Thursday, June 13, 2013

"A Man Who Knows How to do Pop Music"

REVIEWED ITEM: For Your Entertainment (Album)
REVIEWER: Jonathan

Adam Lambert's debut was highly anticipated, far more than Kris Allen's, the winner of American Idol. Fans were curious to see where he would take his music, since it seemed he had artistic control over the project. What Adam gives the masses is truly strong album of pop that also delves a bit into arena rock, theater, and adult contemporary, all crafted into a cohesive artistic statement, even without a general theme.

The album couldn't have begun better than with Music Again, bursting with energy and popping with joy. The rest of the album suffers slightly because of it, as there is no equivalent later in the track listing. However, the rest of the songs show such range that it's difficult to criticize. The five ballads on the album are spaced well, with mid- to up-tempos weaved amongst them, though never too jarring. Adam's voice is the greatest instrument on the album, be it when he wails on the chorus of the stomping Strut, restrains his vocals on affected Whataya Want From Me, or becomes a desolate portrait on the eery Broken Open. He owns each note making it count, and if he doesn't seem quite emotionally invested enough, he has plenty of time for that in the years to come.

The album at its core is very much pop. The older crowd that may have liked him on American Idol won't find a lot to enjoy because of it, but it seems clear that this is the type of artist Adam wanted to become. The more rock-influenced songs, such as the aforementioned Music Again, the anthemic Sure Fire Winners, and the Linda Perry co-penned Pick U Up. It all adds to the final product, which is Adam as the glamorized pop rock god that he was always destined to be.

For Your Entertainment is a very strong record. A good six of seven singles could have been promoted from the project, and yet the general public was left with three, only one of which (the gorgeous Whataya Want From Me) painted the album favorably. It is quite the listening experience; no matter what genre Adam takes on, it all feels like he's bringing his best.

Recommended Songs: Music Again, Whataya Want From Me, Pick U Up, and the power ballad Sleepwalker

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Track-by-Track Review

REVIEWED ITEM: For Your Entertainment (Album)

I've learned never to judge an Idol contestant on their first album. Each time, it's primarily a producer's effort, filled with songs plucked from the vaults to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. If they're lucky, the artist will get to nudge parts of the album in an interesting direction or two. I adored Adam Lambert on the Idol stage, but what about as a recording artist?

1. Music Again - Kicking the album off in the best way possible, this Justin Hawkins-penned track is a template Lambert would be wise to follow in the future. He promised us that glam rock is back. This song delivers fully on that promise, with a sugary hook and one hell of a vocal performance. 10/10

2. For Your Entertainment - The first single, and not entirely representative of the album as a whole. This sounds very much like a male version of Britney Spears (a male version who can, y'know, sing). It ditches guitars in favor of a straightforward electro stomp. I wasn't completely sold at first, but this is a grower. 9/10

3. Whataya Want From Me - In some ways, this could be considered the most middle-of-the-road, radio-friendly song on the album. Luckily, Lambert's vocals imbue it with enough character to keep it from sounding too anonymous. This would be a wise crossover choice for radio. 10/10

4. Strut - The beat is nice, as are the guitars. The lyrics (often the weakest facet of the album) are the real letdown here. They're just pretty lame, honestly. The chorus has an interesting shout-along melody that displays Lambert's range pretty stunningly, and the song sounds better the louder you play it. 8/10

5. Soaked - A Muse castoff, this ballad was totally underwhelming in demo form, but Adam manages to transform it into something quite dramatic. His vocals get the full workout here, and they're as impressive as they always were. It opens with a dramatic orchestral flourish and never really lets up. The only downside is that it still sounds very much like a Muse song, rather than an Adam song. 9/10

6. Sure Fire Winners - One of my least-favorite uptempos on the album, this seems to nod to the double-punch of Queen's We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions, but something about it doesn't quite gel. It has the glammy punch I like, but isn't nearly as strong as the first track. Still, at least it's identifiably Adam. And the guitar riff towards the end is really nice. 7/10

7. A Loaded Smile - The song that always seems to fade into the background. It's more of a placeholder than anything. It's a pretty placeholder, for sure, and very atmospheric, but needs a stronger melody to be truly effective. It's nice to hear the falsetto, though. 8/10

8. If I Had You - A high octane dance track, this sounds like something that would be popular in Sweden (think BWO, Ola Svensson, etc). And, surprise, it was written by the always-reliable Swedes. Great beat, great lyrics and fantastic delivery. This gets the album back on track with a jolt. 10/10

9. Pick U Up - The second highlight after Music Again, this uptempo (co-written by Weezer's Rivers Cuomo (!)) has a melody that builds and builds until it absolutely explodes at the end. It's a fantastic, gripping production that utilizes Lambert's ridiculous vocals to full-effect. Even the annoying laugh at the end doesn't derail this stunner (friendly note to Adam Lambert: don't ever laugh on a song again. Doesn't work unless you're Janet Jackson) 10/10

10. Fever - Continuing the strong streak, I loved this song as a Lady Gaga demo and I'm happy that they've changed it up for this album. Instead of the classic-rock styling of the Gaga version, the song's been transformed into a Scissor Sisters vs. George Michael electro number, and it works well. Lambert sounds like he's having a lot of fun with this one. The feeling's contagious. 10/10

11. Sleepwalker - You can spot a Ryan Tedder song miles away, and that's really the only thing that holds this one back. Kicking off the string of ballads at the end of the album, this is a strong one, with a big, multitracked chorus. Lambert sounds a lot like Darren Hayes on the ballads. That's a good thing, by the way. 9/10

12. Aftermath - The cheesiest sounding ballad on the album, this sounds very much like a song you'd expect to hear from an Idol contestant and seems the furthest from the sound Adam is aiming for. Still, for this kind of a track, it's above average. 8/10

13. Broken Open - A beautiful way to end the album (before the bonus track), this atmospheric electro-ballad displays Lambert's falsetto at its Mad World best. It's a very promising musical statement that bodes well for his longevity. 10/10

14. Time For Miracles - I won't score, since this is basically a bonus track, but I've gotta say I still really like it. I'm a sucker for these big disaster movie ballads.

