April 7, 2009

Tonight's Adam Lambert: "Mad World."

67 comments:

Revenant said...

He flubbed the lyrics to the first verse. Other than that, it was a pretty lousy interpretation of Gary Jules' cover of the song. Bad breath control, spitting into the mike a couple times, and he makes goofy pitch changes that have nothing to do with the content of the song.

For this, the guy gets a standing ovation? Who was he up against, a hobo belching his way through 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall? Suddenly I'm understanding why I've avoided the show like the plague.

Meade said...

Cool penguin on his head!

KLDAVIS said...

They do get disoriented...end up in places they shouldn't be.

David said...

Making falsetto seem even more false than ever.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Sounds like a great sound choice at first, but when you look through all the covers on YouTube, you can see he didn't do anything special. Maybe over-ornament the vocals near the end, so they are hard to understand?

And the way he sang the song has been heard so often, I think it might have been more interesting if he had sung in a New Wave style and given it back its beat.

KKetel said...

Does anyone else have a dog who shoves her head between the cushions on the couch whenever he sings? This has been a recurring event and started the night he made some unwarranted changes to the Johnny Cash song.

PatCA said...

Yeah, I thought it was just like all the other versions of the song. Or maybe it's the Cats version.

Hey, don't knock the guy belching his way trough 99 Bottles of Beer! His Mom died just before the curtain went up!

Allison, Matt, then Anoop.

mikepavon said...

Only having heard the Tears for Fears version, I thought he did a pretty damn good job with this song. He kind of messed it up at the very tail end but all in all it deserved a standing ovation! apparently, so did simon!

Chip Ahoy said...

You guys are harsh critics and I disagree with your assessments. I love the guy. I love his sound.

You keep saying falsetto, but when I think of falsetto I think of Bee Gees purposefully casting their voices to the top and back of their mouths in Saturday Night, a fine album itself, but a sound that never has strength or projects power and there's only so much of that a guy can take in one sitting. When I hear Adam Lambert I hear a strong high range alto or spinto tenor using his natural voice and using it well.

But then, I do not follow this show, nor do I have much interest in this style of music and I doubt I'll be buying any of his albums.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Looking further I find lots of people who sang the song differently than Gary Jules and still managed to do a good job. There's a great a capella version, a bunch of original sounding rock versions, a dance version...

And all Adam Lambert could do was repeat the most common cover.

Who cares about him? I'm going to iTunes and making a Mad World album!

Maxine Weiss said...

There is no such thing as date-rape, and if there is, it's because women dress so provocatively.

John K. said...

I thought the Adam Lambert rendition was an improvement on the Gary Jules' version. The tone of his voice was different, clearer and higher, and he had some innovations in there. Of course, mine is a completely amateur opinion, but I can definitely see why the crowd and Simon loved it.

Terrie said...

Until it became the Adam Lambert Show, American Idol was at best an homage to fromage. I have been waiting 8 years for a contestant with his musical sensibility and chops. I loved his audacious artistry on Ring of Fire, but his reverent reframing of the Gary Jules' version of Mad World by Tears for Fears is a close second.

Adam has exquisite control of his voice, but he did drift slightly sharp before correcting due to facial tension or inadequate breath support. It's a minor quibble considering that he was pushing his amazing upper register.

Beth said...

I don't watch this show, but I've listened to the clips Althouse has posted of this fellow.

I found this performance lacking the melancholy that I love in Gary Jules' performance of Mad World. This was too breathy, and the phrasing wasn't good. C, my partner, listened and said she heard little intimations of Jimmy Sommerville, and I agreed. That made us both want to hear what he'd do with the tune.

And we both like Adam Lambert's voice, at least in the context of what we know about AI. I wonder what it is that he does; I assume that AI doesn't really allow these singers to do their own thing, no more than Top Chef or Project Runway and so on really reveal the styles of their contestants, outside the constrictions of the week's challenges. I'd like to hear him do the music he likes to do, without the need for a little story arc in 2 minutes.

