For Your Entertainment
RCA Music Group
When 27-year-old San Diegoan Adam Lambert first performed at the onset of season eight on Fox Television’s popular talent/reality series American Idol in early 2009, he quickly stood out from the pack of typical wannabe pop star hopefuls. With his often androgynous, glam fashion sensibility, natural good looks, and an ability to perfectly execute nearly any musical genre with confidence and conviction, he clearly demonstrated superstar qualities. However, at the season’s conclusion, Lambert ultimately finished second to Arkansas native Kris Allen. But, as we’ve seen over the years, winning the show’s “gold medal” doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful post-AI career, nor does achieving the “silver” or “bronze” diminish one’s subsequent star power. In fact, previous runners-up like Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Clay Aiken have all ascended to dizzying career heights, while first-place winners such as Rubben Studdard and Taylor Hicks currently struggle to secure reservations at their local McDonalds.
By year’s end, Lambert had managed to stir up a sea of well-orchestrated controversy, first by confessing his homosexuality (Was anyone really surprised by this revelation and why does anyone still care?) in a Rolling Stone cover story interview and then with a rather explicit televised performance on The American Music Awards. But outrageous interviews and well-publicized shenanigans don’t always equate into record or ticket sales. At the end of the day, it’s all about the music, right? So the question can be asked, “Does Adam Lambert really have the goods to sustain a meaningful, long-term career?”
Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Kid Rock, Avril Lavigne), Lambert’s major label debut sounds absolutely perfect — maybe even a little too perfect. In fact, For Your Entertainment sounds so slick and glossy, if it were pressed on vinyl, the needle would likely glide gently straight across the record without the slightest bit of resistance. And despite an all-star songwriting cast including current dance/pop sensation Lady Gaga and industry go-to girl Linda Perry, the record is at times virtually void of any human presence.
For Your Entertainment opens with the catchy, guitar-driven “Music Again.” Written by Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, it’s a high energy, modern day dance/rocker with Hawkins’ “God, I wish I was Freddie Mercury” fingerprints smeared all over it. Oddly, the record’s title track is one of Lambert’s weakest efforts, offering little more than three-and-a-half minutes worth of electronic pabulum and lyrical drivel. Conversely, “Whataya Want From Me,” which also displays smatterings of actual musicianship, is far hookier than the title track and stands out as one of the record’s true gems. “Soaked” is an over-blown, pretentious Broadway-style epic reminiscent of the stuff Queen used to create after they ran out of good material. On the opposite side of the spectrum, “Aftermath” is a Daughtry-style, pseudo-rocker that most closely resembles sounding (kinda) like a band and will probably fit nicely on modern pop/rock radio, wedged between David Cook’s newest and a Fall Out Boy classic.
But the question still remains, “Does Adam Lambert really have the goods?” Well, maybe — at least for another fourteen minutes, anyway!
Adam Lambert: www.AdamOfficial.com