Adam Lambert

Velvet: Side A

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The first half of a planned full album, 2019's Velvet: Side A finds former American Idol runner-up and current Queen frontman Adam Lambert embracing his '70s funk, disco, and glitter-rock influences with believable pomp and swagger. The six-track EP comes four years after Lambert's third studio album, The Original High, and features co-songwriting and production by a handful of savvy pop wizards including Tommy English, Butch Walker, Fred Ball, and others. Knowingly retro yet still modern, the songs on Velvet: Side A make the most of Lambert's persona as a modern-day glitter-pop icon. The opening "Superpower" is a slinky, bass-heavy anthem that wouldn't sound out of place on a Jamiroquai album. Similarly, "Overglow" borrows the sleek, descending synth hook from Hall & Oates' "Maneater" and marries it to an icy, neon-toned rhythm. Equally evocative, the piano-driven "Closer to You" brings to mind both Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie and classic Freddie Mercury power balladry as Lambert moves from a breathy mid-range croon to a throaty falsetto with ease. Rounding out the EP is funked-out '80s cowbell groover "Loverboy" and the theatrical "Ready to Run," which sounds like a Sam Smith song with 100 percent more stink-face guitar, a combination that works perfectly with Lambert's winking sense of rock opera drama. What's particularly nice about Velvet: Side A is how it draws upon all of the vintage, vinyl-age aesthetics that have long informed Lambert's sound without coming off as pastiche. These are sleek songs that give you what you paid for: Lambert's powerful vocals and equally powerful personality.

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