Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Z100 New York

During his promo rounds in New York, Adam performed an acoustic WWFM and a plugged-in BTIKM at radio station Z100, with Kevin doing the instrumentals.

There's something a little dissonant with the guitar near the start of WWFM which makes me think it's not perfectly in tune, and a very rare flat note from Adam. This rocking rendition sounds quite different from any other WWFM so far, with his voice being harder and raspier than usual. For the first time in a while, he remembers all the lyrics and there's a lovely low change on 'You could save my life'.

Maybe it wasn't the guitar after all but a very dodgy sound mix as when we get to the BTIKM introduction, the synthetic drums sound like they come from a cheap toy that even five-year-olds would turn their noses up at. The beat is key to the song and without drums and bass, the amateur effect is quite comical, distracting from the intended mood. I hope that as funk features heavily on the album, this drum machine won't be used again. Better to go acoustic than sound like this plugged in. Perhaps it sounded much fuller live and it's just the recording. Anyway, when Adam's voice comes in, the little ants hammering on the hamster-sized drum kit take a back seat. Beautiful and sweet with that little bit of scrapeyness I love. The crescendo is another spine-tingling moment where he palms the air, tongue out, and his endearing glory-note lever of a leg rises up. The ending is simply divine.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Mix Megapol Showcase Stockholm

Peering out from the pile of media from Adam's European promo, we have an official recording from his acoustic showcase in Sweden though we're still agonisingly short of a full set. I'm hoping that once the album's out, the other songs will be posted. We have the same set as the other acoustic showcases of Fever, BTIKM, OOL, WWFM and Trespassing:

As I'm used to Fever being one for getting up and shaking it, the instrumentals seem a bit tame here. But it does mean we get to hear Adam's voice more clearly in its deliciously rich form. The climax is a highlight for the riff, even though it sounds a bit gargly-growly in the throat. It's a fantastic version and Kevin does a great job on keys with his jazzy free style.

As in the other recent acoustic sets, BTIKM is sung in an even lower key than the TV performances which in turn are lower than the single. I don't think the lowest notes here sound very assured but the voice is laid bare as the instrumentals are so quiet. Adam's rich velvety voice is a beauty though, and I'm thrilled that he continues to improvise and experiment with the melody on each performance. The crescendo is a very satisfying one and the ending a very tender one.

This OOL has such a quiet sombre start, so minimal and it would be wrist-slittily sad were it not for the building up into something powerful and defiant through the introduction of drums and other instruments. There's a beautiful a cappella section followed suddenly by a magnificent crescendo that's gasp- and goosebump-inducing. I love the way he sobs one of the last "Outlaws of lo-o-ove"s. Exquisite.

I really love the raspier tone of Adam's voice on this version of WWFM which features a couple of instances of lyric fail. It's the charming way he deals with it that's so endearing, also finding amusement in the fact that even after a few hundred performances he can still forget the words. Which he has done on each of the acoustic showcases on this promo tour! I guess it goes to show how much Adam has been focusing on this new era of songs. The ending is yet another unique one I haven't heard before.

Tommy's little funk riffs are a fabulous addition to this extremely cool performance of Trespassing. The claps don't feature quite as prominently as in some of the other performances, probably because everyone's hands are busy. Needless to say, Adam sings this flawlessly and fiercely. Like Fever though, I would've liked the instruments to have been a little louder as it's one for dancing to. It doesn't stop Adam though, who ends up on his feet. And so do I.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

BTIKM Music Video

Today, Adam's music video for Better Than I Know Myself was finally unveiled. We'd had a preview and a yellow-eyed still beforehand so we had an idea of what was in store for us, that the twist in the video was going to be Adam reconciling opposing sides of himself rather than singing to a partner.

The flickering gives it a home video feel where we're peering in on his private life through a letterbox aperture. The light and dark duality theme of the album pervades the video with two neighbouring rooms separated by a mirror/window. On either side we have evil hell-raising vampire Adam and cherubic cuddly domesticated Adam. We see the characters act out their separate parts, in a dark versus light, negative versus positive, masked versus bare, hard versus soft, stormy versus calm, action versus contemplation, destructive versus constructive, cold versus warm battle.

As Evil Adam increasingly acts up in a temper tantrum and starts to disturb Good Adam from his Zen, Good Adam tries to help but is frustrated that his efforts are thrown back at him, finally leaving it up to Evil Adam who then sets fire to the place in a self-destructive rage, depriving him of his life-force. It's only he who can save himself from himself, which he eventually does.

In the end, it says to me the power to be who we want to be is in our own hands, that people aren't black and white but have elements of both as depicted by Adam's in-between look with different coloured eyes (nod to Bowie? Also note the Trespassing visual reference as he passes the striped warning tape on the wire fence). This could personally apply to Adam the performer and Adam the person as well. It's something we've seen so often, going from the snarling predatory disdainful sex-magnet to the sweet wholesome cutie in a matter of seconds at the end of a performance.

This has many shades of the WWFM video in it, the acting more accomplished. It's interesting and engaging to see the different Adams with their expressions which are both fun to watch and easy to identify with. I have to say I'm much more drawn to the dark side, finding a vodka-guzzling mischief-making lairy night out on the lash with him much more appealing than having the homebody nurse me in my hangover state with his juicing. How many times have you re-watched him rip apart the pomegranate he hands himself, run his fingers through the lighter flame or throw his drink? It's a fascinating, fabulous and entertaining story for a video that I will watch again and again.