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Mea Culpa – Why Adam Lambert’s music doesn’t get more radio play

December 22, 2012

Adam-Lambert-Trespassing-Cover-600-4001By Thea Washington

We, the fabulous glamberts, are always wondering why Adam’s music doesn’t get more radio play.  Well, I may get kicked out of the Salon for saying this but I have a thought: It’s because of us. I mean “cause,” not “fault” because we’re not the guilty ones.

Adam has always said that he co-wrote and produced Trespassing because of his understanding that his fans, many of whom are like us, wanted to know more about him, about what makes him tick. So that’s exactly what he gave us—a beautifully brilliant, intelligent and fun collection of music and talent, with depth.   And that’s exactly the problem.

Trespassing was never destined to be a smash hit. Yes, it’s critically acclaimed. There’s just one thing wrong with it.

You can’t dance to it. Mostly.

Now, I’m not saying that none of the songs are dancy. Some of them are. “Cuckoo,” “Shady,” “Pop That Lock,” “Naked Love” and “Kickin’ In” immediately come to mind. But those aren’t the ones we’ve seen released as singles. I don’t know what those people who make the decisions are thinking but we haven’t heard a free fall, club-demanded single from “Trespassing” yet. I think it’s because of  a couple of reasons (at least).

OutlawsOfLoveWhen we look at ourselves as fans, who are we? Many of us are intelligent, artistic, well-lived women who have the good taste and sense to realize that Adam is an emerging icon. Many of us haven’t been to a club since—no, I won’t say how long—but it’s close to “who knows when.” From what I’ve seen as representative on the dance floor, though, the moves have changed since the last time I was on a dance floor. The beats sound the same. They’re still what make you want to get up and go cuckoo.

On the other hand, when I’m reading the Salon comments, I see us raving about the songs that have meaning, that have some intellectual AND heartfelt substance to them. We love “Runnin’,” something Adam says he was surprised by. “Trespassing” is our anthem. We worship “Underneath.” “Outlaws of Love” makes us cry, as do “Broken English” and “BTIKM.” They’re just not club-friendly, dance-your-ass-off songs.

Here’s my take on it. I think that there’s a circular dynamic that runs from club play to radio play and back. I think even one of these can put a song into play and I wonder which comes first. If it’s club play, which I suspect, we have a problem.

Because, as I said before, you can’t dance to most of Trespassing.

Still from BTIKM videoWhen “BTIKM” was released, I understood that it set a context for Trespassing. It explained the message, and the motivation, of the CD. I also realized that the only dance I knew I could do to it was the “bop,” sort of a three-plus point slow cha-cha that was popular back in the day, in the clubs and parties I went to, anyway. It was a perfect fit with the four-beat “Trespassing” because the accented beat is the same. But I haven’t seen a dance move like that recently. With the “bop” you had to stay physically connected, by hand or body, throughout most of the song. The only disconnect was when you were being twirled (think “Dirty Dancing”).

So immediately there was a disconnect between the song and the clubs. And without club play I suspect there’s no high-volume radio demand. “BTIKM” is a great song to think about and a beautiful video to watch, but it’s more mental than physical.

Then comes “NCOE.” Great song, great video but I just don’t see myself dancing up a storm to it and then coming back to my table happily exhausted, high on endorphins and ready for my next drink. The choreography in the video is artistic but it never “moved” me. I do see it as more dance-able than its predecessors but to me “club” dancing is free-form.

So here we are with “Trespassing.” Same deal but without an official video. And “in your face,” which I may even get to later; however, I make no promises. If I don’t get to it, just think about it vis-à-vis the kind of emoting one hears in today’s popular music. Adam’s music focuses on his singularity rather than those things that make gay people just like the rest of us.

Now, if anybody had asked me—which they didn’t—I would have led off with “Pop That Lock.” Very dance-able and also very drive-able. It’s highly scream- and head-bobable, too, also a consideration when driving with the radio or CD on. Except on snow.

What can happen if you listen to Adam Lambert while driving...

