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Like all American Idol top 2 finalists, it was a minute before Adam Lambert could take a breath. From the competition, he hit the road with season 8’s Top 10, recorded on the rare day off, released his debut, For Your Entertainment within six months’ time, then embarked on his own international tour with nary a moment’s rest.
The two-and-a-half years since, however, did eventually allow for a saner schedule with enough time to write and record an album’s worth of material — and then some. The result: Trespassing, Adam Lambert’s highly anticipated sophomore effort, which, in one start-to-finish sitting, takes the listener full circle much like a relationship would or a night out or a block of time known as life.
Glamberts should be pleased — there’s plenty of uptempo glittery pop along with more revealing ballads all of which showcase Lambert’s ridiculous range. Read on for THR’s track-by-track…
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A classic (winning) combination of foot stomps and hand claps kick off the album’s Pharrell Williams-produced opening track. With a Studio 54-esque bass line reminiscent of “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough,” it seems maestro N.E.R.D. is once again up to his old high school marching band-meets-Michael Jackson tricks. Let’s go!
The sweeping choruses on this party anthem come courtesy of Bonnie McKee and crew (Anne Preven, Josh Abraham and Oliver Goldstein) who extol “getting crazy” going “cuckoo” and partying “’til they take us away.” Throw in a Duran Duran-like breakdown in the bridge and the unique inflections of Lambert’s voice throughout — where one line can sound super sweet and then gritty the next — and this is a song that shows off his skillful singing. Not many vocalists can do that David Bowie jump from approach to approach.
With the feel of a late 90s pop radio hit, this flash forward of nostalgia features a retro, almost early NSync sound and the unmistakable guitar stylings of Chic’s Nile Rodgers bringing it back another decade or two. Think: Lambert as a one-man boy band.
“Never Close Our Eyes”
The album’s second single turns up the Daft Punk-ian synth to give off its own French essence. Credit is definitely due to Dr. Luke, Bruno Mars and the Smeezingtons for composing the track, which sounds less produced and less manipulated — another reason why the song suits Lambert so well.
Hats off to some fearless use of cowbell on this trippy tune, which certainly fits the subject matter, as the title implies. Ultimately, this is a dance all night club-banger which features nice circular melodies that double over themselves.
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With a classic wait-for-the-chorus-to-kick-in payoff, this is the sort of unapologetic pop that you could almost imagine hearing nestled between Chaka Khan’s “I Feel for You” and the Eurythmics’ “Here Comes the Rain Again” on the radio circa 1985. On Trespassing, it’s among the more sing- and chant-along-friendly tracks.
“Pop That Lock”
Another anthem that calls one and all to the dance floor (and begs for a heavily choreographed video), this hand-raiser features a dubstep breakdown to bring it up to date. Another highlight: the insane, almost superhuman reach of Lambert’s vocal range.
“Better Than I Know Myself”
Like a grand Journey ballad, the kind that stays stuck in your head all night, this first single from the album is like the quintessential prom song, the soundtrack to your makeout session or to a late-night drive. As hooky choruses go, it stands with the best of them while its message goes straight for the heart.
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The sort of epic song that would make great film music, retool with a bombastic mix and a little more orchestration and it could be the next James Bond theme. As it stands, this melodic sure-to-be fan favorite shows the softer side of Adam Lambert — less glam rocker and more like the guy you take home to mom.
Putting his most naturalistic voice front and center, someone deserves a gold star for sequencing this slower section of the album, which weaves in almost seamlessly. As for this power ballad, it’s a big song that calls for a big singer and, who knows, maybe we’ll be hearing it sung by a future Idol hopeful.
Lambert gets the guitar out for the album’s most rock-ready track, but as with much of Trespassing, it’s the onslaught of synths that drive it home.
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“Outlaws of Love”
Almost Script-esque in its soft yet effective without being in-your-face, this song written by BC Jean sounds like it could have come straight out of the Ryan Tedder library. But just when you think straightforward pop, it veers into Radiohead territory with a dramatic spike and, again, those undeniable vocals.
Deluxe edition bonus: Three additional tracks didn’t make the 12-song standard version of the album but are worth seeking out. “Runnin’,” in particular with its Kate Bush-inspired frantic chorus fits nicely with the song’s title and industrial vibe. “Take Back” has an Usher-like appeal, heavy on the vocal effects and more electronic than emotional. Finally, “Nirvana’s” raw production gives off a sense of “we’ve already said goodbye” and makes for a nice coda to a well-rounded sophomore effort.
What’s your favorite track on Trespassing? Tell us in the comments and check back every day this week for more Adam Lambert content on Idol Worship.
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