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[Album Review] Adam Lambert - Trespassing

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

[Album Review] Adam Lambert - Trespassing

Adam Lambert Trespassing

Adam Lambert will release his hotly anticipated sophomore album, Trespassing, this Tuesday, May 15th via RCA Records/19 Recordings.  To get the fans pumped up and ready to buy on Tuesday, the album can be streamed in it's entirety on Lambert's official website.  In addition to a standard and deluxe version of the album, Lambert is selling an exclusive Trespassing - Box Set for $49.99, which includes six 12" X 12" lithographs, Trespassing on vinyl, and the fan edition (CD/DVD). Eat it up Glamberts!

While there's something to be said for a good Adam Lambert power ballad, the majority of Trespassing's twelve tracks are up-tempo electropop bangers, any one of which would make a fantastic single.  Early standouts for me include the electrorock-infused Pharrell-produced title track, the Bonnie McKee co-penned rebellious rock'n'roll dance hybrid "Cuckoo," the Nile Rodgers & Sam Sparro-assisted Lester Mendez-produced "Shady," and the insanely infectious "Pop That Lock," which was co-written by gritty rock/pop princess Lesley Roy ("Unbeautiful" Mike Rizzo Funk Generation Mix).  I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with Pharrell's contributions, particularly the album's title track.  The other Pharrell joint, "Kickin' In" is a nice addition as well, kind of reminiscent of something off JC Chasez's 2004 debut, Schizophrenic (a criminally underrated album, if you ask me).

Trespassing is the ultimate party album, because after rockin' out hardcore to the first seven tracks, you're going to need to take a breather.  "Better Than I Know Myself" kicks off the album's tail-end of more chilled, laid back down-tempo tracks.  While I still do disagree with the label's choice to release it as single #1, the Dr. Luke/Cirkut/Ammo-produced electro ballad stacks up just fine with the rest of the album.  "Better Than I Know Myself" should have been single #2 or 3 - that's all I'm saying.

Adam Lambert

The Lester Mendez-produced, Sam Sparro co-written "Broken English" might very well be my least favorite off of Trespassing.  While Lambert's vocals are on point and consistent throughout, the cluttered, disjointed production is distracting and a bit grating.  Of the last three tracks, the Bonnie McKee co-penned "Chokehold" is hands down my favorite.  This mid-tempo ballad is the perfect showcase for Lambert's impressive vocal range, exposing his vulnerability in the verses before he goes balls to the wall, belting out the song's big chorus.  "Underneath" and the BC Jean (Beyonce - "If I Were A Boy") co-penned "Outlaws of Love" are two beautiful and emotionally wrought ballads tailor made for Lambert's softer side.

I'm impressed with how consistent an album this is.  I'm also impressed with how well it flows together.  Whomever decided on the order of the tracks needs to be commended.  There's nothing I dislike more than an album that doesn't flow smoothly.  Seven tracks for partying, five tracks for unwinding. This is the perfect setup for a dance/pop album. Well done Adam Lambert.

Trespassing is the follow up to Lambert's 2009 debut, For Your Entertainment.  Lambert's debut went on to peak at #3 on Billboard's Top 200 chart, hitting the Top 10 in Australia, Canada, Finland and Sweden as well.  Unlike on his first album, Lambert took a more active role with this new record, co-writing a majority of the album's 12 tracks. That's a big difference from his debut, where he co-wrote on only four tracks!  "Better Than I Know Myself," the new album's lead single, was released in December (iTunes US) and to radio in January, peaking at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Follow up single, "Never Close My Eyes" was digitally released in the U.S. April 17th (iTunes US) and is scheduled to impact radio on May 29th.  "Never Close My Eyes" will be released in the UK as the album's first official single on June 24th.

Listen to Trespassing in it's entirety on Adam Lambert's official website and buy it starting next Tuesday.  Check out the "Better Than I Know Myself" video BELOW.

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Anonymous SCmtnbert said...

Thank you for a solid review that focuses on the MUSIC. He worked well over a year on the CD, and it shows. It's his "baby".

Most glamberts are fond of Broken English because we know it's about his boyfriend, Finnish reality star Sauli Koskinen. Evidently early on his English was a bit sketchy.

You MUST check out the 3 extra tracks included on the Deluxe version -- Runnin', Take Back, and Nirvana. Runnin' is a power/pop anthem, starting at the very lowest of his register and ultimately soars to the top. Take Back is a mid-tempo song about the travails in a difficult relationship. Nirvana is a beautifully airy love song.

