March 26, 2009

Adam Lambert sings "The Tracks of My Tears."

Discuss: the Elvisification, the falsetto...

ADDED: I love Smokey at 0:38 going "America! Look at my face!"

39 comments:

Donn said...

As much as I hated Adam's "Ring of Fire," I'll have to admit that he nailed "The Tracks of My Tears!"

Great job!!

American Liberal Elite said...

More like the Chris Isaakification. I may be the only person on the planet to think so, but I preferred Ring of Fire to Tracks of My Tears.

BTW, why don't we just crown the winner and move on?

Conservative Black Woman said...

OMG, he is incredible and he looks so good as a man!

MadisonMan said...

Far far better than last week's abomination. But my favorite was Allison. partly because I liked her song better, partly because I like her voice better.

Curtiss said...

People say I'm the life of the party...

But if you look closer you'll see two thumbs down.

rhhardin said...

A renewed interest in countertenors would be nice.

I always liked Alfred Deller as a kid.

Palladian said...

rhhardin, I love you for mentioning Deller. This kid won't impress me until he sings "Ah! Stigie larve" or "Eternal Source of Light Divine".

He could be the new Senesino!

Lem said...

At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I’ll venture that the Elvification, the falsetto of many men singers has driven the women singers to sing like Natalie Merchant, Paula Cole, Bjork, Kate Bush, the Cranberries, Garbage, Shakira, and Alanis Morrisete... you know to sound off key. I’m sure I’m leaving some out.

BTW Tory Amos takes the cake.

Meade said...

"...pull[ed] it down and straighten[ed] it up..."

Nice.

BTW With Lem on Tori Amos

Tim Windsor said...

I think there was more than a heaping helping of John Waters' Cry Baby in that incarnation as well. Stylistically appropriate for the lyrics as well.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Stunning, as usual. My recap is here.

mcg said...

Not an American Idol fan, but the idea of seeing Tracks of my Tears done well intrigued me enough to click through. Great stuff!

MadisonMan said...

By the way, Kris Allen? That shadow of a mustache made me laugh. It looks ridiculous.

Adam's performance was really really nice last night. I'll even put him at #1 (isn't that nice of me?) But HD TV is not his friend.

Palladian said...

"But HD TV is not his friend."

Meow!

DADvocate said...

Sorry. Does nothing for me. I'm a great Smokey Robinson fan and Adam isn't close. Not enough life and emotion.

EDH said...

Did the new judge say six words: "one of the best performances of the night"?

Anyway, listen carefully to Smokey, who I think was being polite. Smokey's original rendition and others (even if they don't pull it off as well), have emotional peaks and troughs because its supposed to be a song by a heart-sick person singing to the object of his affection and disappointment.

Adam hit all the notes, but as Smokey politely noted, Adam's was "tender, sweet, and soft" all the way through, without the "crescendos," etc.

(Certainly, those inflections are equally rocky shoals that can be the death of a soloist, but hey, this is supposed to be the big leagues, right?)

So, Adam wasn't delivering a song from the heart to his unrequited love. He served up a safe, flat, continuous stream of vanilla soft serve in a sugar cone to a group of judges.

He deserves a paper hat, not a recording contract!

(Okay, I'm exaggerating for comedic effect there.)

peter hoh said...

It appears that Lambert has the teen heartthrob vote wrapped up. The daughter was not watching last night, however, so I am missing a key data point.

For my money, Lil Rounds hit it out of the park. Allison was also impressed me.

mcg said...

I do see your point, EDH, but I'm not sure Smokey was being that backhanded. He could simply be noting that Adam was bring a different emotional "tuning" to the song.

Ann Althouse said...

Smokey had to have been seeing dollar signs too.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Excellent rendition. Unlike the last one, Ring of Fire, Adam seemed to be actually interested in what the song, Tracks of My Tears, was actually about. It was obvious that he hated the Country venue and had disdain for the song he was "forced" to sing.

Instead of torturing and creating an abortion of the song like he did in the previous entry, he got into the heart of this one and did make it his own rendition.

He also didn't scream and yell. This highlighted the talent that he has in the higher registers.

