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June 30, 2010

Hole, Adam Lambert and the Washington Post's Click Track blog

A couple of my comrades over at the Washington Post's Click Track music blog are having a field day with their reviews of Hole and Adam Lambert. Have you read them yet? You need to. Both reviews are hilarious, and the comments sections are wilder still.

I was laughing so hard at the ridiculousness of it, I had tears in my eyes. Nice jobs, David and Chris. Ditto to the hundreds of peeved/pleased commenters.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:57 PM | | Comments (45)


I just went through the comments after the Lambert review. They have to be a joke, right? Adam is so "utterly, totally, unbelievably HOT that he had the audience (both men and women)in a complete state of delirium?" He's greater than Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury? He gave the greatest performance in history? They're demanding that the reviewer be fired? My sides hurt from laughing so hard. Who knew middle-aged ladies in crocs and glitter could be so crazy? But seriously, with fans like that Lambert is going to become the biggest joke in the music industry. I feel bad for him.

Ryan - Obviously you have not been to an Adam Lambert concert. Try it before you pass judgement. Wouldn't it be nice if people actually knew something before blabbering on? It is so easy to diss older women. You are a coward on all counts.

@ Ryan Your a douche...

Careful, Ryan, you're poking the hornet's nest ...

The Hole review was fabulous, probably better than the trainwreck of a show Courtney Love put on. It was accurate and sharply written. The Adam Lambert review, on the other hand, was apparently written by someone who was not there. Be critical all you want but at least have a clue what you are talking about. Chris phoned that in, and his editors ought to have noticed that. Apparently Chris has decided to do a Jayson Blair and torpedo his career, all because of Adam. That's love. And that's stupid of WaPo to have let that happen.


Who's Adam Lambert?

Anybody that would find themselves in a state of delerium over a singer, any singer, has a screw loose. Adulation and uncritical love of a complete stranger? What causes that in people?

He may be talented but he's no Phish.

I don't believe for a minute that the blogger from the WaPo was even at the concert. If he was,he went in with the 'review' already written and just filled in the blanks after the concert. I don't believe that the naysayers (Adam non-fans) coming to his defence were at the concert either. If this is true,then who has more credibility? In my world,it would have to be the people who ACTUALLY attended the concert. Oh,and the Youtube videos totally discount Chris' account,btw. Mr. Lambert was in top form that evening,both vocally and visually!!

Y'know, just because somebody's a good singer doesn't mean their music, songs, or interpretation is any good. Plenty of singers end up with lesser careers because of inferior material.

And, it's okay to like bad music, everybody has different taste. I like all kinds of music, including stuff that other people don't like. I don't take it personally if they think something I like is bad, and I feel free to have the opinion that something they like is bad. I'm not so wrapped up in fantasy world that I take criticism of an artist as a personal attack on me.

Instead of getting so defensive (protesting too much) about a complete stranger, how about accepting that your taste in music might not be that good?

I'd also think that the most objective review should be written not by a "fan", but by a music reviewer with no previous disposition to especially like the performer over any other performer.

The Washington Post review was way off. I am an Adam Lambert fan but I'll be the first to admit when he sucks. He sucked at the American Music Awards... his vocals were over the place. But at the concert in DC, which I attended, Adam Lambert's vocals were on-point... excellent. Now if he didn't like the costumes, the "glam", I understand that. This guy really made it seem like people weren't enjoying the concert (holding ears) and that couldn't be more off the mark. Just find some concert clips on youtube as judge for yourself.

I appreciate what you are trying to say @Gumby. However, a critic has a responsibility to convey an experience in the least biased way. If he found the music too loud,that's his experience. If he doesn't like Mr. Lambert's music,that'sOK too. He's not for everyone. To insinuate that Adam had people plugging their ears is just plain mean and unfounded. The most arguable point is that most of the people who are responding to his critique were at the concert and are relaying their contrary experiences. Are so many in the majority wrong? The people responding on Mr. Richard's behalf were not at the concert,they're merely responding...well...because. The overall message would be that Mr. Richards went out of his way to convey a conflicting experience,perhaps even by fudging some of the accounts. His blog was mean-spirited to say the least. I'm not sure if Chris R. is the type of 'critic' who should be writing about music. His lack of objectivity was clear in his harsh words and Adam's fans are simply calling him out on that!!