May 12, 2012 at 2:21 AM  
Blogger Jamie Sward said...

Thanks for your comment. Ahhh - I didn't know 'Broken English' was about his boyfriend. I actually did like the melody and Lambert's voice, even the songwriting was solid! I just thought the production seemed a bit too cluttered for my taste.

Yes - I will check out the bonus tracks, for sure!

May 12, 2012 at 2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks so much for such an intelligent, well researched review.

May 12, 2012 at 2:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice, well-thought-out review. I do believe Adam chose the order of the songs, as he Executive Produced the album. Shows the faith that RCA has in their artist.
And I agree with you, the flow is wonderful - it's made to listen from beginning to end. (I confess to repeating some tracks though. Shady, Broken English, Chokehold, Runnin, Underneath.....)

May 12, 2012 at 3:04 AM  
Blogger Jamie Sward said...

Thanks for reading and for your comments! I love how passionate all of the "Glamberts" are! He's lucky to have you all.

May 12, 2012 at 3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciate very much your in-depth review. It's so refreshing when bloggers/reviewers stick to the music and not, like the gal on EW, drag his personal life into the article. And, yes, would encourage you to listen to the three bonus tracks - they're as good as the rest of the tracks on this album. Nirvana will take you to another place - so beautiful.

Also, Broken English, written about his Finnish boyfriend, does contain that stuttering sound to indicate "communication breakdown." Very clever.

Again - thank you for your insights.

May 12, 2012 at 3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your review is excellent. I felt the same way about Broken English on first listen. In fact, I checked to see if I was playing two tracks at once. After multiple listens, however, I don't notice it as "clutter" but as acceptable layering that creates an almost psychological depth that reflects the inability to communicate directly with someone. Sounds nuts, I know. SC is right about the three bonus tracks--def. worth a listen or two. Really enjoyed your review.

May 12, 2012 at 3:22 AM  
Anonymous Jo said...

So cool to read an intelligent comprehensive review, thank you. I listened to the album tracks and I'll definitely be buying it! And thanks to the other commenter for the heads up re the bonus tracks, I heard them too and love them, so I guess I'll be buying the deluxe album :)

May 12, 2012 at 6:28 AM  
Anonymous libralaurie said...

Great review!!Thanks!! I love this album, Adam has outdone himself here. Underneath is my absolute fav, his voice is so beautiful and the song speaks to his struggle in the music world. Runnin is crazy vocals, starts low register and shoots into the sky...I cant wait to dance my ass off to Trespassing (in 4 days)!!!!

May 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Jamie Sward said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. This was written after listening the the album once, so those were my initial thoughts on "Broken English." Perhaps it will grow on me with more listens.

May 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for you thoughtful and detailed review, really enjoyed it.

I agree with you pretty much on all points. Although he only worked on two of the tracks, Pharrell did have a big influence on the tone and direction of the album and I think it shows. I do like Broken English but there is a lot going on and I could do with out the banshee wailing bridge.

Your comment on Better Than I know Myself is completely on point as well, it is a good song but with so many great hits on this album why RCA chose this as the first single is puzzling.

Cant wait to get my CD in the mail, some fun summer jams on here to play while driving around....

May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your great review of "Trespassing". "Broken English" is my least favorite song on the album too but I love all the other songs. In all, it's a mighty fine album of which Adam Lambert can be justifiably proud.

May 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree about Broken English... well, it's the bridge that completely takes me out of the song. It's so out of nowhere... What irritates me about it is that Lambert is skilled at writing bridges with a lyrical punch, so why did he reduce the bridge of this song to disjointed wailing? It's lazy.

That being said, "Shady" is a near perfect song, as is "Chokehold", and the absolute best single/dance song is "Pop That Lock". It's top 40 GOLD. "Kickin' In" is ingenious in its almost claustrophobic production. Pure experiment; something we rarely see with pop artists these days. Bravest and most cohesive album so far this year.

May 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry if this has already been noted, but Adam Lambert executive-produced this album and, as such, chose the order of the tracks. Kudos to him, and to YOU for a balancesd review and for focusing on ths MUSIC!

May 12, 2012 at 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to watch this (poor quality) video from Jimmy Kimmel performance of Broken English.

