“Adam doesn’t like FYE anymore! He’s going to go totally HAC! Or AC! Or…something!”
Adam doesn’t hate FYE, and never said he did. What FYE is is a first album. Not only that, but it’s a first album created under highly unusual conditions – rushed to production, recorded in part while Adam was on the Idol tour and singing a strenuous, if short, set several nights a week, a nd doing more recording and the post-production in a mere two months afterward. They managed to get big name producers plus songs from well-known people, but it meant often Adam’s only connection with the song was that he was a fan of the writer and was singing the it. Rob Cavallo said Adam wouldn’t use a song he didn’t love – Adam apparently had unprecedented control over this first album – but loving a song isn’t necessarily the same as a true emotional resonance.
He also had a very clear vision for this album that he was able to articulate as early as Top 8 week on American Idol, and again after the finale, and the strength of personality to push it through even after an “identity crisis” after the tour. The last certainly doesn’t surprise me, but neither does the first. I’m sure Adam’s been planning his first album forever.
However, the end result was, at best, a B+ CD. And that’s pretty darn good considering everything. It suffers from having too many voices – Lady Gaga is distinct from Justin Hawkins is distinct from Matt Bellamy is distinct from Ryan Tedder and Aimee Mayo is distinct from Adam himself – and too much production that could sometimes obscure Adam’s voice. And obscuring Adam’s voice is a crime. Yes, it was also an eclectic mix of musical styles – the very thing Adam envisioned, an album as playlist – but if the voice behind the songs had been similar, the album would have felt less disjointed.
It’s served him well – the mix of genres meant he could create a concert (albeit a short one) from the material of this one album while making a minimal use of covers. He didn’t have to borrow from other people to change tempo or emotion. And in the course of performing these songs, and rearranging them for live performance, or changing them to acoustic, he made them his own. He formed his connections. Or had the connections forced upon him, as happened for WWfM.
But every album should be better than the one before, and a man who can’t sing the same song twice the same way certainly is not going to make two similar albums anyway. His vision isn’t so clear for this one, which makes sense since he HASN’T been planning it for years. He’s also learned a lot, and he isn’t into the whole romance of “I just want to make music.” Adam wants a commercial album, or at least a few commercial singles so he can make money and go on tour and rock everything. His life is also in a different place than it was in 2009 in pretty much every way, and that’s going to affect everything.
What hasn’t changed is Adam’s commitment to perfection and the strength of his personality. His label knows they can trust him to make something that will sell, because he has before and because he has real understanding of how the music industry currently works. Adam2 will be Adam’s voice no matter how musically eclectic it is or isn’t.