Opinions. We all have them. The only facts being presented are by Adam Lambert's fans because they follow him closely. Every show he has had this far has been sold out. We are talking about thousands of seats in 11 concerts. Sounds like a large majority of people aren't agreeing with you Chris. I have heard Adam sing and my opinion is that he is every bit as good as Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury. Your opinion is he is like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. Statements like that are so off the mark that they totally invalidate the rest of your opinion piece. .

Anyone who stirs up as much excitement and frenzy as Adam Lambert ... including reviews that are OVER THE TOP (over-writer), means the guy is making headlines! He's a new artist with a wonderful voice who appeals to a wide range of people. Thanks, Adam, for an awesome performance at the 9:30 Club. We all had a great time!

Sam Sessa has man boobs.

Is fiction writing part of a music review? If the answer is yes, Mr. Richard's review of Mr. Lambert's performance is pure fiction. I agree with some of the comments that Mr. Richard should change jobs and in my opinion he will go far as a fiction writer.

Apparently, the WP's reviewer is a wannabe singer - someone posted his alter ego as Ris Paul Ric - or maybe Ric Paul Ris - whatever. His pathetic warblings are said to be on youtube. Let's all post about his performance - that should be a gas. (If I were a singer, I'd be pissed listening to Lambert, too - his talent is so outta reach for wannabees like Richard.)

Chris Richards inferred "like nails on a blackboard" was said by the AI judges about Adam, but, fact is the words they used were "outstanding""incredible""flawless""always in the zone""Impeccable"- so it must be Chris quoting him/herself in order to make Adam look like a bad singer when in fact he is an "outstanding " singer. If I never heard of Adam and only read Chris Richards' review, I would quickly lose interest. That makes his/her review almost libelous. I'll back that up because all the songs can be heard on youtube and his singing is pitch perfect, flawless !! Add to that the fact Chris Richards also said people put fingers in their ears because of his singing when the truth is it was done because of the people around them screaming Adam's name and cheering.hurt their ears. Let's all the insulting Adam's fans, and last : we have moved past racism in referring to singers, we no longer say :"the black singer John Doe" lets rid our culture of the homophobic "the openly gay singer John Doe". It is 2010,Chris Richards is out of line, as are bigotry in the media from other sources as well -it is not from educated well informed professionals -it is usually from the ilk like Chris Richards who is more interested in being asinine, sorry, cute than about the topic or person being discussed.

Why is it now appropriate to make fun of women for expressing their viewpoint? Anyone who can sell out a string of concerts in this horrific ecomony is making a statement. If a reviewer legitimately doesn't like a performance, it is her/his option and duty to write an opinion. Where the controversy comes in play is when the reviewer is so negatively or positively opinionated that the review is meaningless. In this case, the Washington Post writer clearly had preconceived and--yes, perhaps--homophobic bias against Mr. Lambert. Having attended his concert, I can attest to the fact that the seats are filled by all age groups of both sexes. His fans are not just women with "crocs and glitter" as one rude writer commented. The performance and vocal display were brilliant. I am old enough to have seen some of the greatest performers, and I believe Mr. Lambert is in that category. Enough said.

Proof that either the Washington Post blogger was not really at that concert or he is absolutely tone deaf. He was spot on with the sequins though, so I have to go with the latter... or could it simply be hate?

RE: People plugging their ears while Adam sang... Only those NOT "in the know" would think covering ones ears is an insult. Exactly the opposite! Anyone who's ever been to a concert where the screaming made it impossible to hear the singer/music just MIGHT have discovered that by holding your hands over your ears - for some reason - it filters out the screaming and allowsyou to actually HEAR the music/singing that's coming over the sound system. If Chris Richards saw people covering their ears, chances are they had discovered this old secret and were the only ones in the venue who could actually hear Adam's singing. I've been doing this since I discovered it at a Beatles concert in 1965. It works people!!

Chris Richards a.k.a. Ris Paul Ric was actually referring to his own performance at the 9:30 Club when he looked out in the audience and saw people putting their fingers in their ears because of how awful HE sounded! Richards is so jealous of Adam Lambert's success because HE has been relegated to writing stupid reviews instead of enjoying sold out events like Adam is doing! Don't believe me? Check out Ris Paul Ric's "Purple Blaze" and performance at the 9:30 Club on youtube!

I just can't with this entry and comments.