Like the others who commented, thanks for actually reviewing the music. Fans seldom have problems with difference of opinion on THAT, it's just when it gets personal that we get our panties in a twist. Ha.

May 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Jamie Sward said...

Thanks for your comments! Yes, I did learn that Lambert was the EP on Trespassing, so that explains the album's fluidity.

I haven't read any other Trespassing reviews, but it sounds like some people are dragging in his personal life? My reviews will always be about the music.

May 12, 2012 at 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, I shouldnt even defile your site with this nonsense but yes sadly, Adam faces such discrimination all the time.

I think as a music lover, a writer, a professional and, as far as I can tell, a rationale and compassionate human being you would be astounded at what is written about Adam in the guise of reviews.

This latest comes from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY no less, a supposedly credible magazine. I wont go into the whole thing but some lovely quotes are:

" it's hard to understand why it took him so long to stop flirting with the straight crowd and make his big gay dance-club album." yes thats right they wrote HIS BIG GAY album

You love chokehold, I bet you didnt know that

"..on Trespassing, he's left the closet far behind ... celebrating what happens when two consenting adults love each other enough to share their safe words (''Chokehold'')."

"Too bad the ballad-heavy second half is so laughably over-the-top."

"Cheer up Glammy. It's nothing a little makeup remover can't fix."

There's more but I cant....

But you can see why Adams fans are so thankful for people such as yourself who are professional and respectful.

Glamberts are often portrayed as going crazy if anything negative is said about Adam but how could any fan read this crap and not post a negative comment?

I can assure you that my letter to editor stated quite clearly what I thought of this review, this writer and any publication that would this such comments were acceptable.

Ugh now Im annoyed again, will need to listen to Nirvana to calm down and think of the hopeful future Adam sings about.

oh...PS loved ur Haley write up, just listened to the snippets, I'll be getting it too, love her voice thanks

May 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Jamie Sward said...

Thanks for the video clip from Kimmel! I'm glad Jimmy gave Adam the opportunity to perform more than just a radio single. That's fantastic!

Re: the Entertainment Weekly review, wow. That's deplorable! I'm all in favor of having our own opinions, but that review comes across as condescending and derogatory. I'm astounded that a reputable publication like EW let that slip through. Yes, we know Adam Lambert is gay but what does that have to do with his music? I guess club music is oftentimes pegged as "gay music" but this review beats that stereotype into the ground. So unnecessary!

May 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jamie for your honest and comprehensive review. I actually love Broken English but we all have our favorites and least favorites. They vary all across the board. I love most of the tracks, but really love Underneath. We Glamberts appreciate that you spoke about the music and not his sexuality. I can't believe all those people will read EW's review and possibly consider not buying this album.

May 12, 2012 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't like Broken English at all when I first heard the snippets. What changed my mind was hearing/seeing Adam perform it live at the Jimmy Kimmel concert. Now I love it and I don't skip it when listening to the whole album (via streaming). I don't care about it being about Sauli. I love the universal message it has about communication. It's about a lot more than Sauli's sketchy English. My favorite line is "Don't think out loud cuz once it's out your mouth can't take it back". Sometimes words can hurt but not saying the right thing can sometimes hurt just as much. It's a pretty deep and universal song that can be applied to many different types of relationships beyond the romantic type. As far as the production style I did find it a bit odd at first. It reminds me a little bit of Adam's 'Broken Open' from his first album. One of the few co-writes he had and also a very personal song for him. Thanks for a great review :)

My favorite songs on the album are: Shady, Trespassing, Kickin In, Chokehold, Runnin and Underneath.

May 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really good, honest review.

Thanks so much for that and for focusing on the music.

I hope you get a chance to hear the bonus tracks. Runnin is perfection in my humble opinion.

May 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jamie for an honest thorough review of Adam's new music. Most reviewers are good about reviewing only Adam's music, but a few are intent on focusing on his orientation instead. Love what you said about his songs and how well his voice stands out. As other commentators have mentioned, the bonus tracks are something you really do not want to miss. Runnin is an amazing song which showcases Adam's range and writing abilities perfectly. Take Back is an excellent song which shows the struggles one has comming to grips with a failed relationship; and Nirvanna is a beautiful love song which is about how you feel when you finally find your true love and are transported to a place where you and your love canbe happy and at peace forever. Please check them out Thank you again for a wonderful, intelligent review of the MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!

May 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM  

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