Thursday, 31 December 2009

Whataya Want From Me? Whataya Want From Me?

It's been another day of celebration as Adam's sales figures are much better than expected, having sold 62,000 copies of FYE this week, increasing the total US sales to 417,000.

Yesterday was the first time I'd been aware (thanks to my fellow Lambrits) of WWFM getting played on UK radio via BBC Radio 2's 'The class of 2009,' a show where Paul Gambaccini presented his choice of the breakthrough artists of 2009. For those who can't listen to the segment that starts at about 20:30, I've transcribed the comments:
“The year's best selling album by a UK artist in the US was 'I Dreamed a Dream' by Susan Boyle. This made a mockery of the year-end polls that attempt to predict who the stars of the following year are going to be, because at the end of 2008, Susan Boyle was on nobody's radar, not even the United States' early warning system. Her life and apparently ours, changed on the eleventh of April this year when she appeared on Britain's Got Talent. Within a week, her talent triumphs over prejudice video had been viewed millions of times around the world, and the 48 year old Scotswoman was a household name in America. Such is the power of modern media, and such is the influence of Simon Cowell. He is, in this phase of popular music history, the most significant single figure. There always is one, but usually it's an artist, like Elvis, the Beatles, or Michael Jackson. But beginning with Pop Idol, which he started with Simon Fuller of 19 Management, Cowell has built an empire of reality talent shows, that is the public's favourite mode of packaging and delivering ready-made, if usually short-term, pop stars. But no matter how strong his commercial sense, Simon can't control who the public votes for on his reality shows. This year, the two most obvious record-sellers came second. Susan Boyle lost to Diversity in the Britain's Got Talent final, and in the States, the dynamic Adam Lambert was beaten in American Idol by a more middle of the road artist, Kris Allen. Rarely am I musically impressed by reality show winners, but this year, both Lambert and Joe McElderry of X-Factor convinced me that they could have lengthy careers. Sure enough, when the new albums by Adam Lambert and Kris Allen were released at the end of the year, the man who made the top 10 debut was, Adam Lambert.
Whataya Want From Me?
Whataya Want From Me? by Adam Lambert. The young Californian came to prominence this year via TV, which has also been the medium that has made Ingrid Michaelson. Granted, it's been a little slower for Ingrid, but her method of exposure was to get her songs featured in drama series popular with young viewers such as Grey's Anatomy and One Tree Hill.”

As you can gather from the title, this post compares all the different versions of WWFM as I did for MW. I'd been holding out for a video of the Vevo performance of WWFM to turn up before making this post, but decided to go ahead because we might be in for quite a wait.

The debut performance of WWFM was a live one at The Early Show, a last-minute booking after the GMA cancellation. This was before the magnitude of the over-reaction of drama-queen proportions had really sunk in. Vocally it's very strong and has my favourite 'don't' high note to date, which he nailed better than in any others as it's both powerful and full of grit. When I watch it now, I feel a little different about the presentation than I did at the time. I think the sassy outfit and look is the one that's least suited to WWFM but works better for Music Again.

The David Letterman one was the next to be broadcast but was actually the first performance of WWFM. This was filmed shortly after the AMAs and just after the news that the GMA performance had been cancelled. It feels much less polished than The Early Show one and is my least favourite of them all. There's too much echo and the timbre of Adam's voice doesn't sound as pleasant or as well-controlled as usual, even shouty in places. Anger and passion over the AMA fall-out probably played a significant role in the delivery. The vocals and expressions remind me of BoW.

The Ellen performance came after a rather depressing week which may have influenced how I perceived it. It was sad and breathy with slightly dissonant backing vocals. More cancellations, tweets that seemed to show he was shaken enough to shift his direction and his crestfallen demeanour all made this the softest and most vulnerable of his performances.

The View came at a time when I was buoyed by the fact that Adam's recent critics all did a U-turn, in effect looking like idiots while spraying him with the fragrant scent of roses. This was my favourite set design and he was dressed all in black, merging into the background a little. The soft glow from the lighting gave it a floaty glam dream-like feel from a different era, much like the album cover. This wasn't the tightest but very solid and felt quite relaxed. Circumstances probably made me project an atmosphere of serenity to this rendition.

