Adam Lambert started this year off with a bang releasing VELVET: Side A (The Sessions). This EP is electric, daunting and a true stand-out when compared to other 21st-century music.
It is nearly impossible to disassociate Lambert with his rise to stardom, beginning on the American Idol stage over ten years ago. With some one-hit-wonders over the years, Lambert has been uncontroversial and a fan-favourite, but not necessarily a stand out musician skill-wise. VELVET: Side A (The Sessions) successfully managed to separate Lambert’s artistic autonomous identity from the repetitive pop machine he was born out of. This EP is an immeasurable step up in complexity and vocal ability from when the world was first introduced to Lambert.
I was skeptical about this EP being only six songs long, but Lambert made this an ode to quality over quantity. Each song is distinctly unique, making the short EP a worthwhile powerhouse. Lambert did exactly what an EP is supposed to do, he gave his audience a taste of his new, improved and refined sound. This was an exciting break-through for Lambert. VELVET: Side A (The Sessions), showcased his impressive vocals and made a statement towards his refreshed image: he is no longer a one-hit-wonder, but a seriously committed musician.
Lambert’s vocals are velvety and robust throughout the entire EP. “Superpower” showcases his vocal range and upbeat, edgy side. His voice is strong enough to match the strength of the electric guitar present in the song, creating a stunning blend of vocals and instrumental. The strong production value is a huge asset to this EP, the instrumental sounds are crisp, clean and classic, but most importantly every moving piece is precise and incredibly well done.
“Closer To You” is gorgeous in every respect, Lambert’s voice paired with slow, rhythmic piano is truly a match made in heaven. Lambert has a particular way of marrying his powerful voice with strong instrumental notes, without it sounding too overwhelming or abrasive. Paired with his vocal ability, this song demonstrates Lambert’s lyrical and performance ability. Every note is soothing, full-bodied and purposeful, making this song an exemplary hit. There is a certain sensual touch to this song as Lambert coos in perfect time with the gorgeous instrumental that plays throughout the song. “Closer To You” perfectly represents how each of Lambert’s songs have a clear beginning, middle and end, elevating this EP to a degree of sophistication and complexity that are rarely seen today.
Although VELVET: Side A (The Sessions) is short, Lambert managed to show off his diverse sound. “Lover Boy” is more experimental, it is high pitched, edgy and unapologetic. Lambert’s voice sounds incredible in this application as well, hints of a jazzy sound and an angry chorus are sure to leave audiences begging for more.
“Ready to Run” is one of the slower songs off this EP. This song has an alluring draw and strut-worthy beat. Lambert’s voice is steady and strong delivering meaningful lyrics, such as “I’m goin’ to a safer place for livin’, I’m runnin’, kickin’, never scared of screaming It’s hateful here and don’t nobody care.” This song was a personal favourite because of the balance between instrumental sounds and strong vocals. On top of the technical strengths of this song, the lyrics are well written and beautifully delivered.
“Overglow” showcases Lambert’s more experimental side. This song is airy, mysterious, but definitely a knock-out. “Loverboy” falls into the same category of experimental, both these songs are risky, but undeniably meet the production standard of the rest of the EP. Lambert displays his willingness to take risks with his voice and image, and it works incredibly well. This EP is truly a taste of Lambert at the pinnacle of his talent.
Aside from the music redefining Lambert as an artist, the album cover is a nice switch up from his traditional portraits. It is bright and psychedelic, setting it apart from any other album covers in recent memory. This further demonstrates Lambert’s commitment to whole-heartedly refreshing his image. From the sound to the EP art, Lambert was unexpected and thrilling. As a listener, I am eager to see what else Lambert has in store for his listeners. If this EP is any indication of the direction Lambert is taking his musical career in, there is plenty to look forward to. This EP was an overall knock-out that is worth the listen over and over again.