Thursday, November 05, 2009

Adam's place in music

Ann Powers, LA Times, has written a thoughtful piece about Adam's place in music.

As Lambert plays the role, a rock star doesn't have to be an angry punk, a brooding post-grunge puritan or a hair-metal style macho dude in a dress. These approaches all have their purpose, but Lambert projects something different: outrageousness that's totally at peace with itself.

He does this by connecting countercultural ideas -- values he learned as a kid touring Germany in a production of "Hair," the musical that first brought rock's spirit to Broadway -- with a trouper's sense of artistic performance as work, which takes brains and a certain sharpness as well as talent.

Lambert studied opera as a teenager, then turned away from lessons for a while. "I started rejecting the proper way to sing and I started singing," he said. "I was listening to more and more rock music and wondering, wow, how does that person do that with their voice?"

He discovered there was no name for what rock singers do. Lambert's singing, like his taste and his personal style, put him beyond a boundary.

"I met with [a vocal coach] over the summer and talked to him about it, and the funny thing was, you know when I do those little, crazy, screamy notes? He's like, 'We don't really have a way to teach that. It kind of goes outside of our box.' Those notes that sound sort of like rock-scream, no one ever taught me to do. I sort of had to teach myself. You just do it. It's just a sound you make."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What would you ask? Update: Nothing is what you will ask.

This is part of the Radio City Music Hall Speaker Series.

What would you ask? I know the question invites humorous responses. But seriously, if you could get a truthful, complete response to a serious question, what would it be? I think I'd be asking about the Federal Reserve and the 2008 meltdown because everything else is a side show in comparison.

Update 11/5/09: As LJ commented, this is cancelled due to overaggressive language by the promoters that made it sound more adversarial than the Presidents intended the event to be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I write for the wrong blog

as we all know. But I've just discovered where I belong, thanks to M.

Song samples

from Adam's For Your Entertainment album, courtesy of Amazon UK, are here. H/t to mmyy9 at Hooplamagnet.

Soaked is by Muse and is operatic and I think it will appeal to those who prefer less production.

Update: Soaked sounds a lot like a k.d. lang song to me. Update V: It's that damn scooping. I hate scooping, even when it's not a crutch. (Unpopular opinion: Frank Sinatra was a crutch-scooper.)

Update II: Everyone hoping for a renaissance of Led Zeppelin etc will be sorely disappointed. Anyone hoping for a great voice filling up the pop charts will be happy.

Update III: And you can imagine Freddie singing Soaked.

Update IV: It's hard to tell much from tiny snippets, but I'm hearing a lot of 80's influence.

Update VI: Extra good news: very little voice manip in these snippets and lots of use of his lovely middle and lower range which was under-used on Idol and Idol recordings, IMHO.

Update VII: Songwriters are clearly happy to have found a singer who's not afraid of big intervals, e.g. octaves all over Sure Fire Winners, and sixths (I think) in Whataya Want From Me. Update IX: Also octaves in Pick U Up which is a song Weezer gave to him.

Update VIII: Pronoun watch: Fever was written by Lady Gaga. Adam leaves the "he" pronoun. Yay!

Update X: I can't quite tell, listening quietly on my computer speakers, but I think Sleepwalker includes a big choir. Yay, again!

Update XI: Overall verdict from snippets: wow. I think it's amazing. I think I'm going to love everything on it, except for If I Had You which sounds like another club-like song that is not as much fun as FYE.

Update XII: Broken Open has a bit of a Roxy Music vibe. Roxy Music crossed with a particular Journey song that I can't quite place.

Update XIII: Music Again nods to Queen.

Update XIV: Sure Fire Winners conjures Terence Trent D'Arby.

Update XV and XVI: Reviews (or descriptions) of the snippets are coming in: Gil Kaufman at [update: NOT Rolling Stone but] MTV (glam is back) and Jim Cantiello at MTV (he likes Music Again, Whataya Want From Me, and Broken Open; Jim is horribly wrong about Sleepwalker and I predict he'll change his mind). Rolling Stone says it's a "musical odyssey". Update XVII: Joey Guerra seems to like what he hears.

Sleepwalker, by the way, was written in part by Aimee Mayo who tweeted for weeks about her angst as to whether the song would get chosen to be on the album and, in sharing her hopes and angst, she collected a whole batch of fans who will now pay attention to what she writes for others. More proof that Twitter is more powerful than it appears at first blush.