Adam Lambert: The Original High

Posted June 24, 2015 by in Pop



4/ 5


Genre: , ,
Producer: , , , , ,
Genre: Pop, rock
Producer: Max Martin, Shellback, OzGo, Ilya, Mattman & Robin, Ali Payami, Oscar Holter
Label: Warner Bros.
Format: Digital download, compact disc,
Time: 40:
Release Date: 12 June 2015
Spin This: "The Original High," "Underground," "Rumors," "The Light"


In what seems like his best record to date, Lambert soars with strong, fluid compositions. Embraces Disclosure house and hefty dance-pop


With a little extra motivation, some of the song's B-side material (even the very brief "Ghost Town") would have made the disc exceptional

Solid and healthy 180° for American Idol’s biggest glam-rock star on third solo set

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Solid and healthy 180° for American Idol’s biggest glam-rock star on third solo set

2012’s Trespassing may have been Adam Lambert‘s biggest faux pas. While trying to go avant-garde and mysteriously jumping away from bigger pop producers into a realm of impossibility, he missed the opportunity to cull out radio-ready jams and universally strong compositions. He missed the perfect moment to place rich building blocks upon the momentum powered by his well-liked debut LP For Your Entertainment. The American Idol runner-up missed the mark, and to some extent even admitted to a few glitches on that set. “After the Trespassing album, I kind of had to stop and ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this? What do I want? Who am I? What am I about?’ And just re-examine everything,” he told Gigwise in April.

Now Lambert is in a better place. And he’s got Sam Smith to thank. The two have not worked together as professionals, but it’s apparent that Smith’s trek to crossover fame and Grammy gold has inspired Lambert to make a few artistic shifts. Smith — a gay man living in the excesses of Adele soul — fearlessly tried on EDM with Disclosure (“Latch,” “Together”) and then pulled off a suite of modern soul with his debut album. Lambert is far more adventurous and colorful than Smith, but that doesn’t mean Smith’s influence isn’t there. If Smith can find his groove, so can a struggling Lambert. All it takes is a better batch of songs to get the ball rolling in his favor.

On Lambert’s sophomore venture, The Original High, he is completely surrounded by better songs and reunites with old friends (Shellback, Max Martin). [He sounds poised, more confident than ever. He’s sexier, less androgynous than before, evidenced on “There I Said It,” when he whips out that he’s a grown-ass man.] The fourteen-song set isn’t exactly muscular, roller coaster jams or ballads that would expose the brute force of his high register, but they are truly better in structure when compared with the stuff that filled up Trespassing. As if he’s bonded with the tenor of Disclosure’s dub-house, he tries to pull off something like “Latch” with the half-ballad, half-disco gem “Ghost Town.” It sounds good and feels lyrically sound (albeit a bit depressing), but it is best considered as being lightweight when compared with the title track. Sure, “The Original High” sounds like it borrows riffs from The Wanted’s “Chasing the Sun,” but the opening live guitar plunks, glistening synths and the deep house beats that prevail the rest of the track prove to be intoxicating to the ear. “Just let me feel the rush like the first night, Lambert sings as if he’s possessed by cool Jamiroquai swagger. As if he’s reading our minds, Lambert then streams some futuristic language of what’s bound to come this summer: “Summertime is stuck on my mind.” It’s obvious that we may have embarked on one of the better summer songs this year. And then there’s “Another Lonely Night,” which borrows more from “Latch” by using its quasi-reggae rhythms.

As for the rest of the album, it flows well with fluorescent deep house tracks like “Evil in the Night” and “The Light.” The ballads are also a compelling force. The mightiest being “Underground,” which marinates strong contemporary R&B beats atop Ilya‘s paranoic production. When Lambert shows off his falsetto while singing “I want you, I need you,” you almost feel as if Adam Levine is so 1999. He also lands a splashy duet with Tove Lo on “Rumors,” which is screaming for radio play.

He doesn’t turn a blind eye to his important game-changing tenure with Queen. On “Lucy,” Brian May comes in and provides a powerful lead guitar performance. May’s contribution, along with the runaway rebel narrative of the song, props Lambert up on what is clearly one of his better pop-rock tracks to date.

It is a bit encouraging knowing that Lambert had his hand in writing or co-writing most of the songs on The Original High. It also proves that he’s as good as the staff he keeps. When around good minds, your direction is clearer. And that works in Lambert’s favor on this round. Overall, the album — his finest to date — is a very good look for the American Idol alum, which is saying a lot these days. There’s no denying that it will be summarized as being one of the best soundtracks of this summer.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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