Album Review: Adam Lambert – The Original High

Adam Lambert the original high cover

Adam Lambert rediscovers himself on third album
When your debut album is a runaway success, but the second record does not quite match the expectations, the third album in your career could be quite a defining moment for your future as a pop star. One could say that is where Adam Lambert is at now. After a second place in American Idol, a lot of hype and a successful debut album For Your Entertainment, the servicable but somewhat unexciting second record Tresspassing didn’t match the high expectations. Lambert took three years to release a third record, that is called The Original High. Will this album bring him back to the top of the international charts?

Lambert started out this new campaign with the exciting single ‘Ghost Town’, a pop track with heavy influences from house, with a minimalistic deep house beat and an infectious whistle in the chorus. It felt like a reinvention and while it did not chart very high all around the world, at least in my country, The Netherlands, it put him back in the spotlight. But does the rest of the album follow the path that ‘Ghost Town’ introduced in terms of style?

Well, partly yes! For example, one of the album’s highlights, called ‘The Light’, is an impressive pop track with an adventurous production in the chorus. A thunderous beat is the background to one of the best poppy choruses this album has to offer. The great thing about this track is that it did not take the easy road of just letting that beat be the chorus, without any lyrics, which was a trend over the past couple of years. This time around the beat also has a great melodic vocal chorus over it, which is just how we (pop fans) like it, right? Right! Title track ‘The Original High’ definitely has an electronic sound as well, but the beats are a little lighter and lean more towards dance. Lambert goes full on pop on ‘Another Lonely Night’, which he wrote with producer Max Martin (just like Ghost Town). In terms of production the song is very contemporary and it fits in with the sound of the rest of the album. I guess this is his best shot for a successful second single.

Eventhough most of The Original High is upbeat and electronic, it would not be a true Adam Lambert album without a few beautiful and heartbreaking ballads. He serves this with ‘There I Said It’, a powerful track about a dysfunctional relationship in which Adam is ‘living in the shadows’, but breaks free by saying he is a ‘grown ass man’ who is ‘sick and tired’ of living like that. The album also contains a duet called ‘Rumors’ with Tove Lo of ‘Habits (Stay High)’ and ‘Talking Body’ fame. This sounds like a radio hit and could be great for both their careers. After extensively touring with Queen, Adam also recorded a song called ‘Lucy’ with Brian May which could be interpreted as a hommage to Michael Jackson’s ‘Dirty Diana’, both in terms of style and lyrics. Anyhow it is great to hear Lambert doing some rock on his own records again, as his voice suits this style so well.

The Original High is maybe not the completely out of the box and edgy pop album some people might have hoped this outspoken pop star to release, but it is a step forward from Tresspassing on, which was stylistically too bland for a voice like Adam’s. He tries new styles, incorporates some exciting productions and delivers a consistent and diverse third album.

Must listen: Ghost Town, The Light, There I Said It, Another Lonely Night, Lucy

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