Monday, November 23, 2009

Track by Track of For Your Entertainment

This is a track by track synopsis of the album...I'll give each song a grade on a scale of 1-10 and then the reasons why...then the overall grade.

1) Music Again 6/10
This song was written by The Darkness front man Justin Hawkins. Kinda silly lyric. "You make me wanna listen to music again". Hey, pop music is filled with stupid lyrics... In this case it sounds like Adam is harping every run and vocal trick that Justin did in the demo. However, the song sounds really good. And really Adam tones down the Broadway-ness that bothered me in his Idol run. I think this is a fun song. Thus 6/10. Not groundbreaking or revolutionary but fun. Entertaining.

2) For Your Entertainment 6.5/10
Interesting track...Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly. Sounds a bit like "I Kissed a Girl"...I really like the track a lot. Adam's voice is toned down and popped out, which is a good thing for pop music. The bridge has him doing some of his trademark squeels. Not my favorite thing, but impressive. As a pop hook, the song isn't that catchy or hooky. I'll be surprised if it's a big hit, but it could be simply off of the sound of the track alone. And his voice does sound good.

3) Whataya Want From Me 8.5/10
Pink donated this track. Sounds like a Pink song. Written with hitmaker Max Martin. This sounds really good. So far this is the highlight. I like the way the track sounds and the lyrics are typical Pink-type wanna be deep. And I mean that as a compliment...I actually enjoy Pink's writing a lot. Adam does some crazy vocal stuff at the end that kinda ruins it for me, but overall very strong. Nice song.

4) Strut 5/10
Written by Adam with Greg Wells (produced Katy Perry & One Republic) and Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. Um...what to say about this song. The track is kind of cool. Trying to be riffy rock, but the production and lyric takes it to this really poppy place that reeks of not rock. The lyric is beyond assinine. And I think I'm being kind with that assessment. The bridge is musically interesting...really the coolest part of the song. Then back to the wanna be riffy rock. Not a lot of good about this song. Pretty weak.

5) Soaked 9/10
Written by the lead singer of one of my favorite bands of all time: Muse's Matthew Bellamy. Really interesting Muse-ish intro. Adam's voice doesn't sound as cool as Matthew's...but then few do. He's trying hard to cop Matthew's vocals from the demo. This is the over the top retro pop/rock ballad that people are wanting from Adam after his time on Idol. Very baroque-type chord progressions that you expect from Muse. THIS is the song I want to hear Adam sing more of. Definitely the highlight so far in the album. His vocals are in check throughout this one...really really great performance.

6) Sure Fire Winners 5.5/10
Interesting club-like intro. Interesting production by Rob Cavallo. I like the sound of this but the song is just so-so. Adam is trying really hard to sell this song with an interesting vocal, but the song just isn't a great song. Feels lyrically and sounds like a wanna be "We are the Champions" type song. I really hope I never hear this at a football game. If you're downloading highlights only, leave this one off the list. It has it's interesting seconds, but is overall a loser.

7) A Loaded Smile 6.8/10
Written by hitmaker Linda Perry (producer of Pink's big records, Gwen Stefani, many more). I really like the moody/ethereal intro to this one. Very cool synth/guitar stuff. The chorus doesn't really lift or hook for me. It's an interesting song but as an enjoyable piece of pop music, it misses just a little bit. Beautiful song, though. Not a highlight, but FOR SURE not a low light. Good song. Adam's falsetto is quite nice on this one.

8. If I Had You 7/10
Another Max Martin creation. Max's tracks are always cool. But this one is very much style over substance. The chorus is catchy as crap, though. Very hooky, catchy chorus, that makes up for what I think are weak choruses. The lyrics are typically stupid pop lyrics. Oh's pop music. Maybe down the road Adam can write from his heart instead of trying consistently for pop anthems... The bridge is weak. Bridge's can make or break a song for this case it pushed the grade a little lower, unfortunately. but man that chorus is ridiculously catchy. Disco beat plus catchy melodic chorus makes up for a lot of ills.

9. Pick You Up 6.2/10
This song came from Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo with additional writing from Greg Wells and Adam Lambert. This song is lyrically kinda stupid. Musically, it goes between really great and just okay. The chorus is kind of cool. The verses are so-so. Adam's voice sounds really really good on this song. But the song is I really want to like it better...maybe with time it'll grow on me...

10. Fever 7.2/10
This was a Lady Gaga creation. The synth work on the verses is really interesting. The track sounds really good. Adam is really going Broadway on these vocals. Not my favorite vocal of his on the record. But the song is pretty cool, actually. I really like the song itself and the way it sounds. And the lyric is kind of an interesting take on pop. Very cool, actually. But the vocals just grate on me on this song.