The mix on Conan sounds a little thin to me, and Adam didn't hit the 'don't' but there was the introduction of the beautiful falsetto 'me'. This is quite a physical performance where he's comparatively animated with his movements and expressions, clad in plenty of leather to add a little spice.

I was a little nervous going into SYTYCD because there had been a few shaky notes in each of the performances so far. I didn't need to be though, as its my favourite one. The instrumental mix sounds much better and the voice is at its most dynamic, with the inclusion of the falsetto and showing plenty of lightness and shade. This is a near-perfect vocal and the best visual performance with fitting expressions, and make-up and styling that represent the song very well.

The universally positive reception on SYTYCD I think must have contributed to the the most polished and assured rendition on Leno. With a casual, almost grungy look like a loner being left out in the cold, the visuals are my favourite out of all the talk shows and come a very close second behind SYTYCD. Vocally, it's the cleanest yet with a new, low 'Please don't give in' but with the omission of the falsetto that I love.

I still feel that the song lacks punch and excitement, but it has grown on me because it's a fitting narrative to Adam's real-life situation. It does help to really be able feel it as you sing. There is one thing that I miss from these performances though, and it's the 'Ahh' at the synth break that's included in the single which is beautifully tender. Being obsessive, I've tried overlaying the different versions and synching them up to play simultaneously. I have to say I'm very impressed that the band is very tight. The timings are all remarkably precise as every single one stays exactly in time from start to finish. Try it!

And just because it's available, I've also included Ferras's cover which makes me very excited to hear an acoustic version from Adam sometime:

Which version of WWFM do you like the most?


  1. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Letterman performance and please let me tell you why. I'm Italian, and here in Italy almost no one has heard of American Idol: Letterman is on Sky, though, and I like this show but usually skip the musical guest as I don't know the vast majority of them. When it was Adam's turn I was so distracted I didn't even catch his name, but when he began to sing he definitely caught my attention and I bought his cd from Amazon UK, here in Italy it isn't in the stores. I'm a rabid Lambert fan since this performance, and all it took was hearing the beautiful voice of Adam in one that wasn't even at his best.
    Sorry for the length of this comment and I'll shut up soon, but I just wish to say that all the haters that comment almost every article about Adam with pronostics on how his 15 minutes of fame are almost over are deluding themselves: I was brought on bord of the glittery alien spaceship not by media overexposure but just in virtue of his voice, that amazing, enthralling, powerful, magnificent voice.
    Happy 2010, Adam Bombed! I love your commentaries and I think you should collect them, in a 'zine, perhaps? Love, Kosh

  2. Now I know why you wanted to have Conan's video so much. :)
    I just love how you see things and how you always maintains your composure.
    You are an admirable person and you know I love you so much.

    ...are you blushing again? hehe. ;)

    Anyway, I like SYTYCD performance the most.
    I love his make-up, tight trousers, perfect vocal and of course the falsetto!!
    I can watch that video again and again. (and I do that every day.)

    This year went so fast. I hope next year will be an even better year for you.

    Love, bani

  3. WWFM isn't one of my favorite until recently. After all, who can resist Adam's live performance. To me, when I think of WWFM, I'll always remember the line, "It's me, I'm a freak." Adam seemed to emphasis various lines in various occasion. I guessed it depended on the emotional connection he had on that spot. In his earlier shows, it was more about "what do you want from me". And in the later ones, it was more about "I'm working it out". But it is the ME and the FREAK part keep bouncing in my head, which I have no idea why. May be it is because the soft and gentleness on that line.

    To me, WWFM is beautiful partially because Adam is making it special. I meant it is a marketable song, I know. But there are others in the album I wish it will have more exposure one day.

    Happy New Year to all Adam's fan in all around the world! AB, love your write up. Wish you have a good year! May we have all the sparkles & glitters in 2010!

