Just a commentary on Adam’s voice
By guest blogger jesha84, re-posted with permission from her Live Journal blog
I wrote a response to a segment of a review written by a professional opera singer from the UK (@Starlight8AL) after the NOLA show. Here’s the segment, followed by my response:
“Of course, we all know that Adam can sing, but he REALLY sings. By that I mean he doesn’t fool around with falsetto trickery, sloppy diction and lazy breathing, which so many pop singers do. He sings with a full head voice into his falsetto range and he never lets go of a seamless legato line. Like many great opera singers, he not only sings a musical legato line, but also a lyrical one and extends the line beyond the phrasing. This is particularly obvious in a song like ‘Soaked’ which is technically difficult because it ranges through his passaggio (register break), but you’d never know, because his voice is incredibly well-trained and he negotiates his passaggios so well. And like all the great tenors of the opera world, he knows how to milk every phrase for emotional content. And talking of phrases; not only does he keep his phrasing interesting and fresh, he is clearly hiding a third lung in there somewhere, because he sings some marathon phrases, along with those mad coloratura type passages, which he always infuses with meaning and purpose, whilst gyrating, strutting and jumping his way through the concert, all with perfect support and breath control – I defy any opera singer to do that! Another hallmark of a great singer is the fact that his diction is so perfectly clear and seemingly effortless in every song. And his pitching is another amazing feat of genius, because even great opera singers sometimes hit a bum note, but I had to wait for a fraction of a note in TCB for that to happen and he corrected it instantly, which shows not only impeccable professionalism, but also how aware and how in touch with his instrument he is. On top of all that, Adam performs with incredible sophistication and finesse, something which is not always immediately obvious when watching the videos on You Tube. Yup, he wasn’t kidding when in his audition he said “I can seng”!”
This is my far less professional take and I’m sure it’s nothing I haven’t said before, but when it comes to comparing talent, I have never heard anything like Adam, and I believe that if I searched the globe I would never find one. There were/are singers with beautiful voices and great talent, but almost all of them have a specific sound, or a specific genre that they fit into. It’s hard to imagine them singing operatically and then delving almost into a pop/hip hop sound. It’s hard to imagine them going from singing with sitars in front of a screen with flames and a sultry vocal flair, to sitting on a stool crooning in an alluring falsetto, to belting out rock wail glory notes while dressed in leather and vigorously stroking the mic stand between their legs. Few artists have the ingenuity to strip down a motown, disco, or even their own song to its bones and focus on the words, the voice. And if and when they do, rarely is it so stirring, so deeply poignant as to move people to tears from the beauty and raw emotion in the performance. Few can change characters so flawlessly, to go from a hungry, sexy beast ready to ravish the first person he sees, to a vulnerable, broken-hearted victim of a failed romance, back to the sweet, humble, boy-next-door with the winning smile and charming charisma.
I have never seen someone who can sing anything. We use that phase a lot, but when I really think about it, it is mind-blowing. If there’s one thing that Idol deserves credit for, it’s for giving us different themes every week, and during season 8, it was an open door for Adam to show us exactly what that voice is capable of. It’s powerful yet tender, stunningly beautiful, has the ability to move us to tears, make our jaws drop, and make us feel sexier than we ever have in our lives. Name one other artist who can do that.
Adam Lambert has shown us, again and again and again, that his musical and vocal prowess know no bounds. A creature of novelty, he is always ready and willing to try something new. And what fascinates me is that such a move is as impulsive as it is thought out. Acoustic WLL, Mad World, and TCB did not come about without forethought and what must have been a good amount of consideration and effort. But find me two performances of ANY of those songs that are the same. I’ll save you the time: YOU CAN’T. It’s that innovativeness, that impulsive improvisation that keeps us coming back for more and more. You never know if you’ll get back bending or floor writhing, or just how many hip gyrations you’ll get, or whether there will be priceless Tommy interactions. You never know if he’ll slow down the beginning of Fever and draw it out with some sensual and erotic vocalizations, or if he’ll change up the end of Aftermath and sing high instead of low, or what the encore itself will be. Always surprising us, we beg for more and more.
In today’s autotuned and, in my opinion, generally untalented musical industry, I am so happy someone like Adam came along. He has successfully fit into today’s young pop world while simultaneously creating something new. At the same time, he’s showing people what true vocal talent is, and I think we need that more than ever now.