Single Review: Adam Lambert – ‘Never Close Our Eyes’

“Never Close Our Eyes’ is a fundamental failure”

2 STARS

Digital Release: July 8, 2012

Physical Release: N/A

A lot of people are still confused as to why Adam Lambert’s not as successful “as he should be” in the UK. But this strange sense of arbitrary entitlement to fame and success comes from practically every fan of any popstar currently stranded in the distant reaches of chart limbo, where hits are minor at best. Adam Lambert is currently in chart limbo, having had only one hit that actually cracked the UK Top 40, and whilst many are quick to whip out the homophobia card as criticism for his lack of support from radio and TV, going by his recent “record” (Michael Stipe may have issues) on the Billboard Chart in the US, it can’t really be that much of a barrier. What lets Lambert down and subsequently has prevented him from finding success in the UK is that he is currently surplus to a dozen other ‘artistes de jour’ who already have solidified reputations to be able to deliver when it comes to disposable chart music. So if he’s going to break the UK chart then he needs to offer something a lot more tantalising than ‘Never Close Our Eyes’. While some may consider his music liberating, the more finite details and more objective measures of content find it in the compromise between the middle-distance of cheap-sounding, Dr. Luke-produced electropop and half-arsed attempts at left-field pop-rock, which often results in unnecessarily moody affairs that sound like Ryan Tedder covering Nickelback; it’s taking itself just a little too seriously.

He does that here, take it all a little too seriously. Each word in ‘Never Close Our Eyes’ is needlessly weighed down by critically calculated feelings of paranoia, estrangement, fear, and self-loathing, almost as if he intends to give the impression that singing at a remotely average volume sees him barely capable of containing himself. And in the past it was passable due to the nature of the songs those types of lyrics belonged to (e.g. – ‘Whataya Want From Me’, which is still every bit of the word lamazing), but ‘Never Close Our Eyes’ is almost blue-print identical to any other song allured by the temptation of partying at the edge of doom (Britney’s ill-fated ‘Till The World Ends’ and GaGa’s far superior and more enjoyably theatrical ‘The Edge of Glory’), and so the awkward juxtaposition this poses makes ‘Never Close Our Eyes’ a fundamental failure. The composition is also just as much to blame for the song’s flaws, with Dr. Luke doing what Dr. Luke does best – doing a piss-poor impression of what everyone else does best – and Bruno Mars’ hand in writing would explain why halfway through you expect the song to turn into ‘The Other Side’ and feature some crooning from Cee-Lo Green and a blasé rap from B.o.B.. Half-way through the bridge you get the feeling someone late in production couldn’t decide whether it needed a dubstep-lite breakdown, and when the chorus finally takes over it never delivers – not even Lambert’s falsetto can reinvigorate a melodic line that starts off stridently and then resorts to stringing out a couple of syllables towards the end, clinging onto rhymes that aren’t really worth salvaging.

‘Never Close Our Eyes’ is a ballad about romance intoxication trying to be an uptempo electropop song and trips over itself trying to satisfy both demands. It’s worth a mention for the gallant effort, but much like ‘Better Than I Know Myself’, the cold sterility and vacuousness of the lyrics and calculated, robotic overproduction stop any warmth coming from Lambert’s voice, meaning any residual intensity to trickle through the membrane that separates our reality and the reality Lambert tries and fails to create in ’Never Close Our Eyes’ is completely impermeable by the song’s exhausted and long overdue climax.

 

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