So, flist, there's this guy. You might have heard of him. He sings. Dear flist, can I tell you about the joy Adam Lambert will bring you? Here, have a pamplet.
The thing is that he's actually a complete sweetheart. In interviews he unfailingly comes across as sweet and funny and talented and versatile and media-savvy and genuine and loyal and charismatic and kind (and a little dippy sometimes- please, Adam, stop talking about astrology- but that's all part of the charm). He is truly a gem of a human being, which is why I love him- just singing isn't enough for me.
But let's make one thing clear: He sings very, very, very well. How about if we take a little video journey together?
Start with one of his earliest rounds of American Idol auditions, where he sings CHER- freakin CHER, he walks as a complete unknown onto the stage of a very conservative singing competition, holds his head high while judges tell him he's too Broadway, says "I can" with heartbreaking intense earnestness, and then sings freakin CHER like a freaking TORCH SONG with that freakin gorgeous SOARING voice of his.
It's worth mentioning that at this point a whole bunch of pictures came out (the other pretty one is Brad. We'll come back to him). So there's some "Is America ready for a gay idol" crap, and Bill O'Reilly even gets in on it.
And he sings Black or White, in a performance that starts fine but soon turns unpolished, angry, so emotionally raw that the middle bridge hurts a little to watch. I remain convinced that he thought this was it- that he thought this would be his last performance on a national stage, that he thought that after a decade of struggling in theater and being rejected in Hollywood and after a month of auditions for AI, that he was getting voted off and this was his last chance to say something. It's the only explanation for the way he seems on the verge of tears during the judging.
Then comes Ring of Fire, which sort of breaks my brain. I hate it as music, but from a performance-as-artifact crafting-of-image angle it makes the crunchy meta part of my brain jump up and down like a six year old on crack. It's one of the earliest hints of his fabulous playfulness on stage. The very audacity of it is tongue-in-cheek and self-affirming, and it's the first instance of him coding his body as deliberately and overtly sexual, and it's not my style of music and it's a little baffling but I also kind of love it a lot.
And then, after weeks and weeks of showing up on primetime TV in black eyeliner? He strips off his eye makeup for the first time in order to sing a song about metaphorical makeup. Oh, Adam. It's too late at night for me to even articulate the ways this makes me happy.
Then, just to round the whole thing out, he proves himself to be a rock star. Look, the guy sang Led Zep, and he sang it better, and freakin SLASH was impressed by him, and watching him wear that leather jacket and vamp with that mic stand and hit that crazy pose during the guitar solo... I just. I can't even. ROCK STAR.
It's at this point that I'm utterly sold on him, so the rest of this post is just a link-dump, okay?
Feeling Good (live, studio), in which he takes a happy-go-lucky rat pack song and makes it absolutely carnal and looks good doing it. Mad World- the haunting pretty one everybody likes. Slow Ride duet just because Allison is adorable and I love her. One- I honestly have a hard time remembering what my life was like before I heard him do this (live, but the studio one is better- he respects the song a little more). Cryin, in which he is totally as much of a rock star as Steven Tyler. A Change is Gonna Come. A performance with Kiss. And... I think that's everything worth linking too.
He's put out a thing that (to my sadness) is more dance-pop than rock and roll, but it's got a lot of tracks to love- the awesome For Your Entertainment (truly hilarious but amazing video, good meta on why it's fantastic), a really well written pop thing that might be about love but is mostly about his struggle to deal with newfound fame and his own politicization as an artist (video that is, adorably, shot in second person, live acoustic), a song that manages to simultaneously scratch my itch for rock and Adam's itch for adorably gratuitous high notes (studio, more restrained live acoustic), a highly singable dance number penned by Lady Gaga (studio, adorably playful live), a song about an acid trip, a thing written by Matt Bellamy from Muse, and- just to round out the links here- a mediocre but lyrically interesting song about the gay agenda, his current singable pop single, two more rock, two more mellow, and two more dance tracks (one of which includes the line "and all the girls in the club want to know / where did all their pretty boys go?" This line will never not be funny. Yes, Adam, you get all the pretty boys, even the ones who came with the girls. We get it).
Queer-wise, he came out in Rolling Stone, gave a lengthy and soul-baring and good-natured two part interview to Out Magazine, was not at fault in the kerfuffle when the editor of Out was an asshole, kissed a pretty boy at the AMAs and then blithely called the media out on the double standard, and performed at the GLAAD media awards. Other than that, he has mentored this season's idol contestants, planned a summer tour, done lots of press and one-off performances, and generally been fabulous. (He wore a kilt in Scotland and a spiky codpeice for Mardi Gras. Oh, you think I'm joking.)
