They're becoming as ubiquitous as sex tapes: early recordings from American Idol contestants that somehow surface as soon as the artist becomes famous.
We seem to remember a similar thing happening with Kelly Clarkson after she won.
Now, it's Adam Lambert's turn. Today, we in the press received an MP3 of "Want," the first track from "On with the Show," an album of material recorded by Lambert pre-"Idol." The CD is coming out-no release date is given-on Hi Fi Recordings/Wilshire Records. Hi Fi is run by some pretty respected music veterans and has put out recordings by Donny Osmond, Smashmouth and former "AI" contestant Melinda Doolittle (Hi Fi released the excellent, underrated "Coming Back To You" from Doolittle earlier this year).
As you know, Lambert has signed with 19/RCA Records and is working on his label debut with RedOne, best known for his work with Lady GaGa. Here's the thing we know. Radio stations may play "Wait" once or twice simply to satisfy fans' curiosity, but radio is not going to piss off RCA. This will be available on the internet, but you're not going to hear it on radio with any consistency. Not going to happen.
Plus, there's the matter of that's it's not so great a song. Produced by Malcolm Welsford with additional production by Mark Endert (he's worked with the Fray, Maroon 5 and others), "Want" is a fairly pedestrian mid-tempo ballad about how we all want love. Lambert reins in the histrionics until the very end, but for the most part, delivers a nicely restrained performance.
Instead of Freddie Mercury or David Bowie-that's who RedOne says he wants you to think of when you think Lambert-think Robbie Williams.
(For those not familiar with Williams, he was formerly in British boy band Take That before launching a ferociously successful solo career. For awhile, he was the biggest star in the world outside of the U.S. He never wanted to put the work in here-figured why should he play clubs in the U.S. when he was selling out stadiums everywhere else. )
But back to Lambert. Williams is not at all a bad person to sound like. We think he's fantastic. The problem here is the song. The production is a little flat and Lambert screeches too much at the end (although we know some people love that about him). It's not horrible by any stretch, just not what you would want to represent you as your first true effort.
19 Entertainment, which manages Lambert and will license the first "official" album to RCA, had no comment.
Update: Adam Lambert has just released a statement responding to the news that 'Want' is going to be released:
"Back in 2005 when I was a struggling artist, I was hired as a studio singer to lend my vocals to tracks written by someone else. I was broke at the time and this was my chance to make a few bucks, so I jumped at the opportunity to record for my first time in a professional studio. The work I did back then in no way reflects the music I am currently in the studio working on. I'm thrilled to be working with some of today's hottest songwriters and producers and can't wait for people to hear what my music really sounds like."