by Sarah Barber
Have you ever been embarrassed to make a conspicuous purchase, for fear of what the friendly dude behind the cash register might think? (Men, remember the last time your girlfriend asked you to pick up some tampons on your next trip to the store?) Well, when someone who ordinarily chooses music by distinct, edgy, off-the-beaten path artists suddenly goes mainstream, the blush of shame is quick to tint the cheeks. Yes, I'm blushing.
With sexy themes of love and lust, he gambles his emotions through his voice—and the stakes really are high. In the song"Music Again," Lambert hits falsettos that would make Mariah Carey jealous. While praised on Idol for risk-taking when he twisted cover versions of well-known songs—his version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" was creative genius—he also earned acclaim for his incredible vocal range. And he deserved every prop he received. He rocks it harder in songs like "Strut" and "Fever," but downshifts for "Aftermath," proving a versatility that guarantees Top 40 staying power.
If anything in Lambert's first CD warrants criticism, the engineered and synthesized quality of the instrumentals and backup vocals are the Cheez Whiz of music. But even pasteurized-spreadable-cheese-product has a time and a place. Current trends in pop music support digital enhancement, so Lambert is in good company on the charts.
In fact, it's possible that this talented artist conceded the American Idol victory only because the show's producers had every confidence in his future success. Does anyone remember the guy who won?