The problem with the review is he's insulting to the fans that attended, and is making claims that are patently false. I also attended that concert, and I can tell you there was a much more diverse crowd then what's implied. Also he should have talked to the concert goers afterwards to hear they're take on things. I also had my fingers stuck in my ears at certain points, and I guarantee you it wasn't because I didn't like Adam's voice. It had to do with the speaker system, and the loudness of the bass, and drums. Adam was phenomenal, as was Allison, and Orianthe. If he had just spoken about his own experience that would've been fine, but his review was obviously extremely biased, and incorrect.

@BC Exactly

@JTK Please don't let me down

@EveryoneElse Really? [Redacted for jerky-ness. I'll come back after coffee, ha]

Mr. Richards job was to present objective criticism, which like it or not, is what it is. Therein lies the problem. His review is riddled with falsehoods and misrepresentations. He failed to take into consideration the falsehoods are easily be disproven by the performance videos. Anyone interested in the truth can find it easily on You Tube. Fans have been outspoken in their support of other artists in the past. Its what Fans do, and Adam has particularly supportive, loving and loyal fans. Sorry, but I don't see that as a bad thing.

I have to admit that the comments are so much more fun and better written than the review. Adam's fans are all ages, all races, all orientations and are there to have fun and share the love with him. I have no idea what Mr. Richards was doing that night, but it certainly was not attending the concert with us. There are videos of every song from every sold out concert on YouTube and whoever cares to can watch them and judge for him/herself. Adam is the first to say that his music is not for everyone, but even those who do not like his music admit the BOY CAN SING!
Adam is on an amazing journey and we are all enjoying the ride with him. No one deserves it more.

I agree with you. The Adam non-fans might do themselves a favour as well if they view many Youtube vids. Afterall they seem intent on sticking up for Mr. Richards depite having not attended the concert and seeing for themselves.

Mr. Richards comments came across as a personal biased vendetta piece. You don't have to like Mr. Lambert in order to tell the truth. I have read other critiques from critics and non-fans who,while admitting Adam wasn't their 'cuppa',had to admit the man has talent. That is why Chris Richards' account is laughable and not credible. It doesn't makes sense or add up to the majority of people who were at the same venue.

Mr. Richards went out of his way to project his negative feelings toward Adam on the public....and I believe to harm his reputation.....fortunately those who know Adam's past, credentials,talent,skill....
will do whatever they have to in order to debunk Mr. Richards so-called 'opinion' piece!!

sessa- you actually got paid for this non-article?
Ryan- thanks for quoting me. I consider it a compliment that what I said got you so riled up. Going apoplectic that a gay man could get such a reaction from women? Given that you're probably a balding, fat loser living in your mother's basement, that stands to reason.For the record, I am no middle-aged woman in crocs and glitter. The only women with glitter I saw was on the two twentysomethings who flew in from Holland to see the show. Lambert will continue his rise to fame and you will continue to post your asinine comments from the safety of your mother's basement.

why cares that Lambert has some older fans? He does but so does every other singer, why is it negative? He has older men fans too, no body makes a big deal out of that? He really, truly has fans in all age groups, I find it remarkable, that so many different types of people come together, to celebrate music, Every Lambert fan I've personally have meet has been under 25 myself included...I feel bad that, people want to put down older women, because they want to attend a concert, they are people like every one else, in fact they raised you men, why would you hate on them? ageism and sexism at its finest.

But to be honest, I saw pictures, that was a very young crowd at the club, teens women, men, lesbian, gays, straights, black, white from the twitter feed. I'm sorry, Lambert indeed does have some passionate fans, but that critic, did adlib on some things, even the "straight" men said they enjoyed the show.

opinions are okay, as a reviewer, that's is your job, but he implied, things about the audience, that were not true. I like my reviewers objective and honest, even if its not their cup of tea.

To quote Lambert " No matter you skin color, age, sexuality, and religion..we can all party together." Its a sentiment I believe in.

@pip -- Hey, slow it down. What do you want from me?

My new album drops this month, Sligh-aholics!

No matter you skin color, age, sexuality, and religion, we can all party together.

Jeez...this was the first I had heard of Adam Lambert. The review wasn't really that negative in my opinion. He basically wrote an amusing review about a show where the performer had a lot of talent and potential but where the reviewer found some things a little campy or cliche. No biggie, right? The comments were like someone had the nerve to suggest "Twilight" wasn't the best book ever at a Hot Topic store. Those people pile on so fast it's hilarious. They think this dude is like the most amazing thing ever and how dare you insinuate that he is anything but perfect! I checked it out on Youtube and's OK. Nothing really new though.