Album Grade: 9.1/10

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Emotional, Strengthening, Sexy, and IN-FREAKING-CREDIBLE"

REVIEWED ITEM: For Your Entertainment (Album)

I absolutely love this album. Adam portrays emotions so well with his voice, and I love it.
Music Again- Completely perfect description of love. If you've been hurt before (and who hasn't?) and you have FINALLY found the person who mended you, this song will describe it in perfect detail. Plus, it's really catchy, and the switching audio at the beginning is really cool.
For Your Entertainment- ULTIMATE sexy song. This is the kind of song that makes you want to go crazy on your lover and just plain ravish them. Or take a cold shower. Or both.
Whataya Want From Me- Great for when you're feeling down and just want to scream from the rofftops that YOU CAN'T TAKE THIS S*** ANYMORE!
Strut- Sexy and fabulous. You can strut like a model to this. Or not.
Soaked- Soft and emotionally raw. His voice is absolutely gorgeous in this.
Sure Fire Winners- This is an ANTHEM. For you underdogs out there, if you have a bad day, PLAY THIS. It'll make you feel like the f***ing king or queen of the world.
A Loaded Smile- This song is nice for when you're relaxing or trying to be calm. His vocals are smoothe and the beat slow and low key.
If I Had You- Oh, the irony. Adam portrays the utter joy a person would feel if the person they loved were to love them back, with a fun, funky vibe. Ironic because he has a sexy Finnish boyfriend.
Pick U Up- This song is, ultimately, a pick me up. The fun beat and catchy lyrics will get stuck in your head and drive you a little bit crazy, but you won't care when you're bopping along to this! Super fun to sing in the car, just DO NOT HEADBANG. You may hit some innocent bystander and that would not be good.
Fever- So HOT. Just saying. The live performance of this song includes Adommy kisses and adlibbing. But it's worth it.
Sleepwalker- Soft, slow beats and strong but delicate vocals make up this incredible number, with a funky but sad vibe perfect for days when you don't want to get out of bed.
Aftermath- Cheesy, but a great song to help you feel better when you feel hopeless. I sing this often.
Broken Open- Quiet and lovely. This is the song to sing to someone who has suffered trauma or has lost someone. If YOU lost someone or suffered trauma, listen to this OVER AND OVER. You won't regret it.
Time For Miracles- Great ending to a great album, this song sums up how no matter what happens, you will always have a silver lining.
If you can, also find his songs Master Plan and Down The Rabbit Hole. Both are awesome and it sucks that they're not on the album.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Very Promising Start

REVIEWED ITEM: For Your Entertainment (Album)
REVIEWER: bippen and blossom

I love most of the songs on this album, lead single and all, but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones he sounds the most natural on, such as Music Again and Time for Miracles. His voice on those tracks sound like how he did on American Idol, sweet and slightly rock. A Loaded Smile is a sweet song but too slow for me to enjoy. The only real flaw I noticed was with Soaked. Soaked is a beautiful and well written song, but Adam's version unfortunately sounds too much like Matthew Bellamy's demo version. Anyway, I hope to hear more rock infused tracks on Adam's third album. :)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Pop Rock at its finest"


While this is not my most favorite track from the album For Your Entertainment (which is chock full of great songs), I do really like it. Adam gives a powerful, emotional vocal to this pop rock song. You really feel the song's lyrics, they don't just wash over you passively. Amazingly, if you have seen the various performances he has given of the song (on television and radio, as well as concert footage), he never sings it the same way twice!

Adam Lambert is a master of song interpretation. In the genre of pop music, he is the rare singer who actually pays attention to what the lyrics say, and gets the audience to hear them!

Friday, June 7, 2013

"Great song by a great artist"


Whataya Want From Me, written by Pink and Max Martin, is beautifully sung by Adam Lambert on this CD. The song opens with quiet restraint and builds in passion and frustration, as a story of a person who doesn't understand what is expected of him in a relationship unfolds. As always, Adam's vocals are flawless. The arrangement is wonderfully crafted and complete to the smallest detail. (Actually, the depth of the arrangements on all of the tracks of the parent album, For Your Entertainment, are stellar - if you can get past the soaring vocals long enough to pay attention to them.) I think this song has a broad appeal across multiple genres. Do yourself a favor and listen to it. Then go listen to the rest of the album.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"WWFM is a great single!!!"

REVIEWER: Music Lover

WWFM is Adam's first hit single of many to come off the "For Your Entertainment" albumn.
I highly recommend the whole albumn, and better yet seeing him live in the Glam Nation tour.
There is nothing like seeing this man live. Also, this single can be ordered from the UK
and you get a larger insert with a fold out picture of Adam. They have two versions, each with a different remix added.