  4. Happy New Year, my obsessed friend.....

    From your obsessed friend,


  5. Happy New Year to all!
    AB Thank you for this post. My Favorite WWFM has to be the Ellen performance. It is just so heart felt, and sounds like a plea. Adam just seems so vulnerable I get choked up every time I watch it.
    Let us raise our glass to a loving, healthy, prosperous new year.

    Kosh - Welcome to the Star Ship Adamprize.

  6. (from australia) happy new year AB! Adam just never seems to amaze me with his every performance!I agree that technically the SYTYCD version of WWFM is probably his strongest in many aspects, but I still want more! An acoustic version of WWFM from Adam would be interesting and suit the song. I want Adam to do some of his other songs from the Album! I guess my obsessiveness about Adam wants things to happen in a hurry. Can't wait to see a live version of SFWinners!

  7. Kosh, felice anno nuovo! E benvenuto al mondo di Adam! Please do not shut up! And thanks for coming to comment, it's wonderful to have someone here who's just discovered Adam. You are in for quite a thrill! Have you checked out all of the old performances? I think I'm pretty blind to all the haters these days. Adam's rare undeniable talent will always shine through in the end which will give him such staying power.

    bani, I do try to maintain my composure here but I make up for it by flailing everywhere else! It has to be a better year. Thanks for being here and for being such fun in helping us keep up with the Adam world.

    k65535, I hadn't really noticed the emphasis on the other parts of the song. For me, the best and most poignant part of the lyrics has always been 'I'm a freak, but thanks for loving me' which may be why I've always seen it as the focus. I'll have to listen to all of them again now!

    Lynn, best wishes for a bright new year with lots more fun obsessing over Adam!

    Adamspirit, the Ellen one is a very emotional one, and the one which brought on the strongest protective instinct, but I have trouble working out whether it was due to my feelings at the time because of everything that was happening.
    'Star Ship Adamprize' - Brilliant!

    From Australia, I know I'm a little late now, but happy new year to you too! Ooh I'm salivating at the prospect of hearing an acoustic set. In fact I'd most like to hear him in person a cappella without any kind of distortion through speakers. Some of the most beautiful clips of his voice I've heard are from the Idol mentor sessions where he's not singing through a mic. The wait is over for SFW!

  8. AB, thank you and Adamspirit for the warm welcome! Yes, of course I did check the AI performances, and I have to say that it was pretty surreal to watch them knowing the outcome in advance.
    I tried to watch the AI S8 episodes in all entirety, but after a few of them I began to find the difference between Adam's talent and the rest of the contestants so vast that it was frankly almost embarrassing to watch. Luckily someone compiled all the Adam's parts in one documentary called the Adam Lambert American Idol Journey! I have to say that the Powers That Be are missing an opportunity not releasing a DVD...
    They were all stunning, and it's hard to name favourites: Satisfaction reminded the world why sex'n rock are synonyms, and I understood the edge in the BOW performance better after I read about the media brouhaha. I didn't initially "get" the ROF performance, but then I fell in love with the sheer ballsiness and temerarity Adam displayed in this. A standing ovation for TOMT: it melted me in a puddle of goo! PTFM was fun, no praise is enough for MW, BTBW was wild, and one of my closest male friends melted with "If I can't have you". My heart stopped at FG and WLL. The rest of the final pale in confront of the magnificence of "A change is gonna come", that I also loved when sung in the full glittery regalia of the Zodiac show version.
    Love and wishes for a splendid and sparkly 2010 from Kosh.

  9. OMFG Justin Hawkins has tweeted your video to Adam!!! Go to AWoP to see it!!!! Congrats, darling!!!

  10. Kosh, there's such a treasure trove of Adam performances out there which is thankfully going to increase in size. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that it's the same person doing both the Hebrew concert and the Zodiac show. It's his range which keeps me continuously fascinated. I think my favourite Idol performance is still RoF though.
    A wonderful 2010 to you too!

    maddie, thank you! I can't believe it! So freaking happy about it still! WOOOOOOHOOOOO!!!