I love Adam Lambert’s music, but I am starting to get worried.
On American Idol, Lambert was stunningly fantastic. His performances were soaking with originality. Combined with rare vocal range, an in-your-face, edgy wardrobe and a likable attitude, Lambert was not your typical American Idol fare. He was unscripted and raw.
Week after week, he stole the show. From the incredible tender “Tracks of my Tears,” to the bad-ass, through-everything-on-the-table attitude in singing Aerosmith’s “Cryin,’ ” Lambert was just “it.”
The judges knew it. The other contestants knew it. The media knew it.
Had Bill O’Reilly not published some pictures of Lambert making out with another guy, America might have known it too. Instead, he came in second, behind the talented, but less exciting, Kris Allen.
But who cares if he won, right? Like many lovable losers, Lambert was sure to score a record deal anyway.
Well, he did, and all summer, and well into the Fall, the media has been buzzing over Lambert’s debut album. It’s been such hot fodder, that fans have been treated to Lambert a little bit at a time.
First his single to the 2012 movie, “Time For Miracles,” was leaked to the media. Then we heard he was working with some hot artists, songwriters, and producers such as Lady Gaga, Linda Perry and Rob Cavallo. Then we found out the name of his album, “For Your Entertainment.” Oh, and with those cover shoots, Lambert was everywhere.
Then it all went downhill. We got a glimpse of his horrible album cover, where he looks liked an airbrushed, cliched stereotype of disco freak from the late 1970s-early 80s. With blue hair, a glove and a intergalactic background, it just looked, well, weak, from an artistic standpoint.
This is not the Adam Lambert we saw on American Idol.
But I held out hope that the album’s songs, really what matters, would be better.
Ugh. Amazon.co.uk released 30-second snippets of Lambert’s album songs this week, and, oh boy, did Kris Allen start to sound really good.
It’s not that I am criticizing Lambert. Let’s be clear — this dude can sing, and is probably the most all-around, entertaining star to come around since Michael Jackson. Yes, I believe that to be true. Just watch him on American Idol. Just pick a performance on YouTube. Any performance.
The problem is that it seems although Lambert has been highjacked by too many songwriters and producers wanting to work with his incredible talent. You know the story about too many cooks in the kitchen.
The best parts of American Idol, where when Lambert took the stage. Why? Because he could sing like no one else. His unique voice is unparalleled – he’s kind of the male Whitney Houston, er, the Whitney Houston of 1987, that is.
Although I have only heard about 30 seconds of each song, his stuff sounds terribly overproduced. Some of the songs are catchy. “Whataya Want From Me,” shows off his voice, as does, “Fever,” and “A Loaded Smile.”
But it’s kind of like looking forward to a delicious steak dinner at your favorite restaurant, and the steak is raw, the drinks are flat, and desert is stale. The mashed potatoes were pretty good, but, in the end, the meal was a disappointment.
During Lambert’s Idol audition, Lambert sang “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Simon Cowell, at the time, said he was “theatrical,” and therefore “not contemporary.” Lambert told him that he could work on that. And he did, with the exception of a couple of performances, Lambert dropped the whole theatrical bit, and rocked the house with his voice.
But since the show ended, Lambert forgot Cowell’s advice, and went all Theatre again.
Lambert keeps Tweeting about how excited he is about his album. Good for him. I will buy it, and I hope I change my mind.
But if the incomparable Adam is reading this, here’s my message to you:
Don’t try so hard.
Keep it simple. This isn’t 1980. You don’t need to go retro, or glam, or 80s. You don’t need act like you are on the broadway stage. You don’t need to act one way on the cover of “Rolling Stone,” and the opposite way on the cover of “Details.”
And you especially don’t need to collaborate with Kara DioGuardi.
It was your originality that got you so far on American Idol, and that’s what is going to make you a star again. It can be a rough road without the backing, and weekly television exposure that comes with Fox’s American Idol show. Fans are finicky and fairweathered. Remember Taylor Hicks?
All you need to do is be yourself. And sing. Don’t let the overproduction of the music drown out the artist that you are.
Otherwise you will be here for our entertainment. Except you will be a joke.