11. Sleepwalker 8/10
Ryan Tedder wrote this with a couple of big Nashville writers. I'm a big fan of Tedder's writing and production. Wow...vocally Adam sounds A LOT like Ryan Tedder on this one. You know, as good a singer as Adam is, I'm surprised at how many songwriter's vocal tics he adopts on these songs. This is an interesting song and, as always Tedder's tracks sound great. The synth pad he is using sounds a little dated, but that may have been a deliberate choice. Side note: Tedder's songs are obvious...he has such a style of his own. I have to admit that I think he's a pop genius. Call me a sell out, I don't care. I like Tedder's songwriting. I really like this song overall...not a highlight but strong. The guitar solo on the bridge and outro was a little over the top silly 80's for me without having the pinache of, say, Brian that loses some points...

12. Aftermath 8/10
Adam wrote this with Ferras and a couple of other songwriters. Actually a really strong song. This gives me pause and gives me hope that as a songwriter, Adam will be able to find his own voice and write lyrics that say or mean something. Granted the other songwriters may have driven the boat on this, but overall this is a really strong song. Howard Benson's production on this one is one of the best on the record, especially as a rock record. Good song, good performance. This one actually rocks about as hard as pop/rock is allowed to rock (i.e., Daughtry & Nickelback). Big guitars on this one, toned down synth stuff...good sounding song.

13. Broken Open 7/10
Written by Adam, Greg Wells and a songwriting acquaintance of mine Kidd Bogart. Bogart actually did a few songs with Blake Lewis on the Idol tour, so I met him a few times...good guy. Anyway...the song. Really, really cool intro to the track. Very ethereal instrumentation. At the top of the song, his voice is soaked in reverb...nice programming on the first verse. Sounds like they're really trying to cop a Madonna type feel...or maybe ethereal/world music Sting. Actually interesting. One of the more interesting tracks on the record. There's some interesting samples and glitch editing on this song. Not a super strong song, but it gets points for being one of the most interesting on the record.

The album also includes a bonus track of his 2012 song Time For Miracles. I won't review that. it would take down the average. Not a fan of that song.

Anyway, overall I thought the album was relatively strong. One of the better post-Idol debuts for sure. I am looking forward to Adam's next album, if 19E doesn't pull its usual hit and run. Hopefully next time around, Adam is able to write more of the record and develop as an actual artist, not simply a puppet singing other people's songs. I think the listener wants to hear what Adam has to say...well, maybe.

So, my overall grade is: 7/10 (averaging all the song grades together)...I'd say that's about right. Strong, decent effort, but I'm looking forward to growth on his next record.


risalea said...

Would enjoy seeing you do something like this with Kris's album, beyond the tweet review.

Cathy Storms said...

Hmm. Interesting. The guy is talented, I'll give you that. I don't know. Would I buy his CD, maybe, would I pay to go see him in concert. No...I was just surprised that they didn't have Kris Allen close the AMA's. I'm sure a lot of people are talking about Adam this morning, and thats a good thing for him...

Saadi said...

Nice review! U seemed kind of generous with it...personally, Adam is more of a LIVE! performer for me but his recent AMA was a complete disaster!

Hopefully the CD will be alot better...haven't heard all of the tracks yet!!

N yeah..for me, I like when the singer him/herself has penned a few songs on the record so I'm not ranking Adam very high!!

Saadi said...

Btw, I'd REALLY like to see u review Kris's album! I think he's pt out a really good album considering the few months they've got to throw things together!

Amy's Purple Poodles said...

I don't care for Adam Lambert. Just wanted to say hi to everyone and hope you're all getting ready for a nice Thanksgiving.


Carrie said...

Much prefer Kris Allen's album. I liked Adam and really was hoping for so much more than what his album gave us. It sucks that there is so much hype around him when imo, the album isn't all that great. There are a few songs I like just okay, but Kris is still so underrated.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like they said, I'd like your take on Kris as well. It's always fun to read comments from people who actually know music.

Me, I just like what I like without analyzing it. If I can sing to it loudly in the car, jump to it on the trampoline, or cry to it in my room, I like it.

But having read all of your comments, I mostly agree with you. Broken Open and Sleepwalker are far and away my favorites. Whataya Want From Me is number 3.

But I will say that I had to buy another CD at the same time I bought this one so that I could cover up the horrendous cover on the way to the checkout stand. One Republic worked nicely...

Wontle from twitter here, btw. :0)