Judgement Day: Pop Heaven or Hell? (Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself)

(Buy “Better Than I Know Myself” on iTunes!)

Forgive me Pop Gods for I have sinned. It has been approximately 14 minutes since my last confession…

There was a time when I really didn’t care for Adam Lambert.

Before you flood me with hate mail or start looking for spare pitchforks and torches, let me say that I have truly enjoyed and supported everything that he’s done post-American Idol. There was something about the way everything happened on his season of American Idol that just made me… not a fan…Ā  despite repeated conversations with my mother about how much she loved him. I would say that I was probably pretty intense about my non-fan-ness for a time, though truly I can not give you a reason in retrospect. Perhaps it just took me some time to understand what he’s about as an artist.

Regardless of the rhyme or reason in the baginning, the fact remains that my opinions have changed! I feel that I have just had an epiphany!

While every post-Idol album track (and even a couple of the Idol iTunes singles) were completely flawless and amazing, I truly believe that Adam has outdone himself on his latest single “Better Than I Know Myself”; The first to be released (just today – 12/20/2011, in fact) from his upcoming album; “Trespassing”.

In the very moment the synths begin the song starts to fool you, the synth sounds much like you would expect on more of a floor banger but soon the beats enter and it’s somewhere between an R&B midtempo Jam and an anthemic pop-rock ballad. The beats are strong and the vocals SOAR. On the verses there is a soulful swagger Lambert doesn’t often show and then on the hook it’s a wailing pop-rock anthem that harkens back to iconic artists like Richard Marx but still sounds very modern.

Is “Better Than I Know Myself” a risky single? It’s hard to say. It’s not quite a ballad, but more of one than anything from a hit pop artist that we’ve heard in a while. There does seem (thankfully) to be more push coming from artists to head back toward music with a story and an emotional meaning rather than all of the partying we’ve been doing as of late. Given that Lambert has said the album will be very dance-floor oriented, choosing a song that is about relationships and is mid-tempo seems risky but smart. This is a VERY catchy, hook-driven song with really REALLY great vocals and I think heading into the Winter season this might be a perfect single to usher in more emotional content. This vocal could very easily be remixed into multiple crossover formats as well, including but not limited to a pop-rock version, uptempo dance, urban, etc.

There’s really no room for debate, The Pop Gods have spoken: “Better Than I Know Myself” is…

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40 thoughts on “Judgement Day: Pop Heaven or Hell? (Adam Lambert – Better Than I Know Myself)

  1. carrbert says:

    You speak the truth oh Pop God! This song is insanely good! The Adam on Adam layering in the chorus is a little bit of heaven!

    • I am but a vessel for their infinite pop wisdom šŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!!!! I’m in love with this song; I can’t stop listening.

      • Michelle says:

        Thank you so much! Great review & I love it :).
        It’s growing every each time I repeated. The lyrics & emotion with the heart drum beats & soulful piano seems touching my heart everytime.

      • Thank you! It IS a grower. I loved it right away but love it more and more every time I listen. Thank you for checking out my blog and commenting!!

  2. adamfan says:

    I ALSO LOVE THIS SONG. I LISTEN TO IT AGAIN ON EVERY SITE I GO TO EVEN THOUGH I JUST HEARD IT. LOL Oops for all caps. I hope this song gets the attention it deserves. Great vocals!!!

  3. Lady Grey says:

    You are on the money! I worship the singer so I love the song…at first, was not so sure, but now I’ve been converted. It is catchy but it’s the vocal incredibleness that draws me in. Trying to hear all those harmonies he’s added…and the range! Boy can that boy sing!

  4. Adam's Minion says:

    I loved this review for many reasons. 1st, “Before you flood me with hate mail or start looking for spare pitchforks and torches” you obviously know how fierce we are about our Adam. 2nd, your mother LOVES him – many of us are mothers. 3rd you obviously know way more about music then me – synth, hook, etc. and you like it.

    Every time I listen to this song I hear different things that I love. I love that he is his own back-up singer. I love/hate that I can’t get the song out of my head. I swear Adam has some hypnotic thing he does – it started with Ring of Fire on Idol.

    Thanks for the review and I am glad you are converted!

    • And I loved your comments! I appreciate that you took the time to read and to comment, Thank you! I am definitely converted.

      • Adam's Minion says:

        Is your mom on Twitter?

      • šŸ™‚ Unfortunately, she’s not she just really wanted him to win American Idol at the time. I think she enjoys his radio singles too, hehe… but isn’t part of the online community. I’m heading home soon for the holidays. I will be sure to play “Better That I Know Myself” for her and see what she thinks about it šŸ™‚

  5. spilt_daydreams says:

    Thank you for this review! Each time I read a review I have to play the song again to try to hear all the nuances again. I liked it instantly. I hope it does well for him! šŸ˜€

  6. lissygurl says:

    Great review!

