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American Idol Alumni's second album is more glossy than glam.
Celina Murphy, 23 Aug 2012
Nobody seems to know who Adam Lambert is on our side of the pond. Our Yankee neighbours first came across him in 2009, on the eighth series of American Idol, where judges Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson were impressed by his powerful tenor voice but Simon Cowell dismissed him as “not current”. As it turns out, they were all right.
Lambert finished second in the competition, later becoming the first Idol contestant to complete a headlining world tour in the year following their appearance and rather surprisingly, the first openly gay man to have a No.1 album in the U.S. His showboating, skyscraping, guitar-led tunes were not, as Cowell insisted, in keeping with chart trends, but that didn’t stop him from selling six million records.
Even more impressive, the 30-year-old’s monstrous voice recently earned him a gig touring with Queen: he’s currently to be found wrapping his nimble tongue (consult YouTube for evidence) around ‘I Want To Break Free’, ‘Somebody To Love’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ nightly.
We already know that second album Trespassing has sold a couple of hundred thousand copies in the States and the record’s tracklisting, which features Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Dr. Luke and Chic’s Nile Rodgers, would certainly suggest that it’s made of solid stuff, but is it actually any use?
Well, some of it is; the party-starting, Queen-esque handclaps on title track ‘Trespassing’, Lambert’s hypnotic warbling on ‘Broken English’, the flash of bass line provided by the legendary Mr. Rodgers on ‘Shady’ and pretty much everything about hyperactive Pharrell-helmed number ‘Kickin’ In’.
Lambert proves himself to be a moderately likable presence throughout, but as you might expect from the male version of Jessie J, he doesn’t always know when to hold back. There are moments when the melodies are simply not strong enough to support his Broadway-standard croon and when embarrassing metaphors (“Take it off and try me on/ The hottest threads you ever wore’” and overly glossy nu-disco beats drown out what’s appealing about him.