What can happen if you listen to Adam Lambert while driving…

Then I would’ve followed “Pop That Lock” with “Naked Love”, immensely dance-able, screamable, bobable and great for highway driving. Both songs would have been timed for the summer. As autumn set in I would have released “Shady”, a little darker to bring things down a bit but still maintain the beat. And to keep the kids up on the floor, “Cuckoo” would’ve been next. “NCOE” would be released sometime around the holidays maybe. I do know I’d release “Nirvana” in time for Valentine’s Day. Of course there’d be some overlap. Is that OK? Not knowing a thing about the business, all of this is pure conjecture. I stand by the sequence, though.

There’s even some consideration of “Take Back,” except that it’s sort of a downer. Don’t get me wrong, great song, but not one that makes me feel happy (like Adam himself does!).

After all this I go back to my first thoughts, that we, Adam’s fans, are somewhat the cause of Trespassing’s fate. Again I emphasize NOT FAULT. I know that it probably wasn’t conceived with thoughts of awards dancing in their heads but it should have been handled differently. Release the dance songs and leave the rest to those of us and others who can fully appreciate and enjoy them.

Other than being handled differently, we glamberts got exactly what we asked for. Adam has given us himself in music. That’s enough for “Happy Holidays”!

44 Comments leave one →
  1. Scootersmom permalink
    December 23, 2012 6:18 pm

    I would LOVE it if Adam would make just one album of all the “Greats ” from rock. If you think it wouldn’t rock the radio and dance world, you are mistaken! He has the voice to startle the world!

    • December 23, 2012 7:11 pm

      I’m all for that. Between his albums of original songs, he should put out an album of covers. Much less work, and it would help keep building his fan base. Plus it would make all of us so happy to hear his voice! – J

    • Dani permalink
      November 5, 2015 6:32 pm

      To your information a voice that blows away minds is sadly not enough to get the song on the radio. I’m a glambert, I love Adams voice and I love his music but to be honest rock is rarely played on the radio today. I’m not a super big fan of rock either. Id rather dance to a song with dubstep beats. He has done the right thing with his new album this year.

  2. Barb permalink
    December 23, 2012 9:15 pm

    I agree with your thoughts on how Adam showed himself to us, but the rest of those out there do not understand cause they haven’t been there from the onset. Making an album of old rock songs (similar to ones he did on Idol) & also maybe some duets with w/Clarkson, Pink, Gaga, even Madonna. Non Glamberts need to see the other side of him & what he is capable of singing. I have both of his albums & like them, but you just don’t see his name enough in the same category as the ones that are always out there. The critics all agree that he has a great voice & vocal range, but apparently his songs are not resonating to the point where everyone wants to hear & listen to him. He is already an icon to us, but we need the rest of the world to get on board so maybe a rock album would do the trick. The voice & presence are already there, now we need to have him blow it out of the water with his nack of making old songs his own.

  3. January 7, 2013 9:28 am

    I have one problem with your analysis of Adam’s cd….Some of what you said is logical…but if you listen to POP stations…mind you not ones that mainly play dance tracks…these same stations play tons of Bruno Mars, Played Adele over and over…play Rhianna, play Katy Perry…play Ellie Golding….and on and on…songs that are not as you said “get up and dance your behind off songs”…I have requested the songs Adam has released numerous times…Trespassing is a great dance song….and NCOE and BTIKM are both medium pace good POP songs…so there is something else going on. When you think about it…even when his cd was number one on Billboards…stations did not play it…why? When an artist like Bruno…releases a single or Rhianna…and it is new…it is played even before it is on top 40…this is not happening with Adam’s songs….why? I am convinced it is homophobia by execs…producers…they do not put his songs on their playlist even when they have request to do such. I have called and gotten DJs…requested his songs…and I 95% of the time get some lame remark like…are you a Glambert…or we will see if we can find it…and usually done with an undertone of …no we are not going to play his songs…not kidding …you can hear it in their voice.

