Adam Lambert on the Making of “Trespassing” and the Importance of a Good Cry
We’re one day closer, Glamberts. After nearly three years and more delays than we would have liked, Adam Lambert’s sophomore album, Trespassing, will be released on May 15. Taking control of a majority of the writing duties, Lambert collaborated with some of pop’s biggest names (Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Dr. Luke, Bonnie McKee) to capture a sound that works well with his newfound funkier sensibility. Popdust caught up with The Glam One, who spoke about the recording process, the perfect activities to accompany his new tracks (hint: crying and partying both make the cut) and which songs we need to request at our local karaoke bar ASAP. Y’know, all the important stuff.
POPDUST: Complete this sentence: Listening to my new album will make people feel ___:
ADAM LAMBERT: Well, depending on what part of the album they’re listening to, it will either make them feel fierce and liberated, or kind of sad—in a cathartic, commiserating way.
What’s the meaning behind the album title?
“Trespassing” is one of the tracks that I co-wrote with Pharrell Williams, and after we finished it I realized it was basically a mission statement for what I’m about right now, as an artist, a musician and a person. It’s about breaking down barriers and rebelliously marching forward.
What activity should people engage in while listening to Trespassing?
The first half of the album is pretty up-beat and dance-oriented so I picture people out at parties, or maybe on the treadmill or driving. The second half of the album gets much darker and more emotional, so I can see people sitting quietly and thinking to it.
Who were you listening to while making the record?
I’m always listening to what’s current—Top 40 for the most part. One of the things we explored on this album was a funkier sensibility. I was really diving into Prince and Rufus and Michael Jackson, some of his earlier stuff, and then [into] kind of a ’90s world [with] George Michael and later Michael Jackson. There’s a little Nine Inch Nails energy in there, too.
How many times have you listened to your own album?
You don’t want to know. You don’t want to know. [Laughs] When I get involved in the project, I’m in and down the rabbit hole. I’ve been quite obsessed.
Are there any songs that your exes will think are about them?
Do you have a favorite lyric from the record?
There’s a lyric in “Underneath” that goes: “Welcome to my world of truth / I don’t want to hide anything from you.” It’s pretty straight ahead but that sums up the darker material: it’s very revealing. And then “Trespassing” has a lot of lyrics like, “Make their faces crack / There’s no turning back.” I think that’s part of that mission statement; I’m hear to open your mind and open your eyes.
How much of the album is auto-tuned?
I only use it here and there to enhance. I definitely don’t use it as much as some people.
Do you have a favorite button on the mixing board?
I don’t know what the buttons do! [Laughs] But I like delay on my vocals, I like when vocals are echoey.
What song from the album should we use as our go-to karaoke song?
I think “Never Close Our Eyes” is going to be a great karaoke song. That’s karaoke gold right there.
Do you have a favorite karaoke song?
When I used to go to karaoke I used to sing “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus. I used to love singing that song. The other one I would do is “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. And “Open Arms” by Journey, of course.
While you were recording, how many times did you hear people mention Adele?
When I was working on this album she was tearing up the charts and it was kind of like, “Well, that’s the exception to the rule.” [But] there is no rule, and she taught everybody that. People in the industry always want to predict the trends, predict what’s going to work or not work, and tell you what you have to do. She relied on a great song and a great voice, so there you go.
Is there a “Someone Like You” among the tracks?
There’s probably something on there for a good cry. “Underneath” has pretty powerful lyrics, and “Outlaws of Love” as well.
So you’re in favor of a good cry?
Yeah, I love a good cry.
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