December 15, 2011
Adam Lambert: Better Than I Know Myself (Single Review)
Get ready, y’all, because the evolution of Adam Lambert has just begun.
See, I’ve had a chance to listen to the new Adam Lambert single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” — in full. Great news — it’s really, really good.
First off, I should say that the snippet, which was released today, doesn’t really do the song justice. You can hear that the chorus sees Adam reaching into the higher part of his register, with booming, “Halo”-like drums and a skittering backbeat. But part of what makes the song magical is the way it builds from the opening of whining synths and a nicely percussive backing track, then builds instrumentally into the chorus. Dr. Luke‘s signature style as a producer is the juxtaposition of relatively subdued verses and a huge, explosive chorus, and “Better Than I Know Myself” does that magnificently.
The added talents of Claude Kelly, too, who remains one of the finest songwriters currently in the game, augment the song’s impact, since Claude has a way of cutting to the core of an emotional conflict with quick, elegant images. “Cold as ice, and more bitter than a December winter night/That’s how I treated you,” Adam sings in the opening lyrics, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it simile that speaks volumes.
The most emotionally potent moment is the bridge, where the richer synths yield to a tinkling piano and the lyrics turn unexpectedly vulnerable: “I get kinda dark/Let it go too far/I can be obnoxious at times/But try and see my heart.” It’s a lovely turn, with a candor that’s refreshing to hear in pop music, and it makes the song truly memorable.
In my piece last week for MTV Buzzworthy, I wrote that “My sources tell me that ‘Better Than I Know Myself’ is a piece of flaw-free radio candy, a stunning midtempo track with a powerhouse chorus that’s like a pumped-up ‘Whataya Want From Me,’ and it should cement Adam’s place in the pop A-list.” I’m sticking by this, especially the latter statement. “Better Than I Know Myself” is more radio-ready as anything on his last album, and I would be stunned if it didn’t perform excellently on the charts, and catapult Adam way further into the realm of superstardom than he’s ever been before.
“Better Than I Know Myself” is the lead single off of Adam’s upcoming album, Trespassing. (iTunes)