Last week, Adam Lambert, the almost-winner from season 8 of American Idol, released a new album called Trespassing. The album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and a number of media sources are calling it the first #1 album from an openly gay male artist.
The disc definitely deserves its success - it's a fun, summer-ready playlist with pump-up potential. Sure, it's a little uneven, since the second half slams us with ballad after treacly ballad, but overall, I'm excited about Trespassing.
Last week, more than a few reviews praised Lambert for finally making - as Entertainment Weekly put it - "his big gay dance-club album" and "leaving the closet far behind." And yes, the first half of the album plays like something you'd hear in a big-city, glam-pop gay club - if you want to get gay boys dancing, just put on Trespassing.
A handful of other tracks toss a pandering wink to Lambert's gay fans. The very end of "Shady" features a distorted, "not-quite-sure-what-they-said" line: "Shady late, runaway train / Blame the game, quit blaming the gays," and Lambert also tells us that "I'm feeling pretty fierce in my dancin' shoes." On "Underneath," the singer croons, "I'm standing here with no apologies / such a beautiful release / you inside of me / a red river of screams."
Is it selfish, then, that I wish the album was a little gayer? Most of the songs are written to the universal "you," and the few that talk about someone are written with gender-neutral pronouns. Even the "marriage equality anthem" that several reviews have mentioned, "Outlaws of Love," is only peripherally gay; the most blatant lyric in the song is, "Everywhere we go / I'm lookin' for the sun. / Nowhere to grow old. / And always on the run. / They say we'll rot in hell, / But I don't think we will. / They've branded us enough / Outlaws of Love." The only reason we assign marriage equality significance to the track is because Lambert told us that's what it's about.