shockingly homophobic rant. I won't say which site because they don't deserve hits.)I've seen several reviews that actually had a disclaimer that the reviewer was a non-fan but was happily converted by this amazing album.
The first 7 songs are exhilarating dance pop hits. "Trespassing" is all attitude and swagger; "Cuckoo" is a 'lets get crazy' dance party; "Shady" is naughty and absolutely funkaliscious; "Never Close Our Eyes" is a joyous celebration of life with soaring vocals; "Kickin' In" is an ode to the intoxication of the clubbing scene; "Naked Love" is an infectious, playful romp that's easy to sing along to; "Pop That Lock", about claiming your power, escalates to a bombastic blow-the-lid-off jam.
The energy of the second half of the album shifts to mid-tempo songs and ballads that are soulful and personal. "Better Than I Know Myself", which is about seeking reconciliation between the light and dark sides of self, is a great transition piece with a balance between slower, emotional verses and a more energetic chorus; "Broken English", about the frustration of communication problems, is a powerful, slow burn and some parts remind me of George Michael's heavier ballads; "Underneath" will rip your guts out. Achingly beautiful and deeply personal, it ebbs and flows between quiet vulnerabilty and a powerful demanding cry. Only Adam has the skill and artistry to pull off a song so emotional and vocally demanding; "Chokehold", about the addictive nature of a toxic relationship, has a throbbing beat and is both dark and hauntingly sensual; The standard album closes with "Outlaws of Love", a stripped down heartbreaker that also highlights Adam's incredible voice. It is a soulful lament inspired by the struggle for GLBT acceptance, but it captures the pain of anyone in a relationship that is unfairly condemned.
The deluxe album includes 3 bonus tracks, which have a much heavier rock influence. Trust me, these gems are well worth the extra $2. "Runnin'" is an intense, pounding plea for the strength to turn away from a life of dysfunction and self sabotage. This song is utterly spellbinding - Adam uses his rarely-heard low register and soars almost 3 breathtaking octaves. "Take Back", is filled with energetic frustration and the painful regret of a crumbling relationship. The rhythmic vocal embellishments are at times hypnotic, but in a very good way. "Nirvana", is an expression of the spiritual beauty of love. This ethereal rock lullaby is a perfect close to the emotional journey of the album. Adam's voice is both exhilarating and calming.
Unlike most albums that are just a couple of singles with filler, Trespassing is an amazing, cohesive work of art. With the impressive soaring vocals and the maturity and depth of the song writing, one could call this pop music for grown-ups. There are many A-list colaborators, but Adam is the glue that binds it together - he was executive producer and co-wrote 12 of the 15 songs. I urge you to invest in the album, don't just cherry-pick and download individual tracks. I agree with many reviewers that if Trespassing can just get enough exposure, it could easily be Album of the year.