Thursday, December 3, 2009

Music Review: "For Your Entertainment" by Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert, the runner-up from the last season of our favorite singing talent competition American Idol, has recently released his debut album "For Your Entertainment" I recently had a chance to sit down and listen to it, and it has a very diverse sound to it. I think the only way to really review this album, or come to think of it, any album is track-by-track. I've also included a 30-second preview for each track.

1. "Music Again" - 4 out of 5
The album begins with a slightly pop-rock track with elements of No Doubt, Queen, Bon Jovi, and upbeat techno. As odd as that sounds, somehow he manages to pull it off, and create a fun, and quite enjoyable song. He even throws in a short little guitar solo in the middle.

2. "For Your Entertainment" - 2 out of 5
The title track for the album combines elements of modern hip hop, and sounds like the generic kind of music you'd hear on the radio nowadays. The vocals are still good, but that's the only saving grace for this track. The odd thing is how different this track sounds from the first one.

3. "Whattaya Want from Me" - 3 out of 5
Once again, this sounds like a modern song you'd hear on the radio. Except instead of hiphop, I feel like he's going for more of a modern rock sound. Once the chorus comes in, it gets more of a techno feel to it, reminding me of something from Cascada or something.

4. "Strut" - 1 out of 5
Definitely my least favorite track on the album. Reminds me of Lady Gaga more than anything else. I'm not a fan of her, and this song also doesn't do much for me, every now and then a guitar blazes in, just to remind you that it's there. There's also a slow part that doesn't really put any emotions to the forefront. The song sounds like your basic pop hit of today, and that's a problem.

5. "Soaked" - 5 out of 5
Just when I was about to shut the album off, this song comes on, a classic ballad, reminiscent of something you might of heard in the 70's or 80's. Such a beautiful song, and Adam gives us some amazing, haunting vocals, putting in lots of emotion. The song literally sent chills up my spine, it was so good. Definitely my favorite track on the album.

6. "Sure Fire Winners" - 2 out of 5
I got hopeful about the last track, hoping that a lot of the album would get better. However, this track comes on, and I'm instantly disappointed about how pop it sounds. After listening to it a couple more times, I came around on it and it's not horrible, but not something I'd want to listen to normally.

7. "A Loaded Smile" - 4 out of 5
Going back to the same style of vocals on "Soaked" I felt somewhat relieved by this track, even though it's not quite as good as that song was, it still feels right. This is the kind of music Adam should be singing, slow, patient songs, with lots of meaning behind them. This track reminds me most of "Walk in the Rain" from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, the female version. It's kind of weird, actually, Adam is a guy, but most of his songs are reminding me of songs sung by women. There is one part in this song that reminds me of Peter Frampton, however, and that's always a good thing.

8. "If I Had You" - 1 out of 5
Another generic Hip-Hop/Techno track that is reminiscent of Lady Gaga or something else you might hear on the radio. Really not my favorite part of Adam's album, and I hope he would dumb some of this stuff down in his future work. It is, interesting, though, how diverse he can be.

9. "Pick U Up" - 3 out of 5
Reminding me of some sort of modern rock song, similar to something like the All-American rejects, But also some sense of Cascada thrown into the mix. It's very pop-oriented, but Adam's vocals seem to make me like the song better, especially when he hits those insane high-notes that he hits so well.

10. "Fever" - 3 out of 5
This song sounds a little bit like some pop song out of the 80's but also has elements of Cake in there, and a little bit of upbeat techno. Once again, though, the best part of the song is Adam's vocals, which are amazing, especially when he screams. The worst part is the obvious reference to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" when Adam goes "my Fa-Fa-Fa Fever, my Fa-Fa-Fa- Fe-Ver" It sounds so similar to Lady Gaga's song, and seems like a cheap way to try and get Lady Gaga fans to listen to him.

11. "Sleepwalker" - 2 out of 5
Going back, once again to the pop-influenced side of his album, this track is a slow, brooding echo-laced song with too many melodies to be emo or gothic, but too sad to be an upbeat hip-hop song. Then they throw a short guitar solo that sounds like something out of Pharrell's band, N.E.R.D. This song is more confusing than enjoyable, and comes off as odd more than anything else, but at least it's not completely bad.

12. "Aftermath" - 3 out of 5
A generic rock song that sound like something you've heard on the radio a million times before, Adam's vocals aren't really even tested in this track, and it comes off as just underwhelming. It's not exactly a bad song, but it's not exactly good, it's just kind of middling. I'm also not a fan of the unoriginality of it, which is a problem with a lot of songs on this album. Especially when some of the songs are so experimental and original.

13. "Broken Open" - 4 out of 5
Just while I'm getting all bent out of shape about the unoriginality of some of the songs, this track brings it back, and brings in a slow melody, and some quiet vocals. The music itself has some trance melodies to it in the background, and some small touches to it, making me think of shooting stars, the twinkling night sky, and peacefulness, I can close my eyes, and instantly start picturing tons of things, it's the perfect song for that sort of thing. However, I shouldn't close my eyes for too long. The song is boring enough that I could put it on before going to bed and fall asleep within seconds, and that's it's only problem.

14. "Time for Miracles" - 4 out of 5
Technically labeled as a "Bonus Track", This song reminds me the most of one of Aerosmith's slower songs, maybe something like "Cryin", and it also adds in a modern rock sound, similar to The Killers, except slower, creating a nice balance of new and old, and giving us some nicely refined vocals, closing out the album with a nice slow uplifting song.

Adam Lambert, while having a few bad tracks on his debut album, seems like he's heading in a good direction. The weirdest thing, which I've vaugely mentioned in some of the song descriptions above, is the amount of diversity he has in his music. Some of the songs seemed too safe, though, and seemed below his actual ability.

It almost makes me think he has some big plan to convert a bunch of hip-hop listeners into rock fans by getting a huge pop hit, and then slowly easing them in to his other songs, which are more rock-oriented. I predict that in 5 years from now, Adam Lambert will have a totally different sound than he does now, and will have re-generated mainstream interest in rock music. At least, that's what I'm hoping.

The art in the album is very nice to look at, and some of it reminds me of various album covers and fashion styles of other music artists, including David Bowie, Micheal Jackson, Elvis, and M.I.A. I also got to briefly look at at special edition hardcover art book that comes with the album, and it's definitely some nice and interesting stuff to look at. Whoever Adam got to do his photo shoots is amazing.

Overall, I give "For Your Entertainment" a 3 out of 5.

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