Review: Adam Lambert’s The Original High Is an Actual Pop Album

TIME

Former American Idol runner-up turned glam soft-rocker Adam Lambert has had some trouble, as Idol finalists often do, settling on a sound. His last studio album, Trespassing, is faintly remembered for its two lead singles: the stodgy power ballad “Better Than I Know Myself” and energetic piece of Bruno Mars showmanship “Never Close Our Eyes.” Neither did much on the charts, and neither represents the album all that well. To get a better sense of this slept-on if uneven release, one must revisit the album tracks, like Pharrell-produced “Kickin’ In,” or Sam Sparro-Nile Rodgers collaboration “Shady”: funky, sexy, and quite ‘70s.

None of that sounds particularly unusual—Pharrell, after all, produced a huge swath of 2013’s pop music, and Rodgers, with his fellow disco-era artists, has graduated from session-musician legend to marquee Top 40 guest—but look at the date. Trespassing was released in 2012, a full year before ubiquitous songs-of-the-summer…

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