May 2010

Adam Lambert: Is the new King here?
By Lauri Rubina

Adam Lambert is unbelievably talented. He can sing like a God, he moves on stage like a panther, he dances like a cabaret showman, he has the American charisma of legends and to top it all off he is tall, dark and handsome. Since Elvis Presley, very few have come so close to pop culture perfection… and weirdly, Adam and Elvis do also look a lot alike.

So, why last night's show at the club HEAVEN was so bland? On the way home I was still reeling on the excitement of having just seen Adam up close but now, after a night's sleep and back to my senses I feel a tiny bit cheated. You could blame the somewhat unlikely absolute lack of atmosphere of the venue which was filled with a very strange bunch of people combining an array of untrendy couch potatoes, over-weight and/or over-heated females and the obligatory gay followers, all feeling lucky to have won their tickets to the gig since the only way to get in was to enter a competition by pre-ordering the album.

You could go as far as to blame Adam for turning up later than announced and playing a set that had no nuances, no highs nor lows, too few songs… a Euro-dance track marathon with heavy metal nods that could be and is appreciated mainly in Germany where he's got the number one single "What Do You Want From Me".

This is all very worrying because I have not changed my mind about Adam Lambert at all, the guy is a genius. But where is the magic? Seeing him on American Idol, ripping the hell out of Johnny Cash' "Ring of Fire" was indeed the kind of treat I was after. He can be bold, he's definitely brave! I mean, how many young homosexuals dare to take on a country music anthem, with all the political and social meaning that it may have, and turn it into a Nine Inch Nail stroke Middle-eastern influenced version of itself in no less than one of the most watched shows across America while swaying his hips in the tightest of trousers? Should I also mention that this was a singing competition that he was intending to win? I think of his take on Tears for Fears' "Mad World" and Smokey Robinson's "The Track of My Tears" and I repeat to myself: I do like him.

I have fought with this concept all day but I think the world is just not ready for Adam Lambert. This has to be the reason why such a gifted artist is producing songs of the same poor quality as Rihanna's or Lady Gaga's… both undeniable pop phenomena indeed but, their artistry register is minus a hundred. Adam Lambert can do better and much, much more. I almost want him to do badly with this plastic record that producers have allowed to happen so he can sit back and really take the time to come up with a memorable album that surpasses the gay clichés and the quick fix pop songs.

I wholeheartedly believe that he was right last night when he said to the audience that "no matter what colour you are, who you are fucking, how old you are, we can all have fun together". I cheer to that; I believe it and I want it. Please Adam, make us want to listen to music again!

On another note and continuing with the things that are getting under my skin I would like to talk about M.I.A.'s new video for her song "Born Free". There has been an overwhelming amount of debate as whether the Romain Gavras piece does manage to convey a message about ethnic cleansing or it gets lost in a too gory storyline. My point however is about something else: censorship. The clip came out on Monday 26th of April and was hosted by YouTube. On Tuesday, said company responded to a number of complaints by applying an age restriction which on Wednesday was push into a total ban. Now, this is what bugs me: I know that the subject matter is hard to palate and the presentation is highly questionable but, why is it that people are so sensitive to this political statement but quite happy to give carte blanche to Rihanna singing "Come on rude boy, boy. Can you get it up? Come here rude boy, boy. Is you big enough?" while shaking every body part that would respond to gravity? I am no prude but am I the only one that sees how shallow and degrading to both sexes this message is? I watched the "Born Free" video and I found it very upsetting but it left me thinking… thinking, Rihanna, thinking.

Now, to bring pop music back from all my ranting I would like to invite you all to visit and check out the sneak preview of "Invisible Light", a very promising sample of Scissor Sister's upcoming album "Night Work", out 28th of June. The first single will be "Fire with Fire" and is available on the 20th of the same month. I personally cannot wait and I'm dancing in anticipation.

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