Adam Lambert’s ‘Trespassing’: It’s That Deep
I admit that I've developed a bit of reputation as a Glambert, which means probably anything Adam Lambert-related with my byline slapped across it is taken with a grain of salt as chunky as one of Adam's old rhinestone bindis. "Of course she digs Adam Lambert's new album," some skeptics must think. "Lyndsey Parker saying she loves Trespassing is like Oscar The Grouch saying he is a fan of trash, or like Winnie The Pooh giving a jar of honey a five-star review." But seriously, people--listen to me when I say that Trespassing is one of the best pop albums you will hear in 2012.
Or, if you don't believe me, then just listen to the album yourself. I'll wait...
See? I was RIGHT!
On Trespassing, Adam has undoubtedly found his true (multi-octave) voice, gleefully and recklessly abandoning the throwback "rock god" posturing that typified many of his "Idol" performances and several of his first album's guitar-driven, Matt Bellamy- and Justin Hawkins-penned tracks. This, surprisingly, is not a bad thing, despite what a convincingly worship-worthy rock god Adam can certainly be when the mood strikes him. (Rock fans, fear not: The album's three bonus tracks, "Take Back," "Nirvana," and "Runnin'," hit the old techno-rock sweet spot, with the latter almost sounding like an '80s action-movie anthem that'd play in the background while Rocky trains for his Cold War boxing battle with Dolph Lundgren. If that make any sense...)
Anyway, this doesn't mean the album doesn't rock in its own wonderfully Daft Punky way. Trespassing is a full realization of the new Lambert signature sound: a rare strain of electropop that manages to be both mindlessly hedonistic and sublimely sophisticated at the same time. This is hypermodern-but-retro, glossy-but-not-too-glossy superpop, and it is a sound that really fits Adam like a custom-made Skingraft leather jacket. (He co-wrote 12 of the disc's 15 tracks.) If this album doesn't earn Adam some genuine critical raves, then I am sorry, but too many biased critics are rolling their eyes at the "'American Idol' runner-up" listing on his résumé, and not actually listening to his damn album.
Trespassing IS that deep, to loosely borrow a familiar Adam catchphrase: It's a split-personality'd record, almost a concept album, exploring the two sides of one of current pop culture's most polarizing and fascinating figures. It's all very side A/side B (how fitting, then, that Trespassing is coming out on vinyl), with the first half frontloaded with funky-fresh partystarters and "side B" comprising a comedown soundtrack for the bleary morning after. I admit I'm partial to "side A"--after all, I can't resist a Hi-NRG rollerdisco jam, and literally the first SEVEN remix-ready Trespassing tracks have me digging in my childhood closet for my old quad skates, the ones with the rainbow-print shoelaces and glitter custom pom-poms and Pegasus wings velcro'd to the sides. (Seriously, Adam needs to host his official record release party HERE.) But both halves of Trespassing still come together as a whole, somehow more cohesively than Adam's genre-hopping first effort, For Your Entertainment, ever did.
"Side A" of Trespassing kicks off with a true statement of intent, the Pharrell Williams-co-penned title track, in which Adam boldly announces, "Wait till ya get a load of me." (He ain't kiddin'.) Adam's recent reunion with his old "Idol" duet partners Queen is an obvious touchstone here, with "Trespassing's" bowel-rumbling disco bassline, canned handclaps, and gang-chanty intro bringing to mind Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" and "We Will Rock You"--but other supercool drill-team staples come to mind, like Toni Basil's "Mickey," Frankie Smith's "Double Dutch Bus," Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation," and even the Go! Team, the Ting Tings, and Sleigh Bells. And there's a heavy-breathing breakdown in the middle that features some of the sexiest panting since Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby," or at least since Madonna's "Burning Up," Kinky's "Más," or the Faint's "Posed To Death." And that's just THE FIRST TRACK.