By Kaitlyn Riggio
BU News Service
Adam Lambert may be known mostly for his stint on season 8 of “American Idol” or his current collaboration with the remaining members of world-famous band “Queen,” but his recently-released fourth album “Velvet” reaffirms the fact that Lambert is more than capable of standing on his own.
“Velvet” showcases Lambert’s versatility as an artist. Those who have been following Lambert since the beginning of his career got a sneak peek of that during his time on “American Idol,” but now it’s on full view for everyone to see. Lambert is a well-rounded performer who is capable of growing and maturing, and “Velvet” screams that message loud and clear.
The album’s titular opening song introduces the sounds to come. “Velvet” has an electronic feel to it and features plenty of synthesized elements, which gives the song a similar vibe to many of the electronic-pop dance songs that are popular on the radio right now.
“Velvet” sounds older and more sophisticated when compared to Lambert’s earlier work. This is to be expected. Lambert was 27 years old when he competed on “American Idol” and when he released his debut album “For Your Entertainment.”
That album was energetic, powerful and had a bit of a punch to it. With “Velvet,” the listeners can hear that Lambert has matured as a person and an artist over the past decade. His work is still undeniably impressive, but it feels more chilled out, and the opening track sets this tone wonderfully.
On the cover art for “Velvet,” Lambert dons an elaborate purple and green outfit reminiscent of Prince. This proves to be fitting, as “Velvet” has some Prince-sounds influencing it. One song where this is prevalent is “Stranger You Are,” the album’s third track, with electronic elements and a vocal line reminiscent of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” or “I Would Die 4 U.”
Although most of the album feels electronic and synthesized, “Closer to You” is a break from this pattern. With an opening that features straight piano with no electronics or any fancy synthesized effects, it feels almost like a modern-day power ballad, worlds away from the rest of “Velvet.” The instrumentation, the backing vocals and even the lyrics make “Closer to You” sound like a parallel to Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” with a 21st-century flair.
“Feel Something,” the album’s final track, is a concluding sentence. It wraps up “Velvet” and brings it to a fitting close, featuring elements that keep the listener engaged until the last second. The synthesized backing vocals create an ensemble feeling that would normally be found in musical theatre, which sets Lambert up as the main character singing one final song as a finale. It’s the perfect way to close out the album.
“Velvet” by Adam Lambert was released March 20.
Thanks for the nice review. He has always been able to stand on his own. Have you listened to his other three albums? There is nothing on radio that even comes close to this level of musicianship [and WITHOUT auto-tune] and virtuosity as a vocalist. Listen to the Live Sessions of some of the songs from Velvet, on his YouTube channel. His live versions are always far and away more dynamic that the studio versions. He is unmatched in music today.
Great review thanks. I have loved and followed Adam Lambert since Idol. He is the best live performer I’ve witnessed.
I really love this new album and think it’s his best yet, and appreciate that he’s evolved with his music as you do, but you wrote some things in your review that are inaccurate about his use of synthesizers. Adam used real instruments and not synthesizers in Velvet. It doesn’t have an electronic or synthesized sound or feel to me at all..
Here’s a quote of his from an interview he did in Hunger Magazine.. “I look back on the last 10 years and in the past I’ve been confident but a lot more apprehensive when bringing out an album, but this time I’m just relieved and really calm about it. I believe in the music so much, I feel like I’ve followed my instincts and my intuition more than I ever have. Overall the album has more of an organic feel and you can hear all the instruments in it – I wanted to get on stage with a four-piece band and play. It’s not dependent on computerised sounds, there’s a lot more instruments going on.”
Read the full interview at http://bit.ly/30AvzFa
While I’m glad you seem to appreciate Adam’s enormous talent, he has had a very successful and diverse career since Idol. He is a world star and has always been able to stand on his own. For this album that we have waited for, Adam said over and over that he wanted it to be all analog instruments. There is no synthesized music.
[…] BU News Service – Review: Adam Lambert’s latest album shows he can certainly stand on his ow…. “With “Velvet,” the listeners can hear that Lambert has matured as a person and an artist over the past decade. His work is still undeniably impressive, but it feels more chilled out, and the opening track sets this tone wonderfully.” […]
I’ve seen Adam live 33x, 8X with Queen & I’ve never seen anyone that can match his stage presence, power, vocal range & charisma. Thank you for this interview. Velvet is Adam in a very personal way, a great journey that I’ve followed since AI. He’s a genuine Superstar, so well deserved.