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Adam Lambert, ‘Trespassing’ – Album Review

Adam Lambert Trespassing
RCA

When Adam Lambert signed a record deal after finishing second in Season 8 of ‘American Idol,’ some questioned whether his glam-rock leanings could be successful in today’s pop music environment.

The singer and his following of Glamberts proved the doubters wrong with ‘For Your Entertainment,’ which produced a Top 10 single, earned a Grammy nomination and achieved Platinum status.

But while ‘For Your Entertainment’ was a credible debut, Lambert’s second album, ‘Trespassing,’ more fully captures his personality. It’s a better representation of the singer’s own personal style, his interests and his desires. Lyrically, the subject matter ranges from pro-freak anthems to carefree songs about partying all night to serious political discussions about gay rights.

‘Trespassing’ hit retailers today, May 15, and PopCrush is giving you our track-by-track review of the 15 songs on the deluxe edition.

1. ‘Trespassing’
Fans got a preview of the title track during Lambert’s performance at the NewNowNext Awards. The song features stomping drums, heavy guitars and a large dose of attitude as Lambert sings about trying to make himself at home, even when he feels like an outsider. He snarls, “No trespassing? Yeah, my a–! Wait ‘til you get a load of me!

2. ‘Cuckoo’
Now the crazy train is ready to roll,” Lambert sings on this electro-pop track that seems destined to become a dance club hit. He wants to lose his mind like a maniac and party like he just got out of a straightjacket. Who doesn’t feel that way sometimes? “We’ve gone cuckoo,” he declares, his falsetto miming the sound of a cuckoo clock.

3. ‘Shady’
The funk and disco undertones of ‘Shady’ should be no surprise considering that Chic’s guitarist Nile Rodgers guests on the track. ‘Shady,’ which the singer has described as “Nine Inch Nails meets Saturday Night Fever,” is the kind of song that not many performers could pull off in 2012, but Lambert makes it work.

4. ‘Never Close Our Eyes’
Adam teams up with Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke on ‘Never Close Our Eyes,’ a song that reflects the input of each musician with a dance beat, acoustic guitar and catchy melody. Lambert wants to forget about sleep, stay up late and enjoy life with a special someone, living without consequence. [Listen Here]

5. ‘Kickin’ In’
‘Kickin’ In’ is the record’s second Pharrell Williams collaboration and its first slight misstep. With synth whooshes, awkward vocal loops, and a strange lyric about a girl who can’t leave the shot glass alone, there’s a lot going on, and it doesn’t all fit together.

6. ‘Naked Love’
This unabashedly pop offering sounds like something straight out of the Katy Perry or Kesha playbook, with its bouncy melody, “whoa-oh-oh” chant and the innuendo-laden hook, “I want your naked love / So don’t you dress it up tonight.” ‘Naked Love’ isn’t very innovative, but we can’t get it out of our head!

7. ‘Pop That Lock’
After its most straightforward pop moment, ‘Trespassing’ heads back to the dance floor with ‘Pop That Lock,’ a song on which the “Banshee boys and dancey girls get down.” Right after the second verse, where you might typically expect a guest verse from a rapper, Lambert instead gives us an instrumental dubstep breakdown, but otherwise, the track isn’t memorable.

8. ‘Better Than I Know Myself’
‘Better Than I Know Myself’ was a disappointing choice as the album’s lead single, simply because most of the album’s other songs are way more edgy and exciting. Not surprisingly, the borderline adult contemporary tune failed to light up the charts, even if it does show off Lambert’s incredible vocal range. [Listen Here]

9. ‘Broken English’
This one starts out slow, with Lambert mumbling something about the Tower of Babel falling down, and it never quite recovers. It’s a ballad that tries to break the mold with a few electro elements, but the heart of the song is a bad pun: “Now your body language is broken English.”

10. ‘Underneath’
Everybody wants to talk about a freak / No one wants to dig that deep / Let me take you underneath,” Lambert urges gently on the standout track ‘Underneath.’ It slowly unfolds as a piano ballad before building to a haunting climax, in which he belts out a message about wanting people to get beneath the surface to see the real Adam.

11. ‘Chokehold’
‘Chokehold’ is a basic pop-rock song that relies a little too heavily on lyrical cliches, but tells an interesting story. Lambert knows that being in this particular relationship is like being in a chokehold, but he wonders if he likes the pain, because he can’t bring himself to break it off.

12. ‘Outlaws of Love’
Lambert chooses to end the basic edition of ‘Trespassing’ with his much-discussed song about the struggle for equality. He sings, “Everywhere we go we’re lookin’ for the sun / Nowhere to grow old, we’re always on the run / They say we’ll rot in Hell, but I don’t think we will / They’ve branded us enough, outlaws of love.” Lambert capably captures the frustration of the gay community in lines like, “All we know is no / Nights are getting colder” and “Scars make us who we are / Hearts and homes are broken.” [Listen Here]

Bonus tracks:

13. ‘Runnin’’
With an ’80s rock vibe and some of Lambert’s most impressive vocals, ‘Runnin” sounds so different from the rest of ‘Trespassing’ that it would have been a welcome addition to the proper album. The bonus track finds Lambert singing about his tendency to run from his heart.

14. ‘Take Back’
‘Take Back’ sounds like a song Adam might have written after his public fight with boyfriend Sauli Koskinen. “How do we take back what’s been done, what’s been said?,” Lambert asks. “No one wins when love breaks down, we both die.” That’s a mature perspective from a guy who is usually all about “no regrets.”

15. ‘Nirvana’
The closing ballad ‘Nirvana’ isn’t one of the strongest tracks on the album, but the song is noteworthy for its hint of R&B as Lambert unleashes his falsetto, singing, “We can escape to a higher plane in nirvana / Stay where the dreamers lay / I’ll lay you down, lay you down.”

Watch the Adam Lambert ‘Better Than I Know Myself Video’

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