It was the album-cover shot shown ’round the world — or rather, the hydra-headed gossip-sphere: Adam Lambert in full gender-bent regalia, a black-leathered, blue-follicled flashpoint of next-level snazzy-dazzlement. And it seemed to make a certain promise: This special snowflake would not tamp down his fabulosity for the masses. He would let his kohl-rimmed light shine, American Idol‘s sterile starmaker machinery be damned — nobody puts Glammy in a corner!
For Your Entertainment‘s falsetto-laced opening salvo, ”Music Again,” certainly ? lives up to the dream of a pop-rock Xanadu. Justin Hawkins, late of Brit libertines the Darkness, conjures a Cheap Trick-meets-Supertramp stadium anthem that fits ? Lambert like one of those fantastically nonfunctional fashion gloves he’s so fond of.
The peacocking title track that follows duly fulfills its pledge (Entertained? Synth-ertained!), and Pink, apparently just one of many in the boldfaced fan club, co-writes the hooky, heartfelt lament ”Whataya Want From Me.” Lady Gaga’s contribution, the future-disco glitter bomb ”Fever,” sounds like it was extracted directly from the Scissor Sisters’ sonic DNA, while OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, a.k.a. the Diva Whisperer (he wrote Leona Lewis’ ”Bleeding Love” and Beyoncé’s ”Halo,” among others), gives Lambert the chance to earn his power-?ballad bona fides on the tense, atmospheric ”Sleepwalker.” Though rock purists may blanch at the shamelessly florid pop flourishes, Linda Perry and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo play to their songwriting strengths on ”A Loaded Smile” and ”Pick U Up,” respectively, and Muse’s Matthew Bellamy makes Lambert his faithful proxy on the Phantom of the Rock Opera aria ”Soaked.”
If there’s a complaint here, it’s that Lambert is almost too malleable. His voice, though supremely capable, doesn’t really have a distinct character; it’s like listening to the world’s sauciest wedding singer. ? But if For Your Entertainment‘s material sometimes wears him rather than vice versa, he’s still the belle of what turns out ? to be one heck of a glitter-pop ball. B+
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For Your Entertainment