Right you lot settle down, we heard a load of Adam Lambert album tracks yesteday. We heard the whole album a few months ago when he played it to us but we were going down with quite a bad cold at the time and also needed the toilet for a lot of the session so our mind was elsewhere.
The picture above is of the iPod Nano that we were allowed to play the album off yesterday morning. We are quite pleased with how this photograph turned out. It looks pretty cool don't you think? We sharpened it a bit in Photoshop but other than that it's pretty much exactly like we took it. Well we made it smaller of course — it was originally 3624x1824 pixels, and now its width is just 450 pixels.
This is how a bit of it looks full size.
Actually that looks just as good as the smaller version doesn't it.
We have a bit of a weird relationship with the man the myth the multimedia behemoth Adam Lambert. In the very nicest way we don't really care very much. That might not sound like a very positive thing to say in the context of a review thing but it is quite a liberating place to come from. We don't have any emotional attachment, really, to this person: we did not follow 'his journey' on television, and while there were bits of the first album that we liked, there were bits we thought weren't up to much. We met him briefly while he was promoting the last album at one of those horrible meet and greet things and he was quite funny and sort of shy in a way and we thought that was pretty interesting. When we interviewed him on the phone during that campaign we asked him an unintentionally rude question about how he goes through life knowing he'll never be as good as Lady Gaga. Well we say 'unintentionally', it kind of came out a bit wrong, but it kind of came out right as well. Anyway he laughed and it was all fine. When we met up with him near the end of last year for the album playback session we discussed the Lady Gaga question thing again and it struck us that he had quite a British sense of humour.
What a patronising thing that is for British people to say, right? "Oh they're alright, they get our jokes!! Because they're like us!!!!"
Imagine being someone like Adam Lambert. You have to go from country to country, 'territory' to 'territory', being nice to idiots in the media.
No wonder they all go mad in the end.
So anyway Adam's second album campaign is underway now. The first single's out in America already, and it's coming out here in March. Maybe it's that thing you get when you spend too much time online like we do (and you probably do too), but it feels like by the time it comes out here in the UK we'll already be onto the next one. Also, the song — a big and pretty impressive balladular sort of affair — doesn't really feel like the sort of song you'd launch your second album campaign with. Well not if your second album was anything like Adam's, anyway. The song sets the album up to be boring and moody, but it's not really boring. It is quite moody though.
'Cuckoo' is the big song on this album. First time we heard it we thought it sounded like a streamlined version of Justice or Daft Punk. It's certainly a chart-friendly dance track that comes from a different, more sophisticated place to most of that other UTTER SHIT that seems to be passing for pop music at the moment.
Did you see all those reports the other week about 'pop overtaking rock as the biggest genre' and feel quite excited, only to feel a bit upset and angry a few moments later when you realised that a lot of the stuff that was boosting the 'pop' side of things was lowest common denominator bollocks? Well we did. That wasn't a happy morning at all. But we got over it.
'Cuckoo' is a song is about going mad, or maybe it's about going sane and everyone else being mad.
Adam told us that he was thinking about the video already. We don't want to blow the surprise but it's based on a film. Actually the song is called 'Cuckoo' isn't it and it's about going mad so draw your own conclusions.
'Cuckoo' has a big chorus that goes "I wanna LOSE MY MIND like a maniac, and CROSS THE LINE never looking back we're ON THE LOOSE getting crazy and we've gone cuckoo, gonna party til they take us away". It looks a bit like one of those crap LMFAO party jams written down like that but the song as a whole feels a bit more like an outsidery burst of defiance than an insidery eruption of LOL. It is a really confident song and could make sense of Adam for UK fans-to-be in a way that his first album didn't quite manage to.
It features one of those abstract borderline dubstep breakdown bits that everyone's doing at the moment.
Elsewhere on the album there are a couple of songs he's done with Pharrell. We heard one of them again yesterday — it's an 'Another One Bites The Dust' / 'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life' sort of thing with handclaps and footstomping and all that stuff. It feels like the sort of song that might 'cross him over' and 'open him up to a different market' and all that sort of thing record labels spend their time wanking over when all they should really be asking themselves is "DOES THIS ACTUALLY HAVE A GOOD TUNE OR NOT".
(It's got a good tune.)
It is certainly "a toe tapper".
There is a line that sounds a bit like "no trespassers up my arse".
We thought the first chorus should have probably come in a bit earlier.
It is probably important to state at this point that we don't think Queen are very good. Well a few of their songs were pretty great but they're not a band we ever felt that bothered by. It all seemed a bit joyless.