Now I'm going to listen to the soundtrack from Orlando.

John K. said...

Beth said: "I'd like to hear him do the music he likes to do...."

Okay, you asked for it:

http://www.inquisitr.com/18844/is-american-idols-adam-lambert-gay-is-there-really-any-question/

Joe M. said...

Not terrible. Could have been better. I still like his voice, but I'm also still not convinced of his musical judgment. The phrasing wasn't quite right, &c. Still, probably better than the competition (not that I would know, not being a follower of the show).

Revenant said...

I found this performance lacking the melancholy that I love in Gary Jules' performance of Mad World. This was too breathy, and the phrasing wasn't good.

I entirely agree.

"Mad World" is a song about alienation. The original Tears for Fears version is sung in an ominous, even angry manner, giving the impression that the singer is about to snap and do something. The Jules version is somber and, like you said, melancholy. Lambert sung it like his only goal was to show off his vocal range. Sheesh.

*shakes fist*

David said...

Adam Lambert is gay. Is there really any question?

Revenant said...

Adam Lambert is gay. Is there really any question?

That's no excuse! The world is full of gay musicians who know how to emote!

al said...

Who cares if Adam is gay? His performance last night was, like the majority of them, unmemorable. The save was introduced to get him to the finals.

As much as I dislike Anoop I have to agree with PatCA - Allison, Matt, and Anoop were the top 3.

Jin Shil said...

Wow. I can't believe all this nitpicking and negativity. FYI i always hear everyone breathing into their mic so don't make it seem like its only Adam. Adam does exactly what is supposed to be done,he sings songs that allow him to showcase his vocal talent. I loved this performance, he showed such great vocal control. Brilliant. For those who keep comparing it to the original. How ignorant can you be to say his pitch changes have nothing to do with the content of the song? the song was a story, and it was very well told, with a beginning, a middle, and end. I went on and on trying to explain before i decided it wasn't worth the effort. i mean its really difficult to explain all the details without making this a five page essay. i don't know the exact reasons why other people including simon loved it. but he never ceases to bring something new to the stage. this week i feel that he showed america that a balance between what others call his screechiness and his soft side that people fell in love with. i thought it was brilliant. he is the reason i have started watching american idol the day of the show and tried to vote for the very first time. This season is probablly one of the best ever. i just wish people would stop being so closedminded and prejudiced in their opinions.

Jason (the commenter) said...

"You guys are harsh critics and I disagree with your assessments."

It's only been a few weeks, give Adam Lambert a chance.

"I have been waiting 8 years for a contestant with his musical sensibility and chops."

He is the one we have been waiting for.

"I loved this performance, he showed such great vocal control."

It's so nice to have an American Idol contestant who can finally string two notes together.

"i just wish people would stop being so closedminded and prejudiced in their opinions."

You're homophobic if you don't like Adam Lambert.

Pogo said...

Gary Jules' version of Mad World was used in Donnie Darko to great effect, and then used in commercials for the video game Gears of War in a more ironic manner, but both contain what Beth described as melancholy.

I fell in love with that version and, like all my song crushes, I listened to it over and over and over until I knew every word and intonation. I then had to hide it away lest I grew to detest it, however, so it was nice to hear it again.

I applaud him for his song choice, but as I am no judge of vocal talent, I cannot offer an opinion except to say that it looked like he was floating in a seated position at the start, which was kinda cool and silly simultaneously.

Why float sitting?

bearbee said...

Does anyone else have a dog who shoves her head between the cushions on the couch whenever he sings?

Pictures please.

BJK said...

I like the song, both the Tears for Fears version and the Gary Jules cover.

If that's the favorite to win AI, then I guess I understand why it is I generally avoid the show (and its winners).

