Adam Lambert | The Original High (Warner Bros.)

cd Adam-LambertIt’s official: Adam is back.

 

 

The highly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Trespassing, The Original High hit the streets July 16. Although it hasn’t yet been out a week, Billboard has already predicted the album to be the singer’s third top 10 the week of release.

What Warner Bros. deems a “fresh sound” for the artist, thee new album’s more mature and laidback than its predecessor. For this one, Lambert has said he wanted to take things down a notch. Rather than try to show everything his flexible, strong voice can do, he instead presents as an artist who’s truly found his home. The songs here are understated yet still danceable, textured and broadly appealing.

The Original High opens with first single “Ghost Town,” a singer-songwriter-y number with a story to tell: “Died last night in my dreams/ walking the streets/ of some old ghost town./ I tried to believe/ in God and James Dean/ but Hollywood sold out.” Backing sounds range from synth whistles to club percussion to finger snaps, and all of it works. Next up, the title track almost demands synchronized dance steps, yet leaves the choreography to the listener. True to its title, “Another Lonely Night” evokes dark, empty streets on a starless night.

The simmering, soulful “Underground” gets under your skin on first listen. R&B grooves and low vocals contrast with Lambert’s heavenly, heavenward vocals on the refrain. The album’s first slow song, “There I Said It,” is the listener’s first taste of Lambert’s famous falsetto. Although I’m not often a fan of male-female duets, “Rumors” featuring Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo works, and it works well. Sassy soul-pop is up next, as “Evil in the Night” is perhaps the most like Trespassing’s dance numbers.

Queen guitar great Brian May contributes standout riffs on “Lucy,” a collaboration likely born when Lambert fronted Queen on a 2014–2015 world tour. “Things I Didn’t Say” and “Light” keep the mood upbeat, with poppier vibes and subtle showcasings of the strength of Lambert’s vocal abilities. Finally, “Heavy Fire” takes it home, a restrained track yearning to break its leash.

With The Original High, Adam Lambert has become the new King of Pop—and it’s a title well deserved. Album of the year. A+ | Laura Hamlett

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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