20 March 2010

[I contributed this post to a fabulous music blog called Pop+Nation.]

It has been a year since American Idol season 8. Personally, that is my favorite season and I have emotionally invested a lot of time, money, and effort into it. Kris Allen won the title with Adam Lambert as runner-up. I do like Kris but Adam...

For Your Entertainment released 23 November 2009.

[I am a huge Adam fan but I am not affiliated with ANY Adam fan groups. I am completely sane. Personal bias might show here and there but it happens to everyone.]


1 Music Again (Justin Hawkins, Rob Cavallo) 3:16
2 For Your Entertainment (Claude Kelly/Dr. Luke) 3:35
3 Whataya Want from Me (Pink, Max Martin, Johan Shellbeck) 3:47
4 Strut (Adam Lambert, Kara DioGuardi, Greg Wells) 3:29
5 Soaked (Matthew Bellamy, Rob Cavallo) 4:33
6 Sure Fire Winners (David Gamson, Alexander James, Oliver Leiber, Rob Cavallo) 3:32
7 A Loaded Smile (Linda Perry) 4:04
8 If I Had You (Max Martin, Johan Shellback and Savan Kotecha) 3:48
9 Pick U Up (Rivers Cuomo, Greg Wells, Adam Lambert) 4:00
10 Fever (Lady Gaga, Jeff Bhasker) 3:26
11 Sleepwalker (Ryan Tedder, Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey) 4:25
12 Aftermath (Adam Lambert, Alisan Porter, Ferras, Ely Rise, Howard Benson) 4:26
13 Broken Open (Greg Wells, Adam Lambert, Evan Bogart) 5:03
14 Time for Miracles (Alain Johannes, Natasha Shneider, Rob Cavallo) Bonus Track 4:43

Let me start with the cover. To be honest, I don't like it. I thought it will grow on me but it hadn't. There are better photos in the liner notes so why he chose this particular one, I have no idea.

Starting off the CD is Music Again. From the first time I heard this song, I immediately thought about the band "The Darkness". Then I read who wrote it: Justin Hawkins, the front man of The Darkness. (Music suggestion: The Darkness - I Believe in a Thing Called Love.) This song has tons of energy; from the intro, transitioning to the chorus. Also - maybe it's because I'm familiar with The Darkness - I felt that I already know this song. I remember riding the bus to work and I was already singing along to it. If that happens, then it's not a bad start to a CD.

The title track, For Your Entertainment, is probably the most different debut single out of ALL the Idols since the first season. It's definitely pop with a hint of glam and electronica. Over the years, I've expected Idol singles to be your typical run-of-the-mill pop, bordering to bubblegum and/or cheesy inspirational. This is something I would willingly listen to. Just... don't ever EVER watch his live performance of this song on the American Music Awards. EVER. I recommend you watch the music video for this instead.

Whataya Want From Me was penned by Pink, Max Martin, and Shellback. And it does sound like Pink. I like this pop-rock sound. I'm not much of a fan of Adam's earlier rock works but this one works perfectly for him. The guitar riff at the beginning is awesome! The lyrics are so good, "It's me, I'm a freak. But thanks for loving me 'coz you're doing it perfectly." I remember that this was the first song from the album that I put on loop. I am also in LOVE with the video. A complete 180 from "FYE".

One of the four songs Adam co-wrote is Strut. He worked with Greg Wells and American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi on it. When the track list leaked, a lot of people went batshitcrazy over this song. When I read "Kara DioGuardi", I had my reservations. Don't get me wrong, she does have really good songs (Music suggestion: Taking Chances). But sometimes she uses wacky lyrics or words that don't fit well with the song (from Taking Chances: "on this planet they call earth"). What do I love with "Strut" is the beat. It's perfect for... wait for it... strutting.

I was really excited when I found out that Muse's Matthew Bellamy will be contributing a song. Soaked is DEFINTELY has a Muse vibe. I am just so in love with this track. The strings are just divine. Adam did "Starlight" during the tour and from there, I wanted to hear more Muse songs from him. Now this... a song given to him by Matthew Bellamy! [I shall stop Muse fangirly-ing now haha.] I'm not that fond of the next track, Sure Fire Winners. Dare I say it, it's a bit forgettable. Clever lyrics though, "I was born with glitter on my face/ My baby clothes made of leather and lace." Other than that, it's an okay song. The second part is better than the beginning.

Halfway through the album and we get a slow song. Loaded Smile is penned by renowned songwriter Linda Perry who also produced this track. Adam maintains his falsetto all throughout the song. It's a nice break from the high energy of the previous tracks. Take a close listen to the lyrics and it's amazing. It's a sad, emotional song about a relationship about to end. And when I read the lyrics, it began to take on a different meaning for me (but that's what personal blogs are for, right).

Next is If I Had You. Very, very danceable. Adam really carries these kinds of songs very well. This is his kind of pop and it's very timely thanks to the likes of Lady Gaga and Ke$ha. "Life would be a party, it'd be ecstasy." Definitely on my party music playlist. Pick U Up is probably my favorite track from the album. Adam co-wrote this with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and Greg Wells. I love the composition of the song and the build up. The key change towards the end shows Adam's mastery of his voice. From this album, this track has the most plays. No everyday do I gush like this over a 4-minute song but "Pick U Up" is just awesome.

And I mentioned Lady Gaga. Fever was co-written by teh Lady Gaga herself. Take a listen and it does sound like something she would sing. In fact, she did a demo of this (Matthew Bellamy did the same for "Soaked".) And like every Gaga song, it's fabulous. I wish one day, they take the stage together. Sleepwalker is a song penned by Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey, and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. It's a slower song - another break in tempo but not in intensity. Like in "A Loaded Smile", Adam keeps to his falsetto range. I would like to note that Orianthi provided the guitar solo on this track. When I first listened to this song, I didn't particularly like it. But it did grow on me. It's a very nice song. I love the layers in it.

The third song that Adam co-wrote in the album is Aftermath. This is an effort with his friends Ferras, Alisan Porter, and Ely Rise. If you are familiar with Alisan Porter's work, it definitely shows in this song. Powerful rock with deep meanings. Ferras and Alisan Porter performed this song at their recent Hotel Cafe gig where Adam is in appearance. (I was there too, but I didn't get in even if I could. I was with my family.) Broken Open was also co-written by Adam. This time, with Greg Wells and Evan “Kidd” Bogart. It's a haunting song to close out this CD. I'm not a huge fan of the song, though. I do love the vocals, Adam's falsetto is just so beautiful.

As bonus track, this album includes Time for Miracles from the movie "2012". This is Adam's "unofficial" first single. And quite frankly, the only reason why I sat through 3 hours of the movie. The song's pretty epic. Choosing Adam to do this was perfect. He gave it the emotion and the spot-on vocal power.

Speaking of bonus tracks, there are two more. One if you purchased from iTunes and another from his official website. Down the Rabbit Hole should be a party music staple. RIGHT THE EFF NOW. I dare you not to dance when you hear this song. Master Plan... I don't know, I find the intro riff so sexy.

Definitely one of the better albums of 2009. But hey, I'm an Adam fan. (If ever I review Adam's other "debut CD" then bias might fly out the window haha.) Experience FYE for yourself.

So that's it! Happy birthday, Adam Lambert!

And happy listening, people! It's for your entertainment.


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