It's not easy being Adam Lambert.
That seems to be the message behind the music video for Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me," which premiered on VH1 on Friday morning (January 15).
The brand-new clip showcases the glam rocker in a sparse industrial apartment. But instead of the "glittery alien from Planet Fierce" persona we've come to expect from the showman, we're seeing an emotionally raw and exhausted man, uncomfortable in a cold, new-looking home and torn between the different roles he's forced to play in his very public life.
The various "Adams" are all represented in the video, and the one thing they share in common is that they're all miserable. There's slick-artist-in-a-tailored-suit Adam, happy in front of the paparazzi but depressed once the limo door shuts. We also meet plain-James Adam, clad in a simple black T-shirt and jeans, who spends his time lounging on a couch and crying. Of course, there's also rock-star Adam, who pops up with his band to sing the chorus of the song.
Which "Adam" persona is the real deal? The "Whataya Want From Me" video suggests that all of them are. Lambert's a lonely emo kid, a frustrated superstar, a glam-rock glitter addict and a guy who orders Chinese takeout when he's depressed, just like the rest of us. He can be all those things, so don't try to pinpoint him as just one thing.
At first glance, one could interpret this video as Adam's "fame isn't all it's cracked up to be" statement (see: Britney Spears' "Everytime" clip). Although most of the video takes place in a private apartment, Adam is always reacting to the ever-present camera that lingers, harasses and, at one point, slams the door on him. Adam's relationship with the intrusive camera runs the gamut from trying to ignore it to getting violent with it. Sometimes he wants it to be close; other times he's giving it death stares from across the room.
So what does the camera represent?
Is it the point of view of his lover, upset with Adam's newfound fame and the baggage that comes along with it? Maybe. Or perhaps the camera represents his fans. Adam's relationship with his obsessive fanbase is complicated, particularly after Adam recently tweeted begging his followers for a little privacy.
A case could be made that the camera represents everyone — his fans, his lovers, even his detractors. Early in the video, Adam cradles a television remote, which could either be a wink to his reality-show past or a nod to the controversy that surrounded his American Music Awards performance. The suit that "angry artist" Adam wears later in the video looks an awful lot like the outfit he wore on the red carpet of the AMAs, just hours before he became defensive and lashed out at ABC for censoring his awards-show debut.
Lambert performed "Whataya Want From Me" (co-written by Pink and Max Martin) during his post-AMA media blitz. The song's chorus — in which he's literally asking the listener what they want from him and begs them not to give up on him — seemed all the more poignant coming from a star in the midst of a public firestorm. One can't help but think that veteran music-video director Diane Martel (also responsible for videos from "Idol" alums Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson) was at least partially inspired by Lambert's complicated situation.
In the emotional video's final moments, the camera returns to find Adam Lambert sitting up in the bed he hasn't made. He's relieved that the camera/ his lover/ his fans/ the attention of the world took the song's meaning to heart. Despite all the drama, we haven't given up on him. In fact, we're happy to get back in bed with him.