As a special request from a Twitter friend of mine, @ImageFighter13, I will be reviewing Adam Lambert's allegedly much hyped 3rd album, The Original High. The reason it took this long for Lambert's 3rd album to see any kind of fruition, involves his last album Trespassing not being able to spawn hit singles (Not exactly what happened with For Your Entertainment either with only a #10 and a song that missed the Top 30...)
For his first album under Warner Bros., Lambert's direction is pretty much not Trespassing and an edgier For Your Entertainment. So far, "Ghost Town" has pretty much been declared dead on radio; and in the course of barely a month from the time of "Ghost Town" was released, 3 more songs were released from the album. Yes, it looks like no one else will be chasing The Original High.
Enough about the truth; let's get to reviewing this thing. Singing and vibe are pretty much the two biggest indicators I use to determine if something sucks or is actually good. Read my other reviews to get the idea.
For the purposes of this review, I'll be listening to the Deluxe version available on Spotify...
# of tracks- 14 (that's with the 3 bonus tracks on this deluxe version)
# of interludes - 0
Total time of album: roughly 50 minutes with the 3 bonus tracks
1. "Ghost Town"- Having done a review of this song, I'll pretty much reiterate my thoughts here. This is the second ever good song of his career. Even then, stupid lyrics and serviceable at best vocals from the most over-hyped male singer of the past 10 years make this a double edged sword experience.
Also, any vibes of Electro-Campfire-LSD-Pop in music needs to stop being a thing already.
2. "The Original High"- Oooooh; a song in which the artist wants "edge" or to "Breakaway"...wait. Didn't Kelly Clarkson do that but better than this and not on a third rate Street Fighter midi file instrumental?
3. "Another Lonely Night"- Before the chorus, there's an indiscernible production trick that sounds like a cow mooing. That's about the only interesting thing on this song. Other than that, there's uneven groove establishment and just poor emissions called vocals here.
4. "Underground"- The potions of the song that involve "velcro" sound more like a rejected Jason Derulo song. Even then, this is the 4th song in a row in which "I feel high" type lyrics make an appearance of some kind. Clearly, someone was high in the making of this album. In the end, it saves itself from sounding like a rejected Jason Derulo song but damns itself for sounding like a rejected Usher song from the mid 2000s.
5. "There I Said It"- At least the beginning portion involve serviceable balladry that like "Ghost Town" make it seem promising against the odds of it being handled by Adam Lambert. Then, some type of OneRepublic "Good Life" instrumental swagger-jacking occurs and that is more than problematic.
Prescient brownie points for me for getting one of the songs being a "double edged sword" experience; it wasn't "Ghost Town" but rather, this OneRepublic sounding reject of a song.
6. "Rumors" ft. Tove Lo- Some of the instrumental sounds like "Lollipop" by Lil' Wayne and the chorus is half-hearted swagger-jacking from Lindsay Lohan's failed attempt at pop stardom. The pre-chorus even tries to swagger-jack Rihanna's lesser cut "Pour it Up" in cadence. Even worse, some portion of the chorus swagger-jacks "Hot Sugar" by Tamar Braxton.
The lack of originality in this is palpable and loathsome.
7. "Evil in The Night"- A mediocre instrumental can't save this from the lyrics, "Razor-blade lips & daggers up in your eyes". Even then, a mediocre instrumental could've saved most of the songs to be reviewed by this point.
8. "Lucy" ft. Brian May- With attempted help with the Queen guitarist [Brian May, for those who may not know], this song does have something a cool guitar riff going for it. Then at some point the words, "girl got that rebel heart" escape from text to vocal emissions. Madonna reference much?*
*In pseudo context, "Ghost Town" was met with minor buzz for sharing the title with the Madonna song "Ghosttown". Lambert claims he didn't realize she had a song that sounds the same in title.
Translation: this minor buzz about the lead single is more interesting than lazy vocals over a wasted guitar riff.
9. "Things I Didn't Say"- I never wondered what a 4th rate David Guetta demo would sound like, but this track is apparently exceptional in answering this question.
10. "The Light"- Take the Beverly Hills Cop theme/scenes that include bits of the theme; subtract the charm of that film franchise add in some borderline cult-ish "I am the light" bullshit; multiply "fire" and "rain" references and here lies 3/4 of 90s dance music stereotypes.
11. "Heavy Fire"- This marks the 40th song on this 14 track album to mention something to the effect of "fire" and I have HAD it with this bullshit "creative direction" for this album. At one point, he sings "Give it to me/throw me some shade"; believe me, with an album this horrendous, you will have more shade on you than wandering through an elm forest at night.
12. "After Hours"- The plus about this bonus track? It's only 2 minutes and 44 seconds long.
13. "Shame"- At least the uptempo beat here isn't as cacophonous as the rest of the songs on this album. Then the song becomes a "sha-a-a-a-aaaaa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ame" to acknowledge with that cadence deficient noise.
14. "These Boys"- Closing out this "deluxe" album is the opening "Who you think you callin' stupid, stupid?" Whoever this "Slick Rick Runner" is, I want to go with him as means to escape this West Side Story Jets vs. Sharks adjacent fight mess set to an uptempo version of a Train song.
OVERALL Grade: D-
Let's make this abundantly clear. This is by far one of the worst albums I've ever listened to willingly (Fret not; this is the only time I've ever questioned a friendship). While "Ghost Town" is the best track here, the creative team simply created a dance-pop album for a glam rock act whose schtick wore thin with his second album.
"Ghost Town" is in reality the second Adam Lambert song that is truly good and that pales in comparison to "Whataya Want From Me".
In full, here's what Lambert and co. need to take hits for since they couldn't give a good hit on this album:
- 6 (!) instances of swagger-jacking; 4 of them being on one song! If you're going to fail, do it by yourself.
- Barely promoting "Ghost Town" for radio and then schlocking out 3 more singles in a month (two of them in the same day!) What the lemon-scented fuck is that about?!
- More references to fire than a fire safety instruction video.
At the very least, Adam Lambert fans [whoever they allegedly are], got an album from someone written off before 2011 so...Merry Christmas in June to you all. Now stay away from me.