It’s Bosh Monday! Over-under on angry one-time commenters here?
Jonathan Bogart: In which Our Adam connects with the sort of power-ballad inspiro-gospel his voice was made for, but isn’t given anything memorable to sing, and tries to make up for it by sounding convinced. Which — “Whataya Want from Me” excepted — could stand as the epitaph of his entire career.
Katherine St Asaph: Pity Adam, who’s again been sucked into a pop aggregation turbine. Writer Bruno Mars has poured in overheated Smeezingangst like “we can always sleep when we die,” which needs a more settled container than the one Dr. Luke’s cranked the handle off. Now it’s fritzing: frazzling Adam’s voice until it resembles the Voice of Men version of latter-day P!nk and spitting out as a prechorus a hasty mash of dubstuff, synth claps and Gym Class Heroes acoustic wank. That’s completely fine by 2012’s quality standards. It’s apparently fine by his fans, who I guess really do think this sounds like Prince or Depeche Mode or whichever comparison last got pissed out the PR hole. It is not fine by me, and it shouldn’t be fine by him.
Alfred Soto: Why on earth would anyone want to “stay awake until [you’re] older” when his boyfriend is going to shout Auto-Tuned cliches into my ear? The other problem: Rolling Stone’s anointed gay superstar wants to be straight superstar Enrique Iglesias, complete with electro stutterbeat.
Anthony Easton: When the Scissor Sisters do this sort of thing, I believe that they believe in ketamine and disco — there is a mark of historical relevance that makes it sound a bit kicked around. This is so clean and precise, but amateurish and ugly, painful to listen to, and not worth anything. I was going to compare it to the Boise Junior Chamber of Commerce doing a Studio 54 night in 1981, but that would have heart and charm. How do you manage to avoid having the snake-oil tawdry sleaze of the Scissor Sisters and the amateurish spangle of Boise, and have nothing at all to replace it with? Is this what Simon Callow has wrought?
Brad Shoup: The cadence, the lean of the pre-chorus lets the light in splendidly. A stringed flash makes a cameo, but it’s not that type of disco. More in this vein, please.
Edward Okulicz: Still not sure that even Lambert himself knows what to do with Lambert, but histrionic disco is probably one of the better ideas he’s executed. Darker dance music could actually be an even better fit; his voice seems to work better the more busy the backing and the more anguished the song. This, despite its fifteen-year-old-goth-girl lyrics, is too perky to work completely. When the synths snap like elastic bands, how do you get all angsty convincingly?
John Seroff: As of late, sadly, Lambert is about as powerful as mainstream power pop gets. Most of that energy gets too often sopped up in yowly ballads, so I can muster up a bit of enthusiasm when dude has his biannual go at a party anthem. True to form, “Never” offers the definite but limited rewards of a song built on chained crescendos. Tomorrow I will have forgotten I heard it, but for Mister Right Now, this’ll do.
Jamieson Cox: I think my rating for this one is affected by my chosen listening environment. “Never Close Our Eyes” isn’t made for sleepy Sunday afternoons with tea and the NBA playoffs muted in the background; it should be deployed at arrhythmia-inducing volume on a sticky dance floor, and I should be moving my hips with abandon. But if I heard this on such a dance floor, what differentiates it from every other entry in Dr. Luke’s formidable production catalogue? Lambert’s potential VORD (Value Over Replacement Diva) isn’t fully realized, as he’s given few chances to truly unleash that powerful tenor. Nevertheless, if “Never Close Our Eyes” reaches my ears on a Saturday night this summer, I won’t be complaining.