Adam wants to be in this game for a long, long time. That’s true of everyone in his business, of course, but he’s coming at this with clear eyes, a lack of romance (not talking personal life here, folks. Possibly not ever) and a strong sense of history. Which makes sense for a man who has been on the periphery for years, who sees himself as a businessperson as much as an artist and who has a deep and broad knowledge of his chosen field.
And one of the most successful and long-lived artists in music, one who has not had to produce either a “holiday” album, or one of covers is one of Adam’s own personal idols, Madonna.
Just a note – I’d love Adam to make a classic rock cover album. I’d love to hear his voice interpret some of the great songs of all times. And I pray he never has to do that – such an album would happen because he needs the money. I don’t want him in that position. He rocks his own songs on stage. That’s plenty.
Anyway, back to Madonna. When her career was just starting, she pushed boundaries, but she also reinvented herself with every album, every video, every tour. She was ALWAYS Madonna, even when she was Marilyn or Evita, but she presented herself and her music differently. She never let her fans get bored or complacent. And she carefully gauged how shocking she was – just enough to get the headlines; not enough to get banned. And she’s still well-known, she’s still immensely wealthy and there are no cover or holiday albums waiting in the wings for her. If she puts out an album next month, it WILL sell.
And that’s what Adam’s after. A career that constantly gains new fans even as he maintains most of his old ones. He’s already gotten fans outside the Idol bubble. I’m constantly seeing tweets and posts by people who became his fans after Idol, after Gridlock, after he returned to Idol.
After the AMAs.
He’s NOT Madonna, and there are boundaries he has as a gay man that she, as a straight woman, would never have. When she kissed girls, it did not make straight men uncomfortable and everyone was sure it was play-acting. When Adam kisses boys, it bothers male viewers plus there’s always the possibility it’s real. Fortunately, Adam has learned that there are times and places for pushing boundaries. His performance style is also different – while her style has always been overtly sexual and sultry, his has always been playful. They are different people, after all. I don’t know if Madonna ever wore so much glitter.
But he does share one trait with Madonna – he knows exactly who he is both personally and musically. With that knowledge he can reinvent his image and style as much as he wants while not distancing himself from his fanbase. It will always be Adam on that stage, singing his face off, no matter what he wears or how he does his hair. It will always be Adam’s vocals emerging from the earbuds.
There are people who are disappointed that he’s reinventing himself now. They love his glitter and rhinestones and over the top make-up and costuming. I love it, too.
And there are those who would like him to go further, to eschew nail polish and lip gloss and keep his hair neat and pretty, and singing sweet acoustic songs. I love that, but not because it’s more “masculine”. Adam’s about as butch as he’s going to get. I just think he sounds nice when he sings that way, and it’s a different look.
I have no idea what his current reinvention is going to do, although I’m rather pleased that he intends a rock edge to his pop. I also know that can change at any point – Adam’s made that clear himself. And there will be more albums (I’m sure of it) and videos and tours in the future, and he’ll reinvent himself again. Not just for business reasons, either. I’m pretty sure he’s currently bored with glitter and camp, having lived that for the past nearly two years. But then, I’m pretty sure “glitter” was a line item on his tour budget. And we know how easily that man gets bored.
It’s going to be a fun ride – I don’t think we’ll ever be able to predict what Adam will do in future. But it will be amazing to watch.