You sound a bit riled up yourself. I find it hard to believe that Adam Lambert could be more entertaining than your comments about him. Lambert's fans are upstaging him. The reaction to this review continues to be highly amusing.

derpydoo hit the nail on the head.

I also looked at the youtube videos - the guy's got a very good voice and good stage presence, if you're into that style. At the end of Whole Lotta Love he does some screechy stuff, but I think that's kind of an homage to Robert Plant's howls on the Zeppelin originals.

You have to admit though that's it's not the most original style of music, pushing any creative boundaries or anything. It's safe and nice and perfectly happy for people who aren't too demanding of their musicians, but like "a good show". Nothing wrong with that, and again, he's got a very good voice.

It's exactly right that his fans' reactions to some pretty mild criticism are so over-the-top that they're almost stereotypical. Like girls screaming The Beatles to where they can't even hear the music, because the boys are soooo dreamy, getting so defensive over an absolute stranger is a little strange.

@Sam Sessa... I've thought about your opening comments several times. The fans are not objecting to a critique, but rather the lies contained therein. You, however, find the review "hilarious." Let's hope if, or when, someone prints out and out lies and distortions about you that you find it equally hilarious. Obviously you can't understand outrage over dishonesty because you, yourself, put no value on honesty. Sad.

Of course @Pokey, the masses should rely on a critique that offers no insight to the actual show and take the word of someone who has nothing remarkable or nice to say about an artist he knows nothing about. No homework for him,and yet he's relying on the 'newbies' and people like yourself to hang off every word he maliciously delivers. Then he sends the 'critique' out to the masses,gets an overwhelming response from actual concert goers who disagree with the his rambling assessment,and all of a sudden the writer and the defenders,who weren't even there,know more about Mr. Lambert and are 'righter' for some reason?

You obviously don't like Lambert. We do. We get him,his talent,his theatricality,his voice. How can you possibly keep posting that we,the fans,are wrong and the writer is right? 95% + posters saw a completely different show and are simply stating their experiences. Why do you care anyway?? We disagree with the writer fabricating the facts. Lies aren't a problem to some people unless they are made about them. Then their tunes change. As @Carolyn mentioned,it's more about the fabricated content of Mr. Richards' ' critique' that is under fire,more than his 'opinion'/slight/biased piece.

Are all Lambert fans this unreasonable? An opinion isn't right or wrong, it's just an opinion. It's a matter of opinion whether Lambert's singing is enjoyable or not and the WaPo guy didn't like it. As I recall, Simon Cowell didn't like Lambert's rendition of Ring Of Fire either so he's got company. Lambert's fans seem to think this critic is biased but fans aren't exactly unbiased, are they? The term "fan" is short for fanatic, which is a point well taken after reading the overreaction of Lambert's fans to this review.

@hmmm - Where did you get that I don't like him? I'm not a fan specifically, but I said he's got a very good voice and good stage presence. And there's nothing wrong with his music and songs, they just don't strike me as exceptional IMO, that's all. Not bad in the least, but not freaking amazing either. Nowhere did I imply that I didn't like him. He really does have a killer voice.

When I read a restaurant review, I don't want it written by somebody that's already predisposed to be a fan of the restaurant. Same with a car review, movie review, book review, anything review. In fact the best reviews tend to be approached skeptically, with the onus on the artist/car/restaurant to win the reviewer over.

That reviewer wasn't won over, but he said some complimentary things - that he had charm, was affable, that his voice was powerful, and even like a superpower that he was still learning to control.

You guys pillory this reviewer like he's insulted your kids or something. I don't understand that "personalization" part - Adam Lambert is an abject stranger, you have no relationship with him, and why would you care even if somebody tears him up or lies about him? You like what you like, right, and I assume don't care what other people think.

I'm not saying I'm right and you're wrong. I'm saying you all are not being objective about an artist that you like a lot, and are taking it personally when a reviewer criticizes him.

And you're right hmmm, I really don't care either way, I just find it psychologically interesting is all. Everybody likes different stuff, and that makes the world go 'round.

This blog post should be about the Who's Bad show from last Saturday. They rocked the 9:30, people were buck wild! Courtney Love & Adam Lambert can go make some ugly, flaming babies.