Jin Shil said...

mock all you want.

its not even about the homophobia, its more along the lines how a male comes along that can belt out notes higher than most females and suddenly this singing becomes screeching. that's what i mean by just plain ignorance. i guess i can't blame ya if you hate high pitched sounds. but don't say he's a bad singer just because you don't care for his style.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that you can hear breath pops with him, but no more than you could with David Archuleta. I agree with Meade -- what was up with his hair?

Anyway, I like it when he dials back the screaming. This would have been better if he'd shown some emotion while singing, like Fantasia always did/does. He hit the notes very well (except for a couple at the end), but there was no soul.

Sharon R said...

Wow, again jealousy rears it head.
This guy can sing whether you like his style, his high pitch, or anything else HE CAN SING. Maybe you should of listened better to the supposed actual talents already on the show like lady GaGa, Carrie Underwood, they didn't sound anywhere as good as Adam live. Oh yeah and you could hear their breathe too. Lets get past what everyone sees and say the guy is great.

David said...

The video can be found here

SteveR said...

I'm not any kind of judge of musical performance in a technical way. But I do know what I like and what I am willing to pay for. Adam does not interest me at all, as talented as he is, his performances always come across as overdone, his expressions and motions overdramatic.

Sometimes, often times, simple is best. This is Taylor Hicks squared (more talent with uncritical slobbering by the judges), great entertainment to some but unlikely IMO to translate to significant commercial success.

mrs whatsit said...

It was lovely. And it sounds better the second time through. It was a risk to pick this song -- so familiar to those Of A Certain Age but likely unknown to much of the Idol target audience. He found enough of the haunting mystery in it to grab those for whom it must have been new.

Beth, what he "did" before AI was musical theater. For something completely different from what we've heard on Idol so far, go look on YouTube for a clip of him singing "Come To Me, Bend To Me" from Brigadoon. (Can't find the link myself right now -- I'm at work, where it's banned.) No pop-star in it anywhere, just holy SMOKE, what a voice.

Tay said...

I am a bit concerned here after reading some of the comments. Adam's version of Tears for Fears "MAD WORLD" was simply brilliant. Adam is a true performer: he can sing with vocal control, he knows that he also needs to dress up the part in order to perform because that means SHOWMANSHIP, and he knows what kind of lighting to use in order for us to further FEEL the lyrics of a particular song. This song is a hauntingly beautiful melody. Having seen Tears for Fears perform live twice in my life (and one of my all-time favourite groups), it was so nice to hear a younger person like Adam, introduce such a a brilliant song to a new generation. Now, if teen-age girls are the voting public and yet, cannot appreciate true talent (like Adam's), thus confusing showmanship and artistry (because true artists are eccentric), with the so-called "creep" factor; that worries me, because it makes me realise (yes, we use "s" instead of "z" in the UK), that teens are not musically educated nowadays and have no idea what singing really means coupled with proper showmanship. So, if these are the ones voting . . . I am concerned because Adam is the best American Idol ever, in my opinion. Why? Because he is innovative, very talented (and I know a thing or two about singing), and knows how to give it to the crowd who are listening and watching. He is the total package. Cheers!

Jason (the commenter) said...

"Brilliant"

Whenever you praise or berate someone you have to consider context. People didn't like Adam when he was out in the real world. On American Idol he is brilliant, brilliant in comparison to the other contestants. But for people who listen to new music all the time, that kind of brilliance may not mean much. Looking at it another way, whenever someone says Obama is intelligent, I always add in my own head "in comparison to Bush." And I can understand why someone might say Adam is brilliant or Obama is intelligent, but the things those people are missing!

PatCA said...

I do wish AI would be more responsible about ending on time. I think a lot of people missed Adam's turn because their Tivo didn't go into the next hour. Let's hope we don't have a Florida recount scenario!

I don't like dam's high notes. The other guys have falsettos too but they're not so screechy. He belongs in theater.

kentuckyliz said...

Agree with SteveR and PatCA. The homohypersensitive, overacted, tortured, breathy, screechy high drama belongs in rock opera.