'Outlaws Of Love' is an interesting song on the Lambo album. It's about everyone going "OOHH WE DON'T LIKE THOSE GAYS VERY MUCH" but Adam going "UP YOURS YOU LOT WE'LL DO WHAT WE PLEASE". The chorus goes "everywhere we go we're looking for the sun" and then it goes "nowhere to grow old we're always on the run" and then it goes "you say we'll rot in hell but I don't think we will" and then it goes "they've branded us enough, outlaws of love". It's a pretty special song. While it was on we had a discussion in the office about the whole burning in hell business. We thought it was quite interesting that he goes "I don't think we will", as if he is not quite certain that he won't. That felt like one of the most powerful bits to us, because there is an element of doubt despite Adam's outward confidence. We suppose it is quite complex isn't it, that sort of thing. Especially if you bring religion into it.
And then David who was at Popjustice HQ helping out with some stuff said that maybe Adam wasn't sure about the burning because of hell's famously fiery nature. David's logic was that hell, due to the fire, would not be very humid, meaning that something wouldn't really rot. So the lyric might be one that ponders the science of decomposition more than it does the nature of oppression.
Maybe Adam would be able to clear this up for us during the course of the album's promotion.
There is quite a lot of Sam Sparro action on this album. There is a song called 'Broken English' and a song called 'Shady'. 'Shady' also has Nile Rodgers on it which is quite a coup. Well we assume it is, we've never tried to get him to appear on a record. He might just say yes to everyone who asks, and it might just be the case that people don't ask him very often because they assume he will say no.
'Broken English' has some lyrics about "Tower of Babel … falling down again" AND "lost inside communication breakdown" AND "I know you won't understand but I've got to tell you somehow".
Someone should tell Adam that the best way to communicate with someone who does not speak your language is simply to speak s l o w e r A N D L O U D E R.
We thought 'Broken English' was alright but it's definite album track material. That said, this album's of a pretty high standard so it's not like saying album track in the Pixie Lott sense.
'Shady' is a bit more exciting, an undulating groove-based thing which feels like an electro stab at Jacko's cover of 'Come Together'. Then a chorus bursts out of it with a "turn it up turn it up turn it wAEYYY
The version we listened to was called 'Shady (clean end)' so maybe there is a version with a dirty end.
Adam Lambert's dirty end.
We like the things people who work in recording studios call the different versions of the songs they send out. They add things like "Mix Preview" and "BASS UP" and "NO EQ" and "REWORK 3 Faster". Somewhere someone in a room at a record label has sent a song backwards
and forwards to a producer about a hundred times demanding tweaks they
are convinced will get the song on Radio 1's playlist. Sometimes we get sent these 'work in progress' MP3s by people who want us to hear how the song's coming along. That's quite nice. And then you listen to those MP3s a few months later to compare them with the versions that have come out on the radio after loads of dicking around and THEY ARE ALWAYS EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME.
There was a song Adam played us last year called 'Never Close Our Eyes' or something which had a big line that went something like "never close my eyes, MY EYEESSSSSS". It's quite raveular. That should probably be a single at some point, mind you it doesn't have quite as much of Adam's identity in it as some of the other songs on the album. This said, identity's not much use when you're not selling any albums because you picked the wrong singles, is it?
We reckon the singles should go like this:
1. 'Better Than I Know Myself' (this is the one that's out in America already and we reckon they should just bin off the UK release and instead start again with…)
1. 'Cuckoo'. This is a properly brilliant single. It feels a bit unfair to say "it doesn't even sound like Adam" but we suppose if people are either not fussed by what they've heard so far of Adam's work, or simply didn't like it very much, that's probably a good thing. The lyrics are fairly Adamish though, or what we think Adamish means. WHO IS THE REAL ADAM LAMBERT? (That was a rhetorical question, please don't email or phone the office.)
2. 'Trespassing'. Well the album is called this so we assume it will be a single at some point and it's pretty great so that would make sense.
3. This should be where the ballad comes in. FUCK THE BALLAD. Let's go straight back in with that ravey 'Never Close Our Eyes' one. That's a hit single however you look at it, so if people haven't been very into the whole Queen-esque Pharrell business this will help sell some albums. We seem to recall Adam saying that Bruno Mars had something to do with this one but he might have been talking about something else.
4. Now you can do the ballad. We'd go for 'Outlaws Of Love' here. It feels like a better expression of what it might be like to be gay in America than anything else we've heard recently, and it's got a fantastic tune.
Anyway you will not be short of coverage of this album, people like Digital Spy and Electroqueer have been tweeting about listening to it and Dean Piper did a pretty good track by track the night before last. It will be interesting to hear what people make of it when they're outside this pretty small group of people who'd be likely to like it anyway. There are some songs that will make people go "OH THERE IS ADAM DOING ALL THAT STUFF AGAIN" but there are also some bits that people-who-haven't‑liked-Lambo-before will like. We're pretty sure most people will like 'Cuckoo'.