Stock up on water, hide your children and do not look directly at its bright shimmering light, because 30-second song previews of have hit the Web. Pop music will never be the same!
OK, so there’s some hyperbole there. (Blame my inner Glambert for taking over.) So before I start claiming his body parts, let’s put on sci-fi lab-coats and break down the song previews in a (somewhat) level-headed manner.
» “Music Again”
The album kicks off with what sounds like will be my favorite Adam Lambert song, penned by Justin Hawkins of the Darkness. It’s got “Bohemian Rhapsody” harmonies, an AC/DC-inspired guitar riff and boastful lyrics that have the “Idol” runner-up deservedly planting his freak flag into pop culture’s landscape. “There’ve been many moons before I met you/ And I ain’t going nowhere,” he snarls. Damn straight! Welcome to the party, Adam. You came just in time. (Bonus: As the snippet fades out, one can hear the rocker sing the phrase “raison d’être.” It’s my new ringtone.)
» “For Your Entertainment”
The synths that pulsate throughout Adam’s single aren’t the only things throbbing. Lambert is hot and bothered and he’s ready to rough you up. With his music, of course. (Who am I kidding? He’s singing about doing it.) It’s a straightforward single that doesn’t really display his glam rock influences (even if he name-dropped T. Rex and Gary Glitter on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show), but nonetheless, it’s a super-smart radio-friendly choice for a kickoff single. I just hope I never hear my mom sing it.
» “Whataya Want From Me”
Pink and Max Martin wrote this mid-tempo rocker with a gorgeous hook. We know Kris Allen wrote a song about the pressure and frustrations of living up to the “Idol” crown (see “Let It Rain” off Allen’s upcoming debut disc). Lambert could very well be singing about a similar theme. “What do you want from me/ Just don’t give up/ I’m working it out/ Please don’t give in/ I won’t let you down.” So far, you haven’t let us down, Adam. Just keep doing you.
Ah, the infamous “Strut.” Fans have been buzzing about this song the longest, ever since a description appeared in Rolling Stone. Adam’s voice is backed by a chorus of mini-Lamberts as he sings about not wanting to be solo, which is then followed by a short guitar solo. Clever! I’m eager to hear the rest of this track, co-written by Lambert and “Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi.
I’m thrilled that Adam Lambert got a leftover Muse track. When I spoke to him over the summer, Muse vocalist Matt Bellamy was on his mind. Little did we know that they would be working together. Lambert’s version sounds pretty similar to the Muse demo fans dug up recently, although for some reason when I hear Adam sing the soaring chorus, I’m reminded of “There Are Worse Things I Can Do” from “Grease.” Not necessarily a bad thing, friends! Rizzo for the win!
» “Sure Fire Winners”
Here’s another song about doing it. The production recalls Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life,” but the lyrics have the swagger most hip-hop artists would kill for. “Flip the switch and the missile will fire/ I’m a heat-seeker and I’m full of desire!” I expect to see a lot of bras (and sex toys) thrown on stage when Lambert rocks this song on tour. This snippet is also the most frustrating, given that it cuts off right after the lyric, “And all the girls in the club wanna know…” Wanna know what?! The meaning of life? What happened to the song “Suburban Decay”? What do they want to know?!!!!
» “A Loaded Smile”
Adam Lambert and Linda Perry worked on this airy ballad together, which showcases the glittery rocker’s out-of-this-world falsetto. This could be a big hit with Robbie Williams fans (provided there are any of those in the United States in the first place).
» “If I Had You”
Here’s where I start to worry. Generic Euro-disco + aggressive vocal production = album filler. Fingers crossed the remaining 3:18 make me change my mind. (They can’t all be zingers, can they?)
» “Pick U Up”
Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo gave this song to Lambert because Weezer didn’t want to record it. I think this aching mid-tempo has the potential to be an acoustic show-stopper live. The pleasant melody is bathed in synths and disco hi-hats, almost like it’s a remix of a more-stripped down song.
After hearing Lady Gaga’s demo version of this song last week, I was hoping Lambert would retain the track’s ’70s Elton John vibe and inject it with a little bit of edge. Color me disappointed! His vocals explode with irresistible glam-rock personality, but the “Idol” production weighs it down. Still, there’s enough charm there to keep me from hitting the skip button.
This tune has Lambert stuck in a dysfunctional relationship. He wants to leave, but can’t because the sex is good. This might be the edgiest song Ryan Tedder has ever written, although there’s no mistaking that it’s a Ryan Tedder production. Booming drums? Check. A call and response chorus? Check. The vague feeling you’ve heard this song before? Check.
This bombastic rocker has a feel-good message, as if Lambert is singing to the bullied kids in America. “Anytime anybody pulls you down/ Just remember you are not alone,” he sings. A very worthy sentiment that I hope gets a fair production. From what we hear now, though, I’m thinking it would be more at home as the soundtrack to a self-help VHS from 1989 — hosted by Warrant.
» “Broken Open”
I’m absolutely blown away by this snippet. “I don’t want you to go/ Don’t wanna see you back out in the cold,” Lambert sings as chilly bleeps and bloops drip on the track. It’s as though Adam’s warm, soothing vocals are slowly melting the ice surrounding his lover’s heart. It’s the perfect marriage of songwriting and production, recalling Massive Attack and Björk’s underrated Vespertine.
» “Time For Miracles”
I’ve already weighed in on this bad boy.
Overall, I’m very excited about For Your Entertainment as a whole. It’s not as out there as I think some fans might have hoped for, but I hear several potential singles in its 14 songs. It’s clear that pop’s and rock’s heavy-hitters (Rob Cavallo, Max Martin, Linda Perry) were inspired to work with such a one-of-a-kind vocalist. Am I the only one breathing a big sigh of relief?
Which song snippet is your fave? Will you be able to survive until November 23, when For Your Entertainment hits stores? Do you disagree with some of my sentiments? (I imagine some of you will!) And do you think Adam’s album cover is a good representation of the music it contains?