Yeah, he got all hetted up for AI but that doesn't matter. He is still not a pop star. Listen without viewing and you'll realize how much of it is the Joey Heatherton hairdo.

It's just so overblown. I keep waiting for something different each week but it's always the same.

kentuckyliz said...

Oh and my gay friends adore him but think he has thick thighs and girly hips. H2G

Celle said...

Okay. What is with the non-Adam-love in these comments? I've heard BOTH versions of that song (Adam's and Gary Jules'), and preferred Adam's.

As for him showing off vocal range...(look at comment above)
Er, hello, American Idol is a SINGING competition? Of course he should show off his range.

And as for him taking that version, NO HE DIDN'T. He made it his own. Gary Jules would have been proud of Adam's version. His version was a little faster than Jules' version,
and he knows how to build up drama in his vocal performance. He cut some of the lyrics to create the message he wanted to send across. (Yes, I cried when he sang: Went to
school and I was very nervous/ No one knew me, no one knew me...). In this sense, SHORTER was better. So it was good he took liberties with the song.

Seriously. People are so under-appreciative of his amazing talent. Screechy? No. In fact those aren't screeches, they are glory notes. Have you tried to reach notes like
that? That is TALENT, and AMAZING VOCAL TECHNIQUE. Not easy at all.

A GAZILLION times better than the other performers'. He DESERVED that standing ovation from ALL the judges (Not just Simon).

Much better listening to him than sitting through Danny's song. The judges gush at him, but frankly it sounded BORING to me. He keeps performing the same way, and yet the judges are nice to him. Frankly, I find the guy rather overrated, mainly because he
radiates smug through and through. And he always manages to sound preachy with whatever song he sings. God, I hate preachy songs. But enough about Danny.

ADAM. Amazing performance. I loved the way he kept saying thank you to the judges (8 times, counted...He's so modest!), and how his grandma cried with his song. I also found it amazing how he managed to make real eye contact with Simon when he said thank you to him. I've never seen anyone do that. Other people seem to look like they are looking at Simon, but they do not meet his eye. Adam does not falter in front of Simon. Adam is down to earth like that. He's like the nice guy people want want to be friends with, but he has the guts that we all wish we had, to take a difficult song like that and totally BRING IT! I mean,frankly, WHO ELSE COULD NAIL THAT SONG?

Over all Adam totally deserved that standing O.

Celle said...

In addition, why do I know this stuff? (LOL) I have very musical relatives, and they all admire Adam's mastery and control of his voice. If you doubt me, listen to one of his performances in Bridagoon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJYyqzUr6jU

Freeman Hunt said...

Just me or doesn't he look like Ashton Kutcher wearing a Charles Bronson wig? I don't watch television, so this is the first I've seen of this person.

Didn't like the performance because it didn't have any depth. No sense that he believed the words he was singing. Agree with Rev that the performance seemed less about interpreting the song than showing off range. Meh.

Freeman Hunt said...

I have now watched the Gary Jules version and the Tears for Fears version. Both are vastly, vastly better. I suppose they should be as those performers aren't amateurs competing on a television show.

I like the Tears for Fears version best, but that could be because the other reminds me of Donnie Darko, a movie I don't like. Overall that's not saying much because I don't like the song. Too nihilistic for my taste. I used to listen to that kind of thing way back when. Not now.

deborah said...

News flash on Lambert, you don't have to like him or his music; he's way past that stage of the contest. So give up the rope you keep tugging; it was never in your hands from the start. Not all is lost; you Haters can grab a hold of your remote and change the channel next time he appears,and he will appear, again and again...

Tamara said...

I am laughing because people out there obviously thinks the majority of people out there give a dam about breath control and pitch problems and the whole set of technical mess that we could not spot in a million years. It sounded GREAT the crowd loved it and for the majority of people out there that go to concerts and buy cds sounding great and making an impact is all we car about!

