Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Adam Lambert shows us the anatomy of a cover on High Drama

"High Drama"

Release date: 24 February 2023
Adam Lambert High Drama Album Artwork
24 February 2023, 16:15 Written by René Cobar

If ever there was a sonic surgeon you'd want holding a scalpel to your favourite song, it would be Adam Lambert: he knows where to cut to let his seductive style seep deep.

The properly established American Idol alumnus – and Queen showstopper – does it with flair in High Drama, an album of cover songs that strikes a delicate balance between the familiar and the truly novel. That balance is the anatomy of a cover song: a stylised production that borrows from an artist the vitals and encases them in a fleshier, fresher sound. Lambert is no stranger to this interpretative body of work and shows it from the onset of the record. Tracks like "Holding Out For A Hero," the Bonnie Tyler '80s classic, and Sia's hit "Chandelier" ooze Lambert's rocket-high falsettos and thunderous instrumentation.

The all-fabulous star takes the liberties he should, like when inserting mind-hijacking dance beats to songs such as "Sex On Fire." Other times, he remains more conservative and true-to-source, as with P!nk's "My Attic." The former trumps the latter since it is the Lambert one is after when purchasing a Lambert record – so excuse him when it's overdone.

In "Getting Older," Lambert shows how a composition, even as recently as one by Billie Eilish, can be given a new emotional avenue to explore by a tempo change – a reframed chorus or simply, in this case, the age of the person singing it. The result of High Drama is that no song is by mistake there, and no drum fill, guitar solo, or throbbing bass lacks curation for a new sonic personality of a classic.

That's the expert at work, an experienced musician as Lambert is working with top producers such as Tommy English (Kacey Musgraves, Carly Rae Jepsen), Andrew Wells (Halsey, OneRepublic), and more to create a record that is beyond a covers album: it is an experienced display of composition, and how to reframe music to new audiences.

In the last act of High Drama the artists are fully connected in song, evident in "Mad About The Boy." The actor and playwright Noël Coward wrote the song some 90 years ago about unrequited gay love and the conventions of his time. As Lambert sings, "History, it pains me, and it chains me / 'Cause I'm mad about the boy," champions of freedom and acceptance become one, timeless – the best thing about good covers.

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