Adam Lambert exuberates confidence and the smooth sound of funk in his latest release Velvet. In the build-up to the official album drop, the musician gave his following a glimpse with the short EP that saw him busk in the light of glam rock. The multi-dimensional personality mixes with an unheard of octave range, showing just the kind of control the musician has over his creation. Written with Tommy English and Butch Walker, Velvet is a 13-track extravaganza of all-welcome anthems.
The musician makes sure to reel the listener in smoothly with “Velvet”, the song that sets the tone for the album, as Lambert simply explains: “I’ve been feelin’ nostalgic, I know that I’m not the only one. I think it’s time for a throwback”. “That feeling tonight” is transmitted with catchy lyrics and the upbeat nature of modern production. It seems like Adam Lambert figured out the perfect structure to his song, as he hits us with the heavy funk during the chorus of “Superpower”. Not only that, but the sass and confident attitude radiates through any speaker, as the song is packed with energy. Whether it’s his superpower or not, Lambert puts his vocal range on full display while performing the new power anthem. Full of texture, the release carries a touch of pop with songs like ‘Stranger You Are’, but the thing is, lyrically the track is fun and filled with acceptance making a must-listen composition.
The butter melting vocals ignite during ‘”Roses”. With a touch of electronics, it carries a Daft Punkish tone as Nile Rodgers takes charge of the guitar. Lambert appears to have found his sound and it’s one that gets everyone moving. Carrying a range of vocal and instrumental development, Velvet is filled with tracks that stand out individually. He also probably made singers like Taylor Swift jealous with “Closer to You,” a touching piano ballad that still makes sure one can appreciate the musician’s full spectrum of abilities. The sonic shift takes charge 2 minutes into the song grabbing the audiences’ undivided attention with each word sinking deeper and deeper into the mind.
Halfway through the album, the power drifts towards a smoother and sexier sound with “Overglow” and “Comin’ in Hot”. The prior, written with MNEK, does have a chorus with the potential to be a Eurovision hit, but the rhythmic variation of the layered arrangements carries a day to night kind of feel. There is also a hint of R&B in “Coming In Hot” which is surprising for the occasional Queen frontman. The song is repetitive in every sense of the word, getting lost among the more upbeat and heavier numbers. At one point the sounds start to remind of other musicians out there, just like “Love Don’t” with the chorus being straight from the playbook of Major Lazer. And even with all the similarities, the vocals make it very much an Adam Lambert percussion-heavy song.
The challenge of Velvet is in the mass of energy it releases within the first few songs that the rest are simply unable to match. Not to say that this album isn’t filled with stunning sounds that linger in the mind long after listening, the tracks are in fact very refreshing and fun. “Ready To Run”, with its abrupt beat and simple guitar, delivers a shock wave of modern soft rock with Lambert’s falsetto. Lyrically filled with emotion, the instruments perform for the sole purpose of transmitting that electrifying feeling. The second half of the album holds a more sensual and relaxed tone, especially during “New Eyes”, a Kaleo-esque composition. Everything about this composition is captivating, from the guitar to the eyes that are “virgin like blue skies”, sung in a soft almost whisper-like key. The album ends on an angelically delicate note of “Feel Something,” a very touching song about the craving for connection, that feels like the perfect way to wrap up the album with a moment of compassion.
From the very start of Velvet Lambert made is clear that this album is him through and through. Even if there are similarities with other musicians, the voice together with energy and attitude radiates to new heights, something not many musicians out there can accomplish. Just like the album’s hot topic of individuality, the compositions within it have something for everyone. There is a sense of nostalgia during the funk-heavy songs, at the same time a touch pop can be heard, while also giving a number of stunning love tracks. It is almost as if Velvet is assembled from a series of chapters, starting with acceptance, followed by a more sexual tone, and closes with the part about one’s need to feel.