Maria said...

I haven't followed AI this season so I don't even know who this guy is, but I'm a big fan of the Tears for Fears original. Anywho, I heard DJs on the Radio this a.m. raving about last night's show and Adam's rendition of the Gary Jules cover of Mad World and so of course, I just had to see & hear it for myself. LOVED IT!!! I think he gave this already dark & somber song an even more eerie feeling. I'd much rather hear Adam's version on an episode of CSI or on the movie Donny Darko.

Trooper York said...

What this contest has become is the search to find the best cover of a famous song and copy it as though it was your own. That's what David Cook did last year with several songs. A great cover in a different style than the very famous original will not be as well know and will have a much bigger impact and seem much more original even if it is a note for note copy. Originality is tough when you are singing these old chestnuts. When someone actually does his own arrangement like Chris, he is immeadiately shot down. So your best bet is to copy an obscure cover that has already been sucessfull.

Trooper York said...

I do think Adam is very talented and should win. There is really only one song that he couldn't sell.

"I kissed a girl and I liked it."

Trooper York said...

No that there's anything wrong with that.

Revenant said...

On American Idol he is brilliant, brilliant in comparison to the other contestants. But for people who listen to new music all the time, that kind of brilliance may not mean much.

That's probably it. Maybe he's brilliant for an American Idol contestant, but he's certainly not brilliant as a singer in general.

PatCA said...

I hear Werner Herzog wants to use Adam's version for his movie about Pogo, But Why. :)

kcb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kcb said...

Gary Jules thought Adam's performance was beautiful, google gary jules seacoastonline and see for yourself : ) something tells me he actually knows what hes talking about. Adam is HIS favorite contestant. some pretty insecure people here trying to deny that Adam is incredibly talented, stop wasting your time..he is unbelievably good.

Revenant said...

Gary Jules thought Adam's performance was beautiful, google gary jules seacoastonline and see for yourself

Gary Jules is entitled to his opinion. :)

lucas said...

ditto on kcb:

"Gary Jules thought Adam's performance was beautiful, google gary jules seacoastonline and see for yourself : ) something tells me he actually knows what hes talking about. Adam is HIS favorite contestant. some pretty insecure people here trying to deny that Adam is incredibly talented, stop wasting your time..he is unbelievably good."

And also, Adam Lambert has more vocal talent and musical sense/experience than anybody ever before on AI.

MadisonMan said...

Adam Lambert has more vocal talent and musical sense/experience than anybody ever before on AI.

I don't know that he has more than Melinda. I think it would be very difficult to judge that, the stage singer vs the backup singer.

Incidentally, I am happy that Idol is now Scott-free. His vocals were always bad. It is amazing that Anoop was almost axed instead of him. Anoop was great on Tuesday.

Freeman Hunt said...

No, no. I've got it. It's Ashton Kutcher in an Erik Estrada wig!

And note, I'm not insulting Lambert's regular appearance. Just commenting on the fact that AI makes all of their contestants look weird.

But why?

Saurabh said...

Frankie Avalon American Idol Video HERE

unicorn40 said...

I think Adam Lambert is an awesome singer with a great voice!! I luved that song for yrs. and i think his version is the best..When he records, i'll def. buy the CD..

Twin Boys Mama said...

Loved it. Loved him. I think you either love him or hate him.

Gary Jules loved it...
http://weblogs.newsday.com/entertainment/music/idol/blog/2009/04/adam_lamberts_mad_world_loved.html

I have bought all of his videos through iTunes which is a first for me for any AI contestant.

My mom and dad hated Mick Jaggar growing up, thought he was a horrible singer. Go figure.

nut_cookie said...

Meh, in the near future he'll be making millions and you armchair critics and self-proclaimed music elite will still be sitting here bitching.

You can't please everyone.

*shrug*

Revenant said...

Meh, in the near future he'll be making millions and you armchair critics and self-proclaimed music elite will still be sitting here bitching.

