Saturday, 19 May 2012

Adam Lambert - Trespassing (Deluxe version), Review

Trespassing is a nice surprise. When it comes to cohesiveness, it's definitely a step-up from Adam's debut (which I reviewed when it came out & have to say 3 years later, I like For Your Entertainment better then I did then). I kept my expectations low for the new album: whenever an artist takes a lot of time to make an album and postpones the release to make tweaks I tend to be disappointed with the over-produced result (Kate Bush is an exception here, she can take as much time as she wants).

I listened to Adam a lot in 2009 but then he drifted off my radar. It wasn't until summer last year I started listening to his first album again. I dug it out when I needed something to listen to while cleaning up. I have no idea what I was actually cleaning that day but I remember realising I pretty much liked most of the songs on For Your Entertainment. It turned out it was the right time for Adam to get back on my music radar because the new album was in the works.

While I have nothing against the first single, Better Than I Know Myself, and I understand the reasoning behind releasing exactly this song several months before the album, I can't say I was not a bit underwhelmed by it, and that it didn't make me a bit worried about the quality of Adam's new album and his career as a whole.

When you play the album from start to finish, the first song - Trespassing (which presumably gave name to the whole collection) - jumps at you and proceeds to dispel any worry about Adam's future, or the future of mainstream pop music as a whole. The album is very dance-oriented, and as a whole leaves an upbeat, sexy impression. At first I wasn't sure about the Nile Rodgers & Sam Sparro collaboration called Shady, but even this song eventually won me over. It could probably be placed further on the tracklist, it slows down the tempo of the record after two dance anthems (the title track and Cuckoo), but there's no denying this piece is very sexy.

There's only one song on the dance-y half which leaves me a bit underwhelmed: Pop That Lock is too generic to really catch my attention. I'd gladly trade this song for a mid-tempo, but much better, Runnin' (more on that song later).

I have to confess, I've been listening to the album for over a week now, and I tend to skip the slower songs. Yes, there are slower songs here, but they are not as boring as I initially expected them to be. Now, there's nothing wrong with ballads, and Adam can certainly sing them brilliantly, but I personally am not a fan of Adam + heartfelt ballad (I realise I'm in the minority here). The best ballad on the album would be Outlaws of Love which is all about the LGBTQ plight in the USA. I heard the song in an acoustic piano-lead version, and I have to say I prefer that one to the studio version, but there's no denying the song's really, really good either way.

If I had to divide the songs on Trespassing into groups, "yay" "ney" and "meh", the "ney" group would be empty. Even the weakest song, which for me is Broken English (cute concept but the music takes turns in boring and annoying me), doesn't provoke any stronger feelings in me beyond the need to skip it.

I know a lot of fans are really into Underneath, another of the slower songs placed on the second part of the album. I really want to like this song, but I gave it several tries and liking is still not happening. All in all I have to say since I was so worried about not liking this slower, introspective part of the album, I was only pleasantly surprised - liking three (Better..., Chokehold & aforementioned Outlaws...) of five songs is a pretty good score.

At this point I'd like to write a few words about the bonus songs on Trespassing's deluxe version. The stand-out, hands down, is Runnin': a mid-tempo drama-fest (in the best possible way), which was probably left off the regular version of the album because it was a bit different from the other songs. By no means is it a weak song, though. On the contrary, without a doubt, it's one of the best original songs Adam's ever recorded.

In case of the other two bonus songs (Take Back and Nirvana) it's pretty obvious they didn't get on the regular Trespassing because they are just good enough. Not bad, I'd like to point out, but simply not as good as 90% of the album.

Trespassing is a good, logical progression of Adam's musical development. More cohesive than its predecessor, more dance/pop oriented and it manages to sound current but showcase Adam's incredible vocal abilities at the same time. It's not a flawless album but the more I think about my very favourites and their albums, the more I realise not even them - The Beatles, Kate Bush, David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Marc Almond - came up with flawless albums at this point of their career, or...ever. And really, who needs flawless?

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