  4. January 7, 2013 9:32 am

    one last comment on your analysis…to deny there is something going on behind the scenes is not going to help…those artist who do not fit in the convenient heterosexual mold…will get the short end of the stick every time…and as a huge group of fans…it is our responsibility to help Adam and his label let these execs and producers know we are not happy at all with his radio play time…If you also take in account that in foreign countries where his songs have been played…they usually are in the top five…so there is some sort of black balling going on.

  5. Kitty permalink
    January 9, 2013 10:05 am

    Adam has just about the same percentage of “dancey” songs as any other currrent top artist. Not all the other top artists’ songs are the dancey type either. And it is true that their songs gets played even before they have cracked the top 40. Their songs are no better than Adam’s, and some of their songs are quite mediocre. But they get to the top of the charts because the artists are accepted. Apparently, Adam’s sexuality is SO INCREDIBLY scary and threatening to the radio execs that they can’t bring themselves to play this excellent music along with the other artists. It’s their fear that is the roadblock, IMO. It’s strange how they are so afraid, but we are not. In my opinion, it’s not the music itself; it’s Adam’s persona that puts them off. The result is that many people who WOULD consider buying his music smply don’t hear it. They don’t have the emotional connection to Adam that we have. They don’t see his engaging personality and intelligence. More mainstrem network TV exposure would help. A great new song that simply cannot be ignored is the key for Adam to break through on radio. After he has one, the barriers should come down and more radio play will follow. His songs are not the problem. Fear and prejudice is the problem.

  6. January 20, 2013 11:13 pm

    Ok I have my thoughts on this subject of lack of airplay … But first I have to say I AM SICK TO DEATH OF RADIOSTATIONS PUMPING OUT THE SAME ARTISTS TIME & TIME AGAIN MORE SO WHEN I KNOW THEY DONT OR CANT SING LIVE !!! Sorry had to get that off my chest first .
    Trespassing was an amazing album I am from the Uk and we got delayed three times in the release date , which came about while he was in London preparing to do the concerts with queen . My first point is PR they could of had him on many more shows nothing was advertised for his album release on television , other than the few shows he did He was on Graham Norton a big show and he did an amazing live performance of NCOE Will I am was on the show with Adam and said ” you have a set of pipes on you ” .. That song was as good and better than any that where in the Uk top 10 at the time it did chart as the album did in the top 20 . But No radioplay .. or any major radio interviews like Radio 1 .. Many people still do not know about Adam Lambert here in the Uk .. But he does have a good fan base of UkLambrits as they call us . The songs from Trespassing would have fitted into the charts over here 100% we have a lot of gay music stars over here two who singing shows pop idol and x factor . So in the Uk I am not sure it is down to homophobic views but , something is not right when someone with a voice like Adam’s and quality material does not get played .
    So I come back to good old PR … I know people like his music as they have heard it via myself and wondered who is it .. thats happened time and time again . He needs more exposure over here and Pr did not make the most of the excitement and genuine interest while he was doing the Hammersmith concerts with queen . He had Brilliant reviews and some big British stars went to see him and publicly said how AMAZING HE WAS . … but other than the Glamberts am not sure how many would have known about the amazing vibe it created here

  7. rosemary permalink
    January 21, 2013 12:26 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your perspective from the UK, Star41. Makes a lot of sense what you say. All along, I’ve seen comments about Adam’s PR not being up to snuff. WHAT’S UP?
    P.S.–Loved hearing about the “amazing vibe” Adam created after Hammersmith.

