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Earlier this week, Adam Lambert tweeted a link to a photo of the new artwork for his single "Better Than I Know Myself," along with a 27-second audio snippet...and Twitter's infrastructure pretty much collapsed. Well, now the good people over at Soundcloud headquarters better batten down the hatches and back up their servers, because the FULL audio of "Better Than I Know Myself" is out...and I suspect that compulsive repeat listenings from thousands of giddy Glamberts might be enough to break the Interweb itself. I know I certainly plan to have the song on a constant loop this weekend, trigger-fingeredly hitting the "play" button repeatedly, like a hungry rodent in a lab experiment whacking a lever to get another food-pellet fix. Or, to utilize a different metaphor/simile, I plan on listening to "Better Than I Know Myself" until I know it better than I know the back of my excitedly typing hand.
Lyrically and sonically, "BTIKM" (as it shall from now on be called by tweeters and lazy typists) perhaps not surprisingly evokes Adam's breakthrough single, "Whataya Want From Me" (or "WWFM"). "BTIKM's" soaring chorus features the same intense blend of neurosis and hope, dealing with the same sort of relationship struggles--that whole idea of sticking with someone even when the temptation to bail is strong, and the value of having a loyal partner who can tolerate and even embrace one's flaws and quirks. All this makes sense, since back in February around the time of his first Grammy nomination for "WWFM," Adam told me that "stylistically, if you like 'Whataya Want From Me' [side note: I DO!], you'll probably love this [second] album. I think we're going to definitely keep going in that direction...because that's the [song] everybody loved. That was the Grammy-nominated song, that was the hit single. And ultimately, I think it's probably the best sound for me, because it's not trying too hard to be anything; it just is. It's emotionally honest, it's contemplative, and there's just something to the emotional tone of it that I think really suits me."
Adam's sophomore album Trespassing (out March 20) may boast a few cuts with an edgier, dancier vibe than this, but I think "BTIKM" is the perfect reintroduction of Adam Lambert to the general public, especially to more casual fans mostly familiar with the radio hit "WWFM." It's a smart move artistically, and commercially (a precarious balance not always easy to find in this business), and I imagine "BTIKM" might even be up for another Grammy in 2013. (Adam missed the cutoff this year, damn it.) However, after listening to the song over and over (and over, and over), I can glean elements of other classic Lambert tracks here--a bit of "Sleepwalker's" angsty power-balladry, a touch of the bleepy electronic elements from the "Aftermath" remix, and, most thrillingly, some of the CRAZY vocal acrobatics from one of his best and criminally lesser-heard songs, the emo-tinged B-side "Can't Let You Go." The new single actually subtly showcases many elements to Adam's multi-faceted sound, all the while keeping his signature powerhouse vocals high up in the mix (and high up in the octaves--I don't think I'll be brave enough to give this one a try on my next karaoke outing). I think it's a very good sign that a co-worker five cubicles away from me heard me playing this and walked over to ask, "Hey, is that the new Adam Lambert song?" Adam's voice is unmistakable here.
Cliff-Notes version of this review: I. Love. This. Song. Let me know if you love it too, on the message board below. I just hope the Yahoo! servers can handle it...