Your moment of zen:
Remember I mentioned Adam's playfulness on stage? In this performance, Adam takes Led Zep's Whole Lotta Love and turns it into a seven minute long bluesy acoustic experiment.
Watching this is like becoming an Adam fan in microcosm- you spend the first fifteen seconds going "Dear god, what is he wearing?" (Answer: inexplicable leggings, drapes, thirty seven peices of chunky silver jewelry, and some peacock feathers. Oh, Adam), then the next fifteen seconds going "Oh, huh, he can sing." After that, if you just stick with it- just go with the weirdness and allow yourself to be charmed by his improv playfulness and seduced by his voice- by the end he'll leave you feeling drugged and blissed out and fucked in the very best way.
Let's pause to point out that Adam is totally gorgeous.
So who does he get shipped with?
Kris Allen is the American Idol winner. He's an itty-bitty deeply adorable Christian boy from Arkansas, who seems to be quite genuinely one of the world's all time Nicest People. He and Adam shared a room in the Idol house for a few months, were BFFs, hugged a lot, and then Adam told Rolling Stone he had a crush on Kris. More details to be found here, including the slashiest quotes ever, the fingernail story, and animated gifs of their Epic Hugs.
I don't ship them, because Kris is married, and because it seems like Adam deserves a guy who's out, and because their friendship just seems so wonderful and sweet and adorable and perfect that I don't want it messed with, but lots of people do and there's good fic.
Since I don't ship them, I tend to read friendship fic, or really emotionally ambivalent fic, or total AU, or fics where their situation changes really drastically to allow the ship to work. Let's do one of each, shall we?
Best first fic to read: Haters to the Left by buffyx, a Kris POV fluffy friendship fic that got me inside his head, made him feel like an actual person to me, made it click for me how his friendship with Adam might look to him without a sexual component.
Points for emotional complexity: Like Gasoline by , in which Adam made a sex tape, and Allison is wonderful, and nothing is easy or clear.
Cutest total AU: Boys Keep Swinging by eleanor_lavish, adorable boarding school romcom!
Extra points for hitting my kinks: The Rescue Blues by phaballa. Amnesia! What more do I need to say?
***Plotty thematic masterpiece: House of the Living by astolat. I could write a whole huge long many paragraph rec for this all by itself. It's crack played straight (the top ten American Idols trapped in a zombie outbreak), and the first half is perfectly entertaining zombie horror. But then halfway through something changes, and you realize the story is beautiful and complex and does a lot of serious thematic heavy lifting. It has deft worldbuilding with a light touch, making a story about fame and politicization, but at the core it's a heartwrenching window on post-traumatic stress, and the scars of violence, and the urge to speak out, and the way that sometimes an experience changes you so much that you can't go home again. Made me cry. Twice.
BONUS! Single fic on the entire internet that best captures the joy of Glam fandom: Winner Take All by astolat. This is cheerful slapstick porn made of sheer glee. It is, basically, an exposition of the two Core Tenets of Glambert Fandom, namely 1: Adam is a sex god and everyone wants him, and 2: OMG, how FUCKING FABULOUS is Adam Lambert's LIFE?
Brad Bell is the tiny, ethereally pretty (in a delicate, big-eyed, high-cheekboned sort of way) boy in all those scandalous pics of Adam. He seems to be on a quest to take over the world through Twitter, snarky adorable sarcastic wacky YouTube vids, and sheer sparkle. He's made some dance music of his own, with videos that are fantastically hilarious in an endearing sort of way. I have a crush on him.
He and Adam dated for quite a while before AI. Adam has called him "my soulmate," "the love of my life," and "the only person I've ever been in love with" multiple times, and talked about how his time with Brad was his first actual relationship and absolutely formative for him. As pictoral evidence shows, they partied hard in Hollywood. They went to Burning Man together (and Adam got high and had an epiphany and loved the world). It's not clear why they broke up, though fanfic has spun good narratives around the stress of mutually stalled careers and/or being just way too much alike. Adam took Brad as his date to the GLAAD event and now seems to be hanging out with him all the freaking time. There is, shall we say, a certain latitude for tin-hatting, but there's also a really fantastic friendship to work with.
