Quick Spin: ‘Trespassing,’ by Adam Lambert


“Trespassing” is the latest from Adam Lambert. (RCA Records)
May 14, 2012
Adam Lambert
Trespassing

In the almost three years since “American Idol” Season Eight runner-up Adam Lambert released his debut, “For Your Entertainment,” he has sold more albums than his season’s actual winner, Kris Allen, briefly joined Queen (a natural fit, what other group could contain him?) and, at least until now, avoided the “Idol” curse, which basically involves making flavorless albums that nobody buys.

Most ex-contestants sound better with the more albums they put between themselves and their “Idol” handlers — Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry come to mind. But “Trespassing” goes against the trend: “FYE” was a winking ode to glittery, glam-y rawk; even its lesser songs didn’t sound like anybody else. But the dance-pop and house tracks of “Trespassing” could just as easily have been done by Rihanna or any number of faceless Euro stars.

It’s divided, somewhat unwisely, into two halves.

The first half is devoted to sound-alike disco and electro stompers, most co-written by Lambert with help from a Murderer’s Row of songwriters and producers, including Dr. Luke, Pharrell and Bruno Mars. With a few exceptions (such as the industro-funk workout “Shady,” which includes a rare guest turn from Nile Rodgers), Lambert’s extraordinary voice is wasted, or worse, looped unto infinity, on these one-beat-fits-all tracks.

The disc’s second half is all about ballads: Big, air-gulping showstoppers designed to showcase Lambert’s gargantuan voice. Many, however, are too lacquered to make an impression. Others, such as the pro-gay-marriage closer “Outlaws of Love,” are laudable in sentiment but lame in execution: “They say we’ll rot in hell / But I don’t think we will,” Lambert ventures tepidly. It’s a song that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, when even the proudly out Lambert shied away from male pronouns. Consider it progress: These days, civil rights jams can be every bit as unremarkably drippy as the regular kind.

Allison Stewart

Recommended tracks

“Broken English,” “Shady”

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