    Your past Adam sins are forgiven lol! I loved the song when I first heard it streaming, but once I got the HQ version from itunes dayum there were so many more nuances to hear, both the production and the vocals are just stellar. And Adam’s emotional delivery makes me really feel it, starkly honest without overemoting. Don’t even get me started on the lyrics, they legit kill me ded.

    This song is totes my new fave, I really hope you’re right about the winter timing being perfect for this type of song, cuz Adam’s really outdone himself on it.

  7. Leigh says:

    Great, well-written song – interesting lyrics – and an incredible singer – couldn’t ask for anything more. Yes, it IS Pop Heaven. Thanks very much for your honest review.

  8. Annie says:

    Thank you for the terrific review. I loved him from the first time he opened his mouth….With his talent in my opinion he deserves every success that comes his way.

    I love this song by the way….Love it more each time I listen to it…

  9. I enjoyed your take on Adam’s “Better Than I Know Myself” and happy that you have become a believer…in Adam. I love his new single as it beautifully showcases Adam’s amazing vocal talents. I’m praying there will be a concert tour this year because there is nothing in this world quite like Adam LIVE! Happy holidays and safe travels.

  10. atomom says:

    I’m always trying to measure Adam against the pop music landscape, and with vocal abilities being almost irrelevant to success, Adam knew he had to compete with a song that would hit the right ambiance and modern sound he was looking for. Claude Kelly should be given credit for the song, but as he acknowledges, you almost can’t recognize his demo version from what it eventually becomes with Adam’s vocals and the production from a great team. I must also admit that my heart fell when I first heard the demo, like so many others, we let out a collective scream “NOOOOO!!!” On hearing the song in its resurrection, my belief in Adam’s astute gifts is confirmed. Thanks for your honesty
    sharing your Adam journey and your review affirming our own instincts about this song,
    since we amateurs in music do not have the means to do a decent job of dissecting why this song is so effective. You are an astute one yourself.

  11. indigo says:

    Great article, Love Adam and every word that comes out of his mouth, HE CAN SANG, there is no one like him. He does have that hypnotic thing going on, he got that magic that comes from deepness of his heart, a beautiful soul.

  12. lking says:

    I enjoyed your review, and concur with your appreciation of a song that is new, yet has some old sensibilities. It has a little of everything going on in one song…interesting! and very refreshing. I also played BTIKM from your blog. I own the song, but seem compelled to play it wherever I find it.

    • Thanks so much!! I think a lot of the best modern music is referrential to the past! That`s what I loved so much about Kelly Clarkson’s newest album and I suspect “Trespassing” too will have a lot of 80’s and 90’s influence for some reason. His vocals just go back to those days because we cared so much about having gifted singers in the mainstream. I think music is getting back to rewarding talent.. I really hope so, anyway.

  13. Cheryl says:

    Lamberts Rule!

  14. Leslie says:

    Popmessiah, you’re kind of adorable, ya know? šŸ˜‰

    We Glamberts have a little saying…resistance is futile.

    BTW, you MUST see Adam perform live! It’s pretty much an out-of-body experience, mixed with a whole lotta fun!

    • Aww, *Bats eyelashes*. Do you really think so??

      Resistance is Futile, it’s true.. and I think Adam’s success is a big inidcation of that. He has a lot of fans that he’s simply won over by producing memorable songs and amazing vocals.

      I would definitely check out his live show if he was ever in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, not many artists come to my neck of the woods ;

      Thank you for the feedback šŸ™‚ I’m so appreciative!

  15. laurieb says:

    Great song..brilliant singer. Adam Lambert has such a beautiful voice..love him

  16. NAN says:


  17. Thanks so much Pop Gods for really listening to and appreciating Adam Lambert’s Better Than I Know Myself! I am also one that picks up something new every time I hear it. This song is addicting and replays in my head. Finally a song that has decent lyrics that are relatable. a hypnotic beat and best of all a voice that grabs you and doesn’t let go. Adam is truly gifted and able to sing any genre authentically. There remains a snobbish mentality that labels any artist that comes from American Idol or sings outside of a specific genre isn’t genuinely talented. Adam never fit the mold and was an accomplished, polished performer before being on Idol.He did it for the exposure, not lessons how to perform. People want to label and put him in a box, but he is so versatile and unique, he doesn’t fit any mold. I also agreee that it’s time for actual music with some meaning and melody. Adam brings excitement and surprise as well as a stunning voice and stage presence. What really comes thru’ is his honesty and fearlessness. His performance with Queen at the EMAs was a reminder of how powerful and thrilling a performance could be. He and Queen were first class, actual talent and real music! Thanks again for your insightful review! It’s very much appreciated!

    • Thanks so much, Sharon! I’ve learned so much from this post because I never knew that the “Glamily”/Glamberts/Fan-berts, etc. were such an enthusiastic and devoted group. I haven’t seen the performance with Queen but I’m going to remedy that immediately šŸ™‚ Thanks for reminding me šŸ™‚


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