Of all artists that released music in 2012, I never expected Adam Lambert to trump the infamous #sophomoreslump, or that grey period in which artists release material that just doesn’t match up to their epic debut. Upon finishing second in American Idol season 8, Adam released his debut album ‘For Your Entertainment’ in 2009 to rave reviews. Critics just couldn’t get over the fact that the massive single “Whataya Want From Me” was written by Grammy-winning artist Pink or that each of the albums four singles shot straight to #1 upon release. With his second album ‘Tresspassing’, Adam took less of a #glamrock approach and skated more towards the funk/soul genre, and with vocals like his it’s no surprise the album turned out to be pure brilliance. First single “Better Than I Know Myself”, co-written by Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly, found Adam’s soul pouring through radios nationwide. Although the single wasn’t promoted well (and long) enough, it still was enough to make him the first openly gay male to #top the Billboard 200 charts upon its release in May (see previous post here).
‘Tresspassing’ brought about an array of genres, from funk and R&B to rock/pop and even tinges of country, with Adam’s vocals directing each journey with ease. The album also featured two classic collaborations with Pharrell Williams (“Tresspassing” and “Kickin’ In”) which stand as some of Adam’s best music to date. There’s also the #BQanthem “Shady” (featuring fellow queens Nile Rodgers and Sam Sparro) and each of their vocal showings here are equally Grammy-worthy. Given Adam’s weakness may be producing quality uptempos, its not reflected on his latest release. The album’s second single “Never Close Our Eyes” (written by Bruno Mars) is #vocalacrobatics at its finest, as Adam lays down the laws for his (male) lover.
The album’s highlights includes the string of ballads towards the end of ‘Tresspassing’. “Outlaws of Love” (written by the same 15-year old who wrote Beyonce’s hit “If I Were A Boy”) is pure heaven as Adam belts out notes that most of us have never been accustomed to. “Underneath” finds Adam sorta coming out about his position (“such a beautiful release, you inside of me”), but delivers arguably the strongest vocal showing of 2012. “Runnin'” features a rock arrangement, but it doesn’t stop Adam’s vocals from going above and beyond all expectations. With Adam’s latest release, he shows that he not only overcame the #idolrunnerup stereotype, but he also overcame odds with his own sexuality – the gays are definitely becoming a huge part of mainstream music.
Why It’s Great: unbelievable vocal ability, bone-chilling downtempos, gay-friendly radio tunes
Watch a live performance of “Outlaws of Love” below.