It would be interesting to see if he has a wider vocal range: because an entire album of songs in JUST the upper end of his scale and in falsetto would be very wearing on the ear. He might try to stretch his range on the next entry.

His new look was pretty good. I agree....Chris Isaak

PJ said...

Now THAT was impressive.

I agree with mcg -- I didn't think that was backhanded criticism from Smokey at all, and I think that was confirmed by the shot of Smokey standing and applauding after the performance. (And BTW, wasn't that some sweet guitar work, too?)

Thank you, Adam Lambert.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I agree with MM. Adam was good last night but Allison really rolled my socks down.

SteveR said...

While I admit that Adam is at least entertaining, I really only look forward to Allison.

mcg said...

OK, I just saw Allison too. She's great too!

PatCA said...

Well done, Adam, from your severest critic. Excellent.

I finally figured out what creeps me out about his 80s persona. He is supposed to be a indie rebel, yet every detail is perfected with microprecision, from the haircut angles to the jewelry.

But still, best, most exciting prospect, ALLISON!

Jennifer said...

I thought his vocals were beautiful, but I was bummed he went for the cleaned-up-for-suburban-moms look. If he wanted to Elvisify his hair, whatever. But, that suit was boring.

John K. said...

I thought his Ring of Fire was awesome (and rewatched it several times last time on the internet), as was his interpretation of Tracks of My Tears. But are y'all aware of just how gay and queeny this guy is? There's pics of him on the internet kissing a dude, as well as video of him singing queened up and gyrating with male dancers on stage. He's really toned things down for his American Idol persona.

Still, I'm a big fan. He's another Freddy Mercury.

Joan said...

I wasn't going to comment until I hit this: Still, I'm a big fan. He's another Freddy Mercury.

No! Freddy Mercury's voice had power, along with range and heart. I liked Adam's "Tracks of My Tears" better than "Ring of Fire," but his voice is quite thin and reedy IMO. There's no power there. On the crescendos in RoF, he was shouty. He managed to avoid sounding like he was shouting in ToMT by keeping it all subdued. It was pretty and on-key and heartfelt, but there wasn't any power in it. Comparing him to Freddy Mercury is just wrong, IMO.

traditionalguy said...

Could he be the next anointed Democrat? He has all the skills that Pres. Obama has except for Obama's Saul Alinski indoctrination. He can sing too.

MadisonMan said...

But are y'all aware of just how gay and queeny this guy is? There's pics of him on the internet kissing a dude, as well as video of him singing queened up and gyrating with male dancers on stage.

So?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

But are y'all aware of just how gay and queeny this guy is? There's pics of him on the internet kissing a dude, as well as video of him singing queened up and gyrating with male dancers on stage.

And your point is?

mcg said...

Oh, it doesn't matter, of course. But Peter Hoh did refer to the "teen heartthrob" thing, and by his context made it clear he was talking about teen girls. Wouldn't be the first inaccessible teen heartthrob though.

mcg said...

Oh jeez, just saw Ring of Fire. Dreadful.

Chip Ahoy said...

I totally get what Smoky Robinson says about liking what other people do with his songs. I related in a personal way.

‹anecdote alert›

One day at the FRB a woman asked me to draw Easter-related pictures for an upcoming party for the employees' club. They wanted to do a coloring contest for the children of employees. Just the sort of thing I did not like being asked to do since it interfered with my work. So I said, "Sure. You guys do the work on my desk and I'll draw the pictures." My department agreed and I sat down and drew my little heart out. I drew four sets of five pictures each, ranging in complexity and incorporating all the iconography known to Easter that I could conjure. Bankers are not generally known for their artistic skills. Anything I did impressed them. They were all well pleased.

