Review Summary: Say hello to the male version of Lady Gaga.
Most of you know who he is; it’s just a matter of whether or not you dismiss his debut album just by the cover. While it might be one of the worst covers of the year (and quite possibly ever, next to Ken – By Request Only), it is in fact catchy, infectious and boring at the same time. Musical talent aside it’s no phenomenon but it is one of the better American Idol records to date. Filled with many guest writers and stars alike, For Your Entertainment is nothing more than a catchy glam pop record that you will probably listen to a few times and leave it on the stack of mediocre records of 2009.
The album kicks off with “Music Again” which is nothing short of his ambition. He wanted to create a glam record and whilst this is no David Bowie comeback, it’s a glam rock at its best attempt. You’ll hear Lamberts signature falsetto along with a few miniscule riffs. I’m not one for the mainstream pop crap that comes out of the radio in waves but this is definitely better than 95% of that. It has some pretty cheesy lyrics such as “you make me wanna listen to music again” and from the title track “I’m here for your entertainment” but what mainstream music doesn’t have generic, boring lyrics such as the former? “Strut” is more of an electro-pop hit that was crafted with the help of Miss Kara DioGuardi, who if you don’t know has lent her hand to many of today’s female pop singers. The fifth track off this album is sure to be a winner for most alternative rock fans alike as it was written solely for Lambert by Matthew Bellamy of the English alt rock band Muse. It surprisingly has a distinct Muse feel to it, whilst Lambert had nothing to do with the writing of the music or lyrics. It’s probably the slowest song on the album but it really brings something to the album that might not have otherwise made it onto it.
Remember how I said that he has quite a few guest writers on this album? Well in all honesty he actually only contributed to 4 of the 16 tracks, none of which he wrote on his own. “A Loaded Smile” was written for Lambert solely by one of the former members of 4 Non Blondes, Linda Perry. I’m not sure if this track was his attempt at a soft, poetic sense of his self ego but it just does not work for him. “If I Had You” brings Adam back to his electro-pop stylistics. Honestly most of the time variety is a better thing when it comes to making albums but even though it has varying senses of differences it just isn’t enough to save Lambert from a disappointing record.
“Pick U Up” is another pseudo-ballad that was actually co-written with the help of Rivers Cuomo. While it sounds nothing like anything Weezer has done it is actually one of the least dreary songs of the album. Here is the point in my review where my tagline with Lady Gaga will make sense. She helped him write the track “Fever” which is by far the most glam sounding track of the entire album. It basically makes him sound and portray himself as a male version of Lady Gaga. It’s got an infectious, catchy chorus paired with some pretty plain but effective beats that make it one of the most fun songs of the record. While there isn’t a whole lot of guitar work on the album there is some and most of it is in the song “Aftermath.” For you Idol watchers reading, this song will most likely remind you strongly of David Cook or Chris Daughtry at times as it sounds like a b-side from one of their albums. The rest of the album is just as you’d expect boring, dreary, long and overall a frustration.
I think you and I both know that of the 14 tracks on this album at least 7 of them will make singles for the radio (at this point 3 have already). That is exactly what American Idol is about. They don’t select a winner to go ahead and make the music that they truly want to, it’s all about the money, album sales and the AI tour they do every year. While Lambert didn’t win the 8th season of the show, he stole the show with his glam inspired makeup, homosexual orientation and wild, high pitched singing. He did something that basically no other contestant has ever done: he pushed the limits and stuck out. You knew that you weren’t going to be getting much when you initially heard about this album anyways, so try not to be too crushed. Let’s just bow our heads and thank the good lord above that there was no Lady Gaga duet.
Listen: Music Again, For Your Entertainment, Soaked, Fever and Time For Miracles.