Happy birthday, Adam Lambert!
From the moment Lambert burst into the national spotlight with a chilling performance of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” on the eighth season of American Idol, the theatrical rocker with the mind-blowing voice seemed destined for stardom. In the years since coming in second to Kris Allen, Lambert has delivered four albums of arena-ready pop-rock, heavily influenced by the flamboyance and glam of the 1980s.
In honor of Lambert’s 39th birthday today (Jan. 29), Billboard is rounding up the 10 best songs of his post-Idol career.
This article has been updated.
10. “Another Lonely Night”
On the second and final single from Lambert’s moody third album, 2015’s The Original High, the star reins in his soaring vocals (relatively speaking, of course) to deliver an emotional, synth-driven ballad that sounds straight out of ‘80s pop radio.
9. “Two Fux”
His sole floater single of 2017, “Two Fux” is a glam-rock testament to Lambert’s artistic ethos of unapologetic individuality. Though a full-length LP never materialized following its release, Lambert debuted the song during a special mini-concert with Queen on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
8. “Shady” (feat. Nile Rodgers & Sam Sparro)
This album cut from 2012’s Trespassing proved that Lambert could do much more than glam rock and electropop. Teaming up with Nile Rodgers and Sam Sparro, the star delivered his own unique brand of delectable, lurching funk.
7. “Welcome To The Show” (feat. Laleh)
Released as a one-off single in 2016, this power ballad returned Lambert to the theatrical themes of his debut single “For Your Entertainment” — this time joined by Swedish songwriter/producer Laleh.
6. “Never Close Our Eyes”
In the video for this club-ready single from Lambert’s 2012 sophomore effort, Trespassing, the singer leads a jailhouse revolt in a bleak dystopian future where prisoners are stripped of their individuality. In a surprising twist, the synth-laden dance track was co-written by Bruno Mars, who also helped helm the song’s production with his team The Smeezingtons.
5. “For Your Entertainment”
Do you know what you got into? The debut single that launched his post-Idol career, “For Your Entertainment” delivered on the promise of the Season 8 runner-up’s potential as he confidently put on a show while devilishly daring anyone to look away.
The stomp-and-clap refrain of this title track from Lambert’s 2012 album of the same name immediately calls to mind the rhythm of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Just two years later, the glam rock vocalist would team up with the legendary band and begin touring as Queen + Adam Lambert.
3. “If I Had You”
This glitzy single from Lambert’s 2009 debut album, which finds the glam rocker pining for a love that’s just out of reach, taught fans from New York to L.A. to always find the right amount of leather and black color liner before lacing up their boots and strutting down the street. Three albums into his career, it’s still the most explosive fun Lambert has had in his catalog of glittery hits.
2. “Ghost Town”
With its yippee-ki-yay whistle straight out of the Wild West, “Ghost Town” remains the biggest and brightest commercial hit of Lambert’s solo career but loses a few points for its unnecessary use of Auto-Tune on the singