Anyone who has ever seen Adam Lambert perform knows that he carries within him an unquenchable thirst to sing better, to live better, to love better, to be better. “It’s this hunger,” he says. “You can’t sum it up too easily because it runs deep, and certain things quell it for a minute, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m satisfied.’ Then you realize, ‘No, I’m not.’ Everybody’s chasing something.”
On The Original High, Lambert’s third studio album, the international superstar keenly captures the piercing longing of trying to recapture the exquisite rush that comes with any first—from first kiss to first hit—followed by the inevitable dashed expectations.
The hypnotic, pulsating title track dares to question what’s behind the sense of melancholy that dusts over people as they struggle with the discontent that comes with their dreams not coming true— or coming true and then seeming hollow. The set adventurously balances dark and light themes and sonically pushes pop boundaries with its experimental beats and quirky rhythms.
The Original High is Lambert’s first for Warner Bros. Records. Eager to snap him up, the label contacted Lambert the day after he announced his departure from RCA Records, home to his first two albums. No wonder they were so interested: the multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter’s work has garnered such accolades as a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, a BMI Award for Award-Winning Song, two GLAAD Awards, a Young Hollywood Award for Artist of the Year, a Teen Choice Award for Choice Male Reality/Variety Star, and a People’s Choice Award nomination for Breakout Musical Artist.
For The Original High, Lambert turns up the vulnerability and tones down the vocal acrobatics. His soaring range and powerful vocal strength remain, but he purposefully dials back some of the pageantry, and, in doing so, creates an enthralling intimacy with the listener.
Nowhere is that more evident than on first single, “Ghost Town.” The haunting track about heartache and loss of faith starts with a lone acoustic guitar before exploding into an irresistible whistle-laden dance track.
In the past, Lambert was content to hide behind his often over-the-top glam persona, but on The Original High, he has no use for artifice as he steps confidently and boldly back into the spotlight.
Aiding him on the journey are Max Martin and Shellback, with whom Lambert had worked on his first album. After hearing the title track and other demos that Lambert wrote in Los Angeles, they were so excited about the direction in which the he was moving that they wanted to oversee the creation of the full album and signed on as executive producers.
Their commitment provided Lambert with a dream situation: a powerhouse team behind him to guide the process with consistency and creativity.
Lambert relocated to Martin’s Swedish base for two months, working with the legendary producer’s team of songwriters, the Wolf Cousins. They provided a safe haven for Lambert to experiment and dream, surrounding him with like-minded songwriters, musicians and producers, all wanting to go on his musical journey with him.
Among the writers he worked with was Swedish sensation Tove Lo (“Habits”), who duets with him on the fun, R&B-spiced “Rumors.” The pairing allowed both artists to venture into a style they aren’t normally associated with for, exhilarating results.
A San Diego, California native, Lambert stepped into the national spotlight in 2009 when he became a finalist on the eighth season of American Idol. His vocal range, along with his unique style, made him a standout contestant and he quickly won over millions of viewers. After the season wrapped, Lambert released his successful RCA Records debut, For Your Entertainment, which has sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide and featured the Grammy-nominated radio smash,”Whataya Want From Me.” In June of 2010, Lambert embarked on his first headlining tour playing to sold out crowds in the US, Europe and Asia.
Lambert released his sophomore album, “Trespassing,” in 2012. The set debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and made history as the first openly gay artist to have an album debut at No. 1.
Lambert then showed off his acting chops via a multi-episode arc on Season Five of “Glee” as NYU student Elliott Gilbert. He collaborated on superstar DJ Avicii on “Lay Me Down,” and also continued as the lead singer for Queen, playing alongside founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor and selling out venues throughout the world.
In Queen, Lambert found a great band of brothers and their relationship continues with six South American dates in September. May even contributes a blistering guitar solo on The Original High’s “Lucy” that Lambert predicts will blow people’s minds.
Chances are The Original High will blow people’s minds as well as fans discover a new depth to Lambert’s multi-facted talent. For his part, Lambert wants the album to provide solace and joy to anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. “I hope that the album can pull people together in realizing they’re not alone and in realizing that if you sing about it or talk about it or dance it out, that’s the best medicine.”