    • January 21, 2013 1:21 am

      Hi rosemary Thanks for the lovely comments Yes I really believe that PR needs a SWIFT KICK UP THE REAR . Adam does have a solid fanbase in the UK but he does need more exposure ..I know us Glamberts make PR look easy but really 🙂 Anytime you want a view from the Uk I would be happy to help , must dig out some pictures that prove the vibe Adam & Queen created I know LuLu was one of the stars who went to the concert and she is a massive Adam Fan ..xx

      • rosemary permalink
        January 22, 2013 2:12 am

        Thanks, Star 41. Very kind of you to offer more UK perspective. Yes, any photos you have that show the enthusiasm for Adam I’d love to see, but don’t worry about it, though, if you have to do much digging. So interesting to hear about Adam’s popularity from someone who lives there.Love it that LuLu loves Adam and that he was really respected for his concerts with Queen–My god, he should have been! Just a rotten shame they didn’t perform here in the States while the singles were still being released. BTW, are you a huge MUSE fan as well? I discovered them through Adam’s IDOL tour when he sang Starlight and announced from the stage that they were his favorite band and were going to be iconic (That was before MUSE really hit the States big-time), so that’s something else I’m grateful to Adam for–Am going to see a MUSE concert in Boston this spring when they’re on their US tour. Can’t wait to hear “Madness”, I never get tired of that song. And another BTW…What area of the UK do you live in? I’ve only been to London–Love going to theater there, my daughter had two plays done on the Fringe, so I went twice!

      • rosemary permalink
        January 27, 2013 5:23 pm

        Thanks,
        Star 41. Very kind of you to offer more UK perspective. Yes, any
        photos you have that show the enthusiasm for Adam I’d love to see, but
        don’t worry about it, though, if you have to do much digging. So
        interesting to hear about Adam’s popularity from someone who lives
        there.Love it that LuLu loves Adam and that he was really respected for
        his concerts with Queen–My god, he should have been! Just a rotten
        shame they didn’t perform here in the States while the singles were
        still being released. BTW, are you a huge MUSE fan as well? I
        discovered them through Adam’s IDOL tour when he sang Starlight and
        announced that they were his favorite band and were going to be iconic
        (That was before MUSE really hit the States big-time), so that’s
        something else I’m grateful to Adam for–Am going to see a MUSE concert
        in Boston this spring when they’re on their US tour.

  8. mari permalink
    June 22, 2013 9:22 am

    Adam’s voice is so beautiful and ugh idk…… I love him. I (as the 14 year old I am) honestly wish that those stupid niki and demi songs would stop -_-they hurt my ears and head. At least adam can sing live. Those “singers” are so….. fake…..jeez… it annoys me how famous they are -_-

    • mari permalink
      June 22, 2013 9:27 am

      Ewww and I just remembered justin and Salina and ugh. No talent whatsoever. DEAR GOD. LETS MAKE US A DEAL, HMM? YOU GIVE US BACK AMY WINEHOUSE AND WE GIVE YOU JUSTIN, NIKI, SALINA, AND TWO CHAINS. I THINK ITS A GREAT DEAL. PLEASE CONSIDER. THANK YOU. OKAY…. BYE

  9. July 24, 2014 4:54 am

    I know this is a rather old thread but here’s my two cents. I believe Adam was blacklisted the day after the AMAs, he embarrassed them. The music industry in America is a tight group, it’s not his sexuality or sexual preference. He went out & did a performance they had not OK’d & they were angry and embarrassed because they took the heat. I’m sure he’s been blacklisted, even though his label allowed the Glam Nation tour. I believe that happened because it was already in the works and promised, after all FYE was already finished & about to be released the night after the AMAs. I believe they allowed a 2nd album but never intended to push it, it’s possible they used that as a “punishment”. Not a great marketing decision, but industries are a tight group & they’ll do what their told. I do believe that all this can change but only by fan support, that is why the polls & YouTube counts of all kinds are important, anything with his name on it. The best Idol ever poll, the fan wars polls, all those keep Adam’s name in the media & generates interest the industry can not sweep under the rug. It’s POSSIBLE with the current Queen tour that Adam will not need the labels, he can produce his own music; however, he needs radio play if he’s going to sell it. The only way to overcome industry blacklist is to keep Adam in the news. Don’t you wonder why the year after Adam was nominated for Male Pop Star Grammy, the category was dropped and why the BB music count for his albums never makes sense?

  10. Wendy Besece permalink
    March 10, 2017 10:26 pm

    I wish they especially I Heart Radio would play his music more. He is great! Elvis Duran!!!!!

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