Last week I had the pleasure of being among a group of gay journalists invited to spend an hour with glamazon Adam Lambert and listen to a few tracks from his new album, Trespassing. Unable to resist the chance to meet the gay pop firebrand whose meteoric rise to fame I happened to actually cover right on these very pages during American Idol Season 8 (not to mention the promise of an open bar and bottomless spring rolls), I was more than game.
In the years since Idol, Adam has had a dizzying and impressive career with highlights including being disinvited by ABC to appear on its morning show (after kissing another man onstage at the American Music Awards – nice!), singing with the legendary rock outfit Queen, and seeing his first album, For Your Entertainment, become a global hit. He also turned 30, and I made a point of wishing him a happy belated birthday. Adam – standing tall in his trademark jet-black cockscomb hairdo, guyliner and glammed-out duds – laughed and thanked me, sharing that 30 “feels good” because he’s at a place where he has gotten past a lot of the messy personal stuff that all folks go through as they come into their own. He added, “I think a lot of gay people get caught in a kind of arrested development” when it comes to love – something that he’s glad to be able to look back on.
Adam was whisked away to DJ a set of songs from his new album, which was pushed back from its original March date to “Mapril”. The title track, “Trespassing”, produced by Pharell Williams, is a funk-driven track that took me completely by surprise in the wake of the album’s first single, the more emo-adjacent power ballad “Better Than I Know Myself”. The track reminded me a bit of when Queen released “Another One Bites the Dust” and confused the heck out of rock critics, radio DJs and listeners everywhere. It seems to me that Adam might be looking to shake up expectations as well. (To hear snippets of “Trespassing” and a few other tracks from the album, check out Wednesday’s Morning Meme.)
Speaking of Queen, I asked Adam if there were any set plans yet for his two upcoming dates singing with the band, because it EXCITES ME MORE THAN WORDS CAN EXPRESS that he is once again stepping in for the legendary Freddie Mercury. Adam said that while nothing has been decided yet in terms of setlists, he’s very excited to perform with them again. I also asked him what music he’s listening to these days, and after first saying that he listens to everything (which I totally believe), he highlighted the new Ting Tings album as one of his current faves.
Later, Adam played “Shady” for us – a track about going out and getting a little somethin’ somethin’ that he co-wrote with out pop performer Sam Sparro. It’s a dancy, upbeat track about nasty things – a contrast to some of the more stripped-down and somber songs on the album that are earnest discussions of love, communication (“Broken English”), and even navigating gay romance (“Outlaws of Love”). Adam took a moment between songs to pause and point out, “This is for us, it’s for our community.”
But Adam’s primary goal on this night was clearly to get people moving, and he spent much of the evening cuing up tracks, hollering for “More bass!” and urging everyone to dance. From the sounds of what I heard, Mapril showers are going to bring plenty of dancefloor goodness for Adam’s fans.