Nostalgia is one of the main driving factors of Lambert’s long-awaited fourth studio album. Continuing in the same vein of late ’60s funk rock that’s fueled his latest releases, Lambert revels in the luxury of his sound at every given opportunity on his smooth new project.
Part of the new album feels somewhat anti-climactic. After releasing five of the tracks as singles, along with unveiling another five in the release of the album’s “Side A” last year, Lambert’s Velvet truly only contains three brand-new tracks. It’s understandable why Lambert wanted to keep the releases coming leading up to his project, but we still wish there had been just a bit more left to the imagination.
Even still, the new tracks add even more continued flavor to Lambert’s gloriously funky sound. Album opener “Velvet” offers a more modern take on his retro sound, with fuzzy synths doing the heavy lifting at the start. But as the singer croons his way through the titular track, things kick into psychedelic gear on the chorus, with sweet guitar licks and a powerful rhythm section.
The older tracks from “Side A” still serve as the album’s standouts, especially on songs like “Superpower” and “Loverboy.” Lambert lets his stratospheric vocals take center stage, while the funky backdrop of his revitalized sound serves as a refreshing reinforcement of the star’s raw talent.
But on a track such as “On the Moon,” Lambert switches things up ever-so-slightly. The track serves as a welcome in-between from his soft piano ballads and his stadium-shaking rock. On the sultry slow-jam, he relies on his stunning falsetto, and some minimalistic production (including a quivering bass line and some atmospheric piano), to drive home his blissed-out ode to his sexy lover.
It’s on “Love Don’t,” though, where Lambert’s glam-rock roots shine through. Equipped with some fiery guitars and intense drums, the track sounds almost like a B-side off of The Original High, while still maintaining the flirtatious ’70s rock that’s defined his latest era. “The fire in my feet, the red song that’s coming down/ The bittersweet tearing me inside out,” he croons.
Even though it leaves much to be desired, Velvet serves as a fitting culmination to what may have been Adam Lambert’s most ambitious musical era to date. And it only will leave fans wondering how on Earth the star plans on topping it in the future.