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Drama Queen

February 26, 2023

Reflections on Adam Lambert’s new album, High Drama

by Juneau

Alright, I’m not dead yet and not done blogging! Certainly the release of a new album is an occasion to come out of blog retirement. Kudos to embracing covers as a valid expression of art. I was loving the singles that he was teasing us with in the lead-up to the official February 24 release. I enjoyed the sultry classicism of “All About the Boy” and naked vulnerability of “Ordinary World.” I was less sure about the rollicking hystrionics of “Holding Out for a Hero.” Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. 

It came as a shock when I found I preferred Billie Eilish’s version of her “Getting Older” to Adam’s. Gone is the article of faith that anything Adam covered would eclipse the original. On repeated listens, the Beatlesque production of this song is growing on me. But it will be hard to warm up to the video. It’s too literal, compounded by the spectacle of Adam made up to look like an old geezer. Oh gosh, we will all get there soon enough (those of who haven’t already), and a ballad about feeling the approaching shadow of mortality somehow loses poignancy when delivered via lyrics by a worldly wise 19-year-old and delivered by a 41-year-old Adam. Alright, I’m just being a crank now.

The standout among the rest of the tracks on the album is “My Attic,” a softer interpretation of Pink’s confessional. It feels like the heart-to-heart pillow talk we all crave with that mythic Adam who captured our imaginations those many trips around our star ago. True, of all his work, I’ve most loved his stripped-down ballads. You can hear the guitarist’s fingers grazing the strings and the breath and throat catches that are so human and genuine. This is what moves me.

Which brings me to my central question for Adam, about the album’s name. High Drama. It implies something campy and “theatrical.” It’s a title that winks at whatever real life experience and emotions might be conveyed through the songs. Why the need to distance yourself by packaging this collection as so much “high drama”? Why not lean into the authenticity of your feelings? You have the courage to be open, vulnerable, sincere. Embrace it.

Now here is my fantasy next video for this album: “Sex on Fire” featuring dancers of every age, race, shape, gender identity, and sexuality. At first I imagined it would take place in another For Your Entertainment-style nightclub with lots of leather and chains. But then I thought how much more fun to set it in an everyday place where we can celebrate the sexual energy we keep hidden under our ordinary personas. Maybe a supermarket. The possibilities of what one could do with the food… But I have an even better idea. Set it in a Home Depot, as a celebration of a beloved friend and muse. It would be hilarious and awesome. You’re welcome.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrea Davison permalink
    February 26, 2023 6:26 pm

    Fun to read your blog again. I’m also questioning the title, but its a title and that’s all. Ordinary People is a beauty. I haven’t been straight through yet which tells me something. For Your Entertainment and Velvet were the 2 albums so far that I loved from beginning to end, no skipping, no hearing 30 seconds and moving along. Maybe these tracks will grow on me.

  2. Susie permalink
    February 26, 2023 6:33 pm

    What a fantastic and honest review. I had never heard of Billies song, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I rather like the way he sang it but I am creeped out by the old pictures of him. I liked your comment about the end about distancing himself and making it feel campy. And bravo for the idea about the video at Home Depot. You should contact him with that idea.

  3. Marilyn Robinson permalink
    February 26, 2023 7:06 pm

    Ordinary World is the best song on this album.But every song is fabulous.
    Adam has a voice above and beyond anyone else’s alive today.
    That’s why his covers are so awesome….cause no one else can sing like him.👍💓💯

  4. Lepott permalink
    February 26, 2023 7:36 pm

    Yeah….welcome back! I have been rereading your musings about our collective muse…..speaking of “getting older” ahem….Before the video was released Ad

  5. February 26, 2023 7:44 pm

    I sent the Getting Older video to three people & they all had a similar reaction. That it was sad…reflecting on years ago but then the realization of getting old.

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