Fic includes wrangling with their history, wacky sparkly hijinks, pre-AI fluff, smoking hot porn, and getting-back-together angst.
Wacky sparkly hijinks: Close Encounters by stele3, featuring Adam's awesome brother Neil, who did in fact coin the phrase glittery alien from planet Fierce.
Pre-AI fluff: nomenclature by winterlive
Smoking hot porn: Houndstooth and Grey by littlemousling. Prompted by an actual Twitter exchange, which makes me go "Where did all the fourth walls go?" Brad does that to me a lot, actually.
Getting-back-together angst PLUS smoking hot porn: Getting Near Dawn by astolat. About the GLAAD media awards, where Adam and Brad met Johnny Weir- the outsider POV takes something that could have been too painful to read and makes it bearable and interesting and really fucking hot.
***Wrangling with their history: Wizard Not Included by phaballa. This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. It's Brad and Adam in the past, and Kris and Adam's friendship in the present. It's learning to love yourself and be okay with being single, except that makes it sound like a horrible cliche, which it isn't. It's endings, and beginnings, and moving forward, and carrying on; it's learning to accept what you can't have and value what you do have and fight for what you need; it's needing to be accepted, and offering that acceptance to others, and learning how to recognize it and take it when it's offered to you; it's understanding that you have been changed by every person who has ever truly touched you, and that you are the sum of your history and will carry your past with you everwhere you go. It's melancholy and hopeful and beautiful and I love it.
***Getting-back-together angst: yesterday upon the stair by phaballa. This fic is... not entirely kind in its characterization of Brad, but it is keen and sharp and true-feeling. It is also an absolute triumph of voice- In a story about cliches, about living them and recognizing yourself in them, for good or for ill, this character voice manages to unerringly find the human being beneath the trope. Brad lives a pose of world-weary cynicism and oh-so-hip ironic detachment, and the slow unraveling of the veil, his frightening and difficult and brave and entirely ordinary effort to step out from behind that wall, is handled with delicacy and, I think, great empathy.
Tommy Joe Ratliff is Adam's bass player, and also the guy he kissed at the AMAs. He is exactly Adam's type- tiny and delicate and pretty and looks incredibly good in lipstick. The line of his jaw leaves me seriously distracted. I am wildly hot for him.
Tommy is a tidge older than Adam (despite looking like the best kind of barely legal), and he is a hilariously dudely inarticulate Valley-girl slutty rock star with a crazy mancrush on Adam (this is TRUFAX, trust me). They pull on-stage hijinks that are VERY pretty but do not quite rise to the level of bandom's occasionally skeevy stage-gay. They keep getting photographed being all touchy offstage too. Adam took Tommy on vacation to Cabo. Tommy wore a corset. They Twitter-flirt. They quote Velvet Goldmine to each other. Adam calls Tommy "glitterbaby." Tommy keeps getting photographed wearing Adam's accessories. This is what Tommy looked like when Adam complimented his new haircut.
Draw your own conclusions.
Fic consists of an abundance of really hot porn, interminable tenuously characterized AU WIPs (some of these are good, but still), and cringe-inducing "Tommy's big gay freakout" stories. I remain hopeful that the situation will improve. (The porn situation, on the other hand, I am totally down with.)
An example of the really hot porn category: Staged by ruby_fruit. The essential stage-gay fic, complete with super hot Bowie/Ronson antics and a final sex scene that's so mind-blowing I can't even cope.
***The exception to everything bad I just said: Drive-By Devotion by astolat, which she says was "inspired by the extreme dude-ness of Tommy's myspace comments." It's sort of a brilliant experiment in character voice- Tommy is crude and inarticulate and oblivious in the most endearing possible way. I suspect the whole thing was a shaggy-dog story to get to the line "And fuck all that macho bullshit anyway. So what if he was the girl, it was fucking awesome to be the girl." The entire fic is a series of blistering hot sex scenes with only the barest, most perfectly-chosen snatches of exposition to tie them together, and because Tommy is so incredibly inarticulate, it's an absolutely gorgeous example of characterization via sex scene- really very impressive writing. Plus, it features Adam in full on sweetheart-caretaker-top mode without compromising his aggressive sexuality, so... hot, but also emotionally compelling.
I leave you with the very best Adam thing I've never seen anybody link to:
This entry was originally posted at http://dragojustine.dreamwidth.org/11774