Adam Lambert: Better Than I Know Myself (Single Review)

by Sam Lansky

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)

  • Marie from Florida

    Adam was blessed with a voice of an angel and I’m thankful that he is sharing it with the world.  I hope radio plays the heck out of this record and Adam gets the praise he deserves.  Thank you for the great review.

  • Anonymous

    Whaddya want from him? ;)

    Delighted to read this review. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    His voice and vocal give me cold chills. My goodness, I am lov’in this snippet, not to mention when I hear the whole song. Sam, you are heck of a writer. Thanks so much for the great review. Bravo!!!

  • Jasmine

    Love Adam and his new single.  Thanks for such a great article! I will always be a fan of his.

  • http://twitter.com/canadaluvsadam Debbie

    Thanks for a great review…This little snippet is a tease for us all…Adam has once again reached deep into our heart & soul…BTIKM is sure to be a perfect golden gem…The diamond among the rocks…Adam’s time has arrived…His place in the music industry will be cemented

  • Anonymous

    I’m just about hyperventilating here! It sounds AMAZING! (but then, did we really expect anything else than amazing from our boy?) Hope this will mean the UK FINALLY wakes up to what it’s been missing and stops trying to bombard us with rubbish artists.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the wonderful review of Adam’s BTIKM.  Waiting for the next 5 days to pass is going to be so difficult but the snippet is going to have to do for now.  Adam is a master vocalist and is, IMO, a messiah for change in the autotuned world of pop singers who truly have no singing talent and produce music that all sounds identical.  Adam with his soaring voice and creativity will dominate pop music for a long long time. A special treat was hearing the stunning, haunting “Outlaws of Love” in Ste. Agathe also to be on his new album “Trespassing”.  Can’t get enough of this beautiful man’s voice and talent.  2012 is the year of Adam Lambert and 2011 wasn’t bad either!  Thanks again.

  • Tymbrn

    WOW, Sam. Thank you for an EXCELLENT review. I am falling of the edge here. Next Tuesday can’t come sooner. I can’t wait to hear the whole song, the whole album. I’m so glad that the everyone how talented Adam Lambert is. Thank you for your support. What a great review! Next year, 2012 will be the year of Adam Lambert. Such a wonderful man. I hope you get a chance to interview him ( and make sure you take me with you).

  • Nicholasstavrogin

    If it’s so flaw-free, why are you saying the snippet doesn’t do it justice?  Claude Kelly said we would not recognize the song from his demo, yet it sounds exactly the same so forgive me if I don’t exactly trust people who hype this now.  Radio will never play this, it’s too boring.  That should be realized and hopefully done something about before the ship goes down.

  • Anonymous

    First of all thank you so much for your wonderful review.  Just hearing the snippet was amazing and to think that next Tuesday when we get to hear the whole song we are going to be blown away even more makes the waiting even harder.  I want the whole universe to be blown away by it.  I have always wanted Adam to be recognized for the brilliant artist he is and I truly believe 2012 will be a “Time for Miracles”.

  • http://twitter.com/texasglamfan Texas Glam Fan

    Enjoyed your detailed descriptions, and review of the song. Here’s hoping that Adam has a radio hit with this one right out the box.

  • RockerGirl

    I LOVE the way you described the single and further builds my anticipation for hearing the entire song! Thanks!!!

  • Anonymous

    Hope this enables Adam to achieve the stardom he so evidently deserves.  Thanks.

  • Starhart11

    Wheee!  Thanks for your loving review.  I actually love the snippet way, way more than I expected so I am excited to hear the even-better full version.

  • Dorothy Gordon

    Vocals like Adam Lambert’s come once in a lifetime & aren’t we the lucky ones to be able to witness his awesome music! BTIKM and Trespassing should catapult Adam into the realms of mega-stardom once & for all, which is where he belongs! the single and Trespassing will showcase why Adam has the best vocals in the business now and maybe the greatest ever!

  • NeverEnuf

    Thank you. 

  • http://twitter.com/JuneauXena Juneau Underwood

    Thanks for this incredible review. Tuesday can’t come soon enough…

  • Kmmorgan

    I love the snippet….Hopefully radio dj’s will get over their homophobia…which everyone has to remember…they choose to play songs….not us…I requested Adam a couple of times last year…and got very snarky comments…Sad because his voice and performance quality is simply stunning…So people request the hell out of him…Maybe now he will get the attention and awards he deserves in his home country…He should have won the Grammy last year over convicted drug user Mars.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graça-Vilar/100001721890311 Graça Vilar

    That’s so perfect!!! #adamisthebest !!!

  • Anonymous

    EXCELLENT Review I can’t say enough how this song affects me. Adam Claude and Dr. Luke created a masterpiece of music that will leave a mark on the Pop Music genre and could definitely end up receiving a Grammy nomination.  

  • http://twitter.com/Zenber1 Zenber1

    Adam is such an amazing artist.  This song will definitely be a smash hit!!  I truly cannot wait for Adam’s new album (3/20) and if his past album is any indication, it will have enough variety on it to thrill any heart and capture any mood.  Adam is simply one of the most talented vocal artists out there!!

  • Behrang

    For me he has best male voice right now

  • Anonymous

    Another excellent review and brilliantly written. This song is just too good not to be #1 on the charts and radio friendly is an understatement. It’s going to blow up radio.

  • Lulu

    finally, someone have written nice things about adam without mentioning his sexuality.  thank you sir!

  • Pingback: Adam Lambert’s New Single ‘Better Than I Know Myself’ now Available iTunes! « Randomize ME()

  • Lobster0

    Adam Lambert we are ready for you to skyrocket to th
    e top!

  • Guesst

    It’s only “really, really good” (not great) when seen in the context of today’s overprocessed pop.  It lacks the kind of musicianship his A-list voice deserves.  This man should be making the kind of albums that can stack up along with previous generations greats, which this cannot.  His previous album, not considering the singles but songs like “Sleepwalker” and “Pick U Up,” had a unique artistic signature.  This is like his version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” pop/rock with some generic electronic elements to be on trend.  I love Adam, and want so much more for him. 

  • Anonymous

    Thankyou Sam for your insightful, positive words regarding Adam Lambert’s new single, Better Than I Know Myself. Now that it’s been released, it’s surpassed what I had hoped it would be. Anyone can relate to the lyrics that are so honest and connecting so many.Adam’s voice soars and the layering of his backup tracks are impeccable. Love the beat. If this song doesn’t take over the airways I will be amazed. There just isn’t a male pop artist that has his capabilities and diversity. Adam can sing rock, opera, blues, anything that’s thrown at him with authenticity. Adam Lambert is the real deal and his time has come! 

  • Tcmartin1999

    great song for adam lambert a fantastic addition to his album