Happy Anniversary For Your Entertainment!

Happy Tenth Anniversary For Your Entertainment! It doesn’t seem like ten years have gone by which is why I’m celebrating it by re-upping what I wrote about it on its fifth anniversary in 2014. Much has happened for Adam since then, most notably his association with Queen which became a phenomenon with Queen + Adam Lambert’s highly acclaimed headlining performance at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Festival. That was the launch pad for five years of intercontinental tours culminating in opening the Oscars this year and closing the internationally televised Global Citizens Festival in September.

Regarding his solo career since FYE (which hit #3 on the charts), Adam has had a #1 album in 2012 (Trespassing) and a #3 album in 2015 (The Original High). His performance of Believe for Cher at the 41st Kennedy Center Honors had her crying and went internet-viral. And he recently dropped the seven-song EP Velvet: Side A which harkens back to FYE – and his American Idol days – by exhibiting his “deep knowledge of and appreciation for vastly different genres of music — and the ability to kill at all of them[1].”

What I felt five years ago about For Your Entertainment still rings true today. Here’s what I wrote.

fye 2Wow. Five years ago? I will never forget that day. Dashing to Best Buy to be there when the doors opened at 10:00 a.m. And finding a line of fanatics like me waiting to make a beeline to the CD section with a focused, solitary goal in mind: to get Adam Lambert’s debut album. Like me, most of the fanatics were designated buyers procuring multiple copies for family and friends. I was on orders to buy a copy for each of the three Linder Ladies.

I had already heard the entire album, oh, 4,713 times the week before its release when it was being streamed by AOL Radio.[2] As much as I knew – well, hoping if I’m being honest – it would be a good album based on his amazing Idol performances, I was NOT prepared for what I heard that first time. For Your Entertainment grabbed me like no album had ever grabbed me on the first hearing.

Adams’s force-of-nature voice was certainly on display. But it was the ease with which Adam handled the preposterous diversity of song styles that made this album so different. How many vocalists could take on songs by Justin Hawkins (The Darkness), Pink, Linda Perry, Kara DioGuardi, Matthew Bellamy (Muse), Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Lady Gaga, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)? Moreover, the 14 tracks had ten different producers bringing their own unique flavor to the tracks.

The common theme of the critics was that while Adam was certainly a talented singer, the album lacked coherence. As such, it received generally positive but not exceptional reviews.

Sorry, critics. You missed the point. If they had watched Idol each week, they would have seen him excel at a staggering range of songs: a medieval sounding Ring of Fire, a Motown ballad (Tracks of My Tears), rock (Born to Be Wild), Michael Jackson (Black or White) and the 80s (Mad World). For Your Entertainment brings that same eclecticism. The cohering quality isn’t the genre or style of songs. Adam’s voice on any song is the central theme of the album.

Around the world, listeners and buyers agreed. For Your Entertainment charted in 20 different countries and is certified Platinum or Gold in seven countries.

To this day, I love the whole album from beginning to end. But a few songs deserve special mention:

  • Time for Miracles, featured as the ending theme in the film 2012, was Adam’s first song released after Idol. About that song one listener said, “Adam’s voice reaches out with sensitivity, depth, maturity, and awesome range and power that will make jaws drop all around the world.”[3] That wasn’t me. It was Brian May of a little band I like to call Queen. But my jaw dropped when I first heard it, too – and then I called My Mom[4] and said, “You need to hear this.”
  • Radio still plays Whataya Want from Me (written by Pink). It’s a beautiful, plaintive song that stands up five years later and will in another five. It has a timeless sing-it-the-moment-you-hear-it quality.
  • If I Had You is a happy, hopeful, high-energy song that always makes me smile.

But my clear favorite is Sleepwalker by Ryan Tedder whose songwriting I adore. Adam and Ryan is my musical heavenly match. And, yes, there are witnesses who saw me openly weeping while he sang that song in concert. Even worse, one of them saw that on consecutive nights in two different cities.[5] Sleepwalker is a dark and brooding song. I like dark and brooding.

For Your Entertainment launched the recording career of Adam Lambert. Its success fulfilled Simon Cowell’s prediction on the show that the point of the Idol was to find someone who would not only be a star but an international star – and that he believed he had found that in Adam.

His next album, Trespassing, would open at #1 on Billboard and chart in 21 countries. I’ll write the 5-year anniversary blog on that in 2017. 🙂

________________________________________

[1] Wayne Parry, Associated Press

[2] Does that even exist anymore? I used to listen to EDM on it all the time.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_for_Miracles

[4] Long-time blog readers know how important My Mom was to this blog and my enjoyment of Idol, in general.

[5] Oh, you think seeing him in consecutive nights in Baltimore and D.C. is obsessive? In D.C. (9:30 Club) we met ladies from Australia who were going to all of his east coast shows! (I wanted to be them.)

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