Age: the last great bastion of discrimination. The writer wants to mock a singer for having older fans. Buddy: you're headed there, so let's see if you still have opinions about music when you're over 40. I suppose in your world, when someone attains 40, they are suddenly stupid, have no opinions, and have less wisdom after many life experiences. Okay. Gotcha!

I find it interesting that a lot of people who are posting "opinions" here were not at the Adam Lambert concert. Their opinions are about a critic's right to criticize an artist (who wouldn't agree?) and the ridiculousness of over zealous fans (okay, with you on that, too.). I was at the concert and I did read the review. I agreed with many of the objections that were posted. The reviewer did not just "critique" the performance, he misrepresented what the vibe in the room was and the reaction of the crowd. The music was too loud, I agree. I also think the sound mix was not good and Lambert had to compete with guitars to be heard (guitars will always win). BUT, I saw a crowd that was ecstatic about the performance, enjoying themselves and wanting more. I heard an amazing voice and saw a high energy, tongue in cheek, kitchy, campy performance. Adam knows his schtick deserves an eye roll from those who don't "get" the campy glammy thing. The reviewer doesn't get it. But, for any of you who believe that the best way to summarize the Whole Lotta Love encore is to say that people had their hands in their ears (simply and blatantly untrue-was the reviewer still there?), you should just go to youtube and listen. No denying the incredible voice and crowd reaction. Forget the misrepresentation, watch the performance, and judge for yourself. I am not a crazed fan, but this guy did need to be called out for the tone of his review and the lack of positive reporting. If he simply watched the crowd and reported what he saw, people who were reading would have a better picture of how the concert was received. And, by the way, it is not Adam Lambert's fault that he has so many intense fans. The reviewer could say, "I didn't think what I heard warranted the adulation Lambert received", etc. So, I won't say how much I thoroughly enjoyed the concert (and I did) because my comment will be dismissed as someone who doesn't want the artist to be critiqued. I do want to read a real critique- with positives, negatives and good reporting on what the experience seemed to be for the majority of people in the room. This reviewer did not attempt to do that, and in being somewhat snarky in his tone he did not write a balanced review.

All I can say is I was there in DC that night and Chris's review is inaccurate and I'd bet he wasn't even there.

I own no glitter or crocs on but I do have great taste in music and I brought that with me. I was blown away by Adam's vocals. It brings you near tears to hear some of those notes. No auto tune for this master signer.

Reviewers need to get printed we get that but to be dishonest is not what we need. I cancelled my Post sub. long ago and now I can see why.

It gets tiring to see reviews get their rock off by slamming this kid to get hits on their site. No integrity all.

I read these posts and was reluctant to add my comment because it seems that the people with the strongest feelings post them, and then everyone says the fans are unreasonable or crazy. I am not a crazy fan, I have broad musical tastes and go to a lot of concerts in many genres. I was at the concert and felt that the review was unnecessarily negative and did not represent what I saw and heard. I agree with some previous posts that the sound mix was not good. Adam Lambert's clear and powerful MUSICAL voice was mixed into the loud fuzzy guitar "backing" on some songs and it interfered with the delivery of the song. But that didn;t happen on most songs and it didn't bother most fans, who were screaming, dancing, singing along and wanting more. In fact, the only "noise" I heard was the screaming of people around me. THAT made me want to plug my ears a few times. Adam Lambert delivered a masterful entertaining concert in my opinion. But if the reviewer disagrees with the quality of the concert, he is still obligated to provide the context and report on how much the crowd approved. It was not a balanced review, no matter what the critic's opinion was.

This review was unfair in so many ways. i wasn't even an Adam Lambert fan until I went with my sister to 9:30 club concert. Nails on a chalkboard? People covering their ears? The reviewer could not have been at the same concert.

I am a convert, based on Adam Lamberts singing talent and fun stage persona. I thought the Whole Lotta Love encore was bluesy and inventive, and I didn't see anyone cover ears. Through the whole concert Adam Lambert was mesmerizing, on key and in control of his energetic performance.

I agree that it was too loud. But that is a sound crew issue. Actually, if I thought about covering my ears it would have been because so many people were screaming their approval.

Could it be that the reviewer wanted to knock Lambert down a little because 100% of his other tour reviews have been positive? If he is the only one with such a negative "opinion" he must have an axe to grind.

I simply can't read through all of these comments.

But thank you @karen for posting that video. I swear to you it literally brought tears to my eyes. I have never heard vocals like that in my lifetime. Blew me away completely.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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