While concentrating on drawing I was transported. I recalled being four or five years old and sprawled on the floor with a coloring book and a box of crayons. I asked my mother where did these pictures I was coloring come from? She answered the five and dime. I asked, "No, before that. Who made these pictures?" Mum answered, "Some artist." I go, "How does the artist know where to draw the lines?" Mum goes, "It just comes out of there head. That's what makes them artists. Keep coloring. Maybe you can be an artist some day." I thought. "Brilliant!" I recall being completely awestruck. Snapping back, I felt something a full-circle moment had just been completed. That was that

Months elapsed. I dismissed the whole Easter thing. My boss gave me the "come here" finger motion. I think, "Oh shit. What did I do this time?" She goes, "Follow me." So I did, to another floor where a large room was being remodeled, a whole department actually, so the entire space had been cleared. Covering the walls from floor to ceiling like wallpaper were all the pages I had drawn months earlier and photocopied into hundreds, arranged by age group, and brightly colored to varying degrees of skill. I was stunned, first by how many children the employees had, and by what they had done with my plain line drawings, elaborating on them not just with crayons but with color markers, glitter, etc. It blew me away. My boss was beaming.

‹/anecdote alert›

I think Smoky Robinson is blown away by what this young talent has done with his song. I honestly don't think he's thinking about money at all but rather his legacy with a new life of its own. That must please him immeasurably, speechless.

I like both the Adam Lambert song renditions you linked to here. They strike me as what AI is all about, to ferret out real music idols. Lambert fits that description. His is the sort of talent that would come bursting up through the floorboards with or without AI.

BJM said...

Having seen Isaak in performance many times over the years in all kinds of venues; I'd have to say that the comparison is one of presentation, not voice.

I thought Lambert's falsetto a little thin and brittle, still, a fearless performance.

Lil Rounds was rushing the beat and ran out of air. I was surprised as this song should have been easy peasy for her.

Anoop's "Oh Baby, Baby" was well done, but we've heard it before. I thought Allison's arrangement and delivery was rather annoying.

Again, Lambert was the only one who pulled off a new cover and that was the point.

It was Rounds to lose, unfortunately she didn't deliver, now the pressure is on Lambert. Will he and his falsetto crack?

Lambert's years of live performances suggest not, but his taste level could be his undoing.

mrs whatsit said...

Dammit, Blogger ate my comment. I really hope it doesn't show up here later in addition to this one.

First, Chip, I really love your bunny-pictures story.

Second, Adam. I was one of those who jumped all over him last week for ruining "Ring of Fire". I said he has an amazing voice but that I was waiting for him to sing a song from the inside, as if he understood it. Well, now he's done it, and I'm sold. That performance was absolutely gorgeous. Original, touching, beautiful -- and all he did was sing the song. Sometimes that is really all you need to do, at least when you've got a voice like that.

I disagree with whoever said his falsetto is thin. It did wobble a bit here and there. But remember, these aren't studio performances we are listening to on AI: they are live performances sung on a big stage with an unfamiliar band to a huge studio audience by relatively inexperienced performers. Had the song been recorded, it would have been re-sung and re-worked as necessary until every note was perfect, but that's not live singing. I actually liked the imperfections here and there -- they humanized his singing. And with a voice that can do what his can, a person can afford a little wobble or two here and there -- he's still outsinging the hell out of the rest of the competition. Consider that last long-drawn-out falsetto note, in which he started small and gradually grew it bigger without a squeak or a screech or a wobble. Could you do that? I could not do that. It was beautiful. (Yes, I listened to it again this morning on You-Tube. Maybe I listened to it twice. So sue me.)

I do have a question for Zachary. Last week he said that anybody who didn't like Adam was anti-gay. If, last week, I didn't like Adam, but this week I think he is far and away the best singer in the competition, and presumably Adam has remained gay the whole time, what does that make me now?

As for Allison, she is a powerhouse, nearly unbelievable in a little person barely out of girlhood. I do wish, though, that she would sing a song that I like. My complaint about Adam last week had such immediate and satisfactory results that this week I am wondering, maybe I should send Allison a list?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I do have a question for Zachary. Last week he said that anybody who didn't like Adam was anti-gay. If, last week, I didn't like Adam, but this week I think he is far and away the best singer in the competition, and presumably Adam has remained gay the whole time, what does that make me now?

It means that our plan worked! We converted you and you are now a homosexual.

Actually, if I said 'anybody who doesn't like Adam is anti-gay' and you now like him, it just means I wasn't talking about you, specifically!

mrs whatsit said...

Hmmmmm . . . it's a nefarious plan, I must say. My husband will be surprised.