In the near future I trust I'll have forgotten the man ever existed. The only AI contestant I can remember is Kelly Clarkson, and that's because she's got boobs.

adamlambert said...

OK, who are all of you to criticize adam lambert? Especially Revenate...you said you don't eve watch the show, so why do you keep writing you opinion over and over in all of this. You don't watch the show, yet you are commenting. How about you doing something you know about. What do you know about flubbing up lyrics, and pitch etc....you don't know anything. THis song and this artist have made him a cut above all the other contestants because it's about talent and creativity...and I feel he has won the competition already. And making a comment about his breath..uh...were you there up on the stage with him Reverant? I doubt it since you SAY you avoid the show like the plague...you don't know what you are talking about. Are you a music teacher, or producer? No I doubt it since you have no interest in the show whatsoever. So go and just do what you do, and stop talking about things you know nothing about. Why are you hanging around this blogger comment since you don't watch the show...you are getting personal about it too talking about his breath!?????
This song with Adam singing it has just reurected a beautiful song from 1982 and it is a better redition because of th falsetto that Adam brings to it. It's gorgeous. Other contestants need to watch out now. It gave all the Judges chills and their opinion is whos counts. Carol M

nitadodd said...

How can anyone be so ignorant as to say that Adam can't sing and has a phony falsetto?? If you have any doubts about Adam's abilities go find the YouTube of Adam Lambert "Come To Me, Bend To Me" from Brigadoon. He is the best singer to ever be on Idol... the best trained and the best performer. He is the bomb!

heymac said...

I'm 52, grew up in the SF Bay Area in the 60's/70's and I think this kid Adam is an amazing performer. He's uniquely qualified to be leading the pack this AI season. As for his Mad World cover- it's far more mermerizing and eerily drew me in as a viewer- 100% more interesting cover than the orignial Tears for Fears which sounds rather bubble gum in comparison. Not a professional critic like many responders here, just someone who knows what kind of music and entertainment I enjoy. To better appreciate Adam's cover, go to youtube and listen to the studio version- even better than the live show. For those of you critics of the "shorten version"- EVERY song performed on AI is shortened.

furuba_sarang said...

This was an incredible performance, in my eyes and ears as a musician. (My favorite music is classical, but each genre has its own measure.) Pop music was defined elegantly in this performance by Adam. I'm not sure about the lyrics, but as for interpretation and musicality--just fantastic. It is extremely difficult to sing the way he did. Pop music--it's all about how you can showcase your voice--and this is a competition.
If I had been there, I'd have been standing with Simon and Paula and the rest of the group.

furuba_sarang said...

btw, thanks so much for posting this performance! i've been looking for it all over the net!

michaeljwhite said...

I feel as if I am watching a twilight zone episode when I hear American Idol judges rave about the technically poor singing of Adam Lambert. His breath control is atrocious and sounds as if he has an asthma attack, his range of notes is Okay for the vienna boys choir but not for a man, his voice is way too high and not soothing for my taste, his range is poor as well he can only sing high notes. Imagine him trying to sing low the way sinatra, crosby, damone or even neil diamond. This guy relies on gimmicks and stage theatrics, yet his voice is weak, breathless, and non resonating.

michaeljwhite said...

I feel as if I am watching a twilight zone episode when I hear American Idol judges rave about the technically poor singing of Adam Lambert. His breath control is atrocious and sounds as if he has an asthma attack, his range of notes is Okay for the vienna boys choir but not for a man, his voice is way too high and not soothing for my taste, his range is poor as well he can only sing high notes. Imagine him trying to sing low the way sinatra, crosby, damone or even neil diamond. This guy relies on gimmicks and stage theatrics, yet his voice is weak, breathless, and non resonating.

www.colorbakery.com said...

I suppose we saw a different person singing a different song. This is the first time I've ever wanted to actually own a song I saw sung on American Idol. It was stunning, it was perfection.