REVIEW: Adam Lambert – Trespassing


Artist: Adam Lambert
Album: Trespassing
Genre: Pop
Label: RCA

Adam Lambert is one of the few artists who make reality talent shows seem worthwhile. In a sea of indentical, fleeting wannabes, he stood out even during his American Idol days as a talented and provocative artist and extravagant showman. This diligence and glamour has seeped into his music, which often represents the very best medley of his influences and which, more than anything, captures an infectious and jovial sense of fun. It is pop music and unashamedly so, but it’s sophisticated pop music – lavish, thoughtful, sublimely executed, with exquisite attention to detail.

Lambert’s phenomenal vocals in the past are, as always, the driving force behind this album. Trespassing is his second full-length release following 2009’s For Your Entertainment and sources inspiration from 90s music, disco, electronica, and even a little bit of dubstep (enough to provoke but not to destroy). It’s a consuming mixture of songs, all bright sparks and theatrical flourishes designed with maximum visual and aural stimulation in mind. Lambert’s range allows him to dominate no matter what the song style – his voice an energetic thrust for the flamboyant tracks and a solid, powerful fulcrum for the slower songs. Indeed, it is marvellous to hear how he can take tricks and styles familiar to all in the trade and twist them so rambunctiously to fit his vision. Lambert is a showman above all else, and he provides a sumptuous, all-engrossing experience to go with his stunning voice.

The album’s title track is the opener. “Trespassing” is a really fun, vibrant, intoxicating pop track with enough offerings from various genres to transcend genre. It’s rhythmic and compelling, with Lambert’s starry and charismatic vocals bringing more life than anything else going on behind him. “Shady” is terrific, an easy throwback to the funk-infused tracks of the Seventies. The opening is deadpan but intense, with a smooth bass line and exhilarated vocal refrains. As the song progresses, it takes on a classical twist in the form of strings and layered voice harmonies, creating a rich and compelling pop tapestry. “Never Close Our Eyes” comes from a more thoughtful place, but dresses itself in such stylised, gaudy disco beats that you’d hardly notice. Bruno Mars was involved in putting this together, and such is evident in the soulful, considered vocal line, which adds an earthy gravitas to the biting rhythms of the chorus.

The unabashed swagger of “Kickin’ In” is a fine throwback to Michael Jackson, while “Naked Love” is of a more organic persuasion. It feels like a 90s throwback in many ways, with drums rolls and sugary vocals. By Lambert’s standards, it is perhaps a little underplayed or safe, but there’s a flavour of gentle, spirited cheer that makes it refreshing. “Pop That Lock” pares up again, with an eager charge ingrained into its beat from the outset. The chorus isn’t quite as riveting as I’d like, but it is a mark of how meticulous Lambert’s songs usually are that this seems almost underdressed. “Better Than I Know Myself” is a grower. It seems quite distilled at the outset, but builds into a sweeping chorus involving truly astounding vocal heights. The song itself is rather simple and yet it’s uncannily catchy. The sensitivity of the words peters through the polished production, making for an oddly heartfelt track in tremulous clothing.

“Broken English” is tremendous. It’s sophisticated and mysterious, downplaying the vivacious music and using only hints of percussion and backing vocals to create something pervasive. The understated intensity is striking, as it creates an air of intrigue and adventure. “Underneath” is broad and evocative, with Lambert’s voice shining in the minimalist setting. It’s quite ambitious in scope and creates an atmospheric, almost cinematic sound. It feels brooding and nebulous, but this deadened poignancy is brought vividly to life by the power in his voice. “Outlaws of Love” comes from a similar place, but it’s much barer in sound. He sings openly, with no embellishment, with a cold and emotive stance. It almost seems ghostly after all the colour that’s underpinned the album, but it’s a stark and gorgeous reminder of the pure electric talent at the heart of the record.

Trespassing is easily the most enjoyable pop album yet this year. It’s a welcome injection of life and stunning artistic achievement for a sterile scene, from a visionary performer who ought to be celebrated.

Rating: 9/10
Review written by Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

Latest posts by James Shotwell (see all)

Both comments and pings are currently closed.
  •   Oh dear that was an emaculate review of this enigmatic album.  It is so so beautiful,, I feel it is a love letter to his fans, and his true love Sauli.  The man himself is a person of such charisma and spectacle that there is truly no one now days to compare him to.  Even Bieber which all the young girls doesn’t have the raw magnetism of this talented handsome man.
    He has matured his style and composure since his last album, until it almost seems like a comparison of someone graduating high school, and then moves on to graduate school.. he truly is in charge of his own destiny at this point. 
      Your exciting and thoroough assessment was the best I have seen yet.  Your obvious knowledge of music and the way you examined each and every detail in this masterpiece of music was simply stunning.  Thank you so very much.  Now if we can only get the radio people to come out of the closet^ and play it, the way it deserves to be played.  The whold world will win…

  • great article dude, really enjoyed it !

  • thanks so much for a great review!  Adam’s just the best!

  • Grace

    Thanks for all the feedback and positive comments guys – glad you’re all enjoying the album as much as I did!

  • feetchick

    What a beautiful review of the man and the music! You expressed it perfectly and lovely to see another who truly gets and appreciates Adam and his incredible talents & artistry that definitely delve deep into the inspired and the divine. THANK YOU for Trespassing so boldly and surely! 

  •  What a wonderful review.  You artfully articulated my thoughts when listening to this album. Thank you for beautifully capturing my emotions in words.

  • Lynne

    I also love Broken English. Great review! Love the album!

  • KarenB

    Great review! Just missing Cuckoo & Chokehold? Also want to add my voice to the others recommending you take a listen to the bonus tracks.Runnin’ is a bloody masterpiece! 

  • GREAT REVIEW. It’s so nice to read a review where the reviewer actually listened to the songs and understood the content. Fantastic job and not just because it was positive.

  • A thoughtful, brilliant review.  THANK YOU

  • Sandra

    James thank you for this informative review. There is so much right with this album I am so proud of Adam and all who had a hand in it – but I think Adam had a lot of control and influence… I really love/like all the tracks but must say for the moment Runnin, Shady, Outlaws of Love, Pop That Lock and Cuckoo are on the top tier but that is not saying much because that is only a hair or two above the others:-) Oh, and Chokehold, Underneath, Broken English, Kickin In, Naked Love… Hmm, guess my song love just keeps going on…

  • Sandra

    Follow-up, thank you Grace Duffy for writing this review!!!

  • Great in-depth review! Love how you focused on the actual music, something more reviewers should do…I just started making my own music (with Dr Drum), maybe you could review me someday? :D

  • kelsiegirl032

    Grace you write so eloquently that I had to read your review it twice to get the full meaning of your comments. You really understood what Adam was doing in creating this masterpiece of exciting and emotional songs. It’s so refreshing to read a piece like this because few music critics really know the basics well enough to give a fair and unbiased review. I thank you for this marvelous piece of writing and hope you get a copy of the album for yourself. 

  • kelsiegirl032

    Mitchell is the same person that cruises the blogs and videos for anything Adam to put him down. Just ignore he’s been  doing this for over 2 yrs.

  • Brumley123

    Thank you so much for a well thought out and articulate review.  Yes he is a visionary performer – thanks for getting it.

  • Chris

    Wow, this review just blows me away.  Thank you

  • wendyness

    What a great writer you are!  Thank you.  I enjoyed your review very much.

  • Wendy Jackson

    I bought the deluxe album for my daughter. For less than 50bucks you get the cd, a dvd that shows the album being made. A VINYL no less = I almost hit the floor and beautiful art photos of Adam = I think 8 all together all in a box that looks like it came from Neiman Marcus. I hate this term but I am going to say it. Class act. and I also stole a listen WOW this is refreshing in the hole that is pop music today. Very well produced. This guy knows what he is doing.

  • Wendy Jackson

    you are a riot, love the cow. btw is there anything that you can’t do?

  • Wendy Jackson

    I spent 8 years working in CHR all pop, top 40. The company had 5 stations, black ok plaid shirts that play the guitar ok, American Idol ok, Gay not ok. Thats as simple as it gets – welcome to the south.

  • Wendy Jackson

    I agree this woman can write.

  • Christyeugenia

    Your words of praise for Adam Lambert are so appreciated and well noted with all his fans. I saw him on The Jimmy Kimmel Live Concert last week and on The American Idol results show this last Thursday.  His vocals were superb.  I feel like a protective mom when it comes to Adam.  I am a 50 years old women, my 21 year old daughter has moved out of the house, to experience how hard it is to be a young lady and on her own, and I feel like it is a mission  of mine to do everything possible to help this creative young man suceed in his career.  Adam Lambert is a very inspirational and creative.  Thank you Grace Duffy for your in depth article on “Trespassing” you broke down each song and gave your readers your interpretation and review.  Thank you Grace

  • Lambertslabelle

    THANK you!!!! I have nothing to add but for me its a TEN…;)