In his new video for “If I Had You,” Lambert may be singing that if he had his lover, he wouldn’t need anything else… no money, fame or fortune, but clearly the said lover is nowhere in sight, so the former "American Idol" runner-up ventures from his woodland home into the big city with lots and lots of bells and whistles, spiked shoulder pads, a very cool top hat, a mullet and miles of guy liner.
The video is a glorified performance piece, which is fine. Writhing dancers, some of whom are copping moves from “Thriller,” groove as if they’re at the coolest quasi-masquerade party ever, while Lambert sings in various disguises. It’s all very colorful and dramatic and oh-so-Adam. The song is a delicious throwback to the ‘80s—it’s a cross between Stacey Q and Foreigner, and we mean that as a major compliment. It will no doubt be a huge dance hit, but we’d like to see Lambert have a flat-out radio smash.
The clip’s concept was inspired by Lambert’s experience at the Burning Man festival five years ago, according to a statement. It also is a love letter to his friends and fans who have stood by him as he’s climbed up and down fame’s ladder. “Over the past year, in addition to my unbelievable opportunities, I have also been faced with the unique challenge of staying positive in light of some critics and closed mindedness,” he said in a statement. “My friends, family, and my devoted fans have been a key force in keeping me grounded. I wanted to make a video that paid tribute to the wonderful people who’ve inspired me to become the artist and spirit I am today." That’s all well and good, but that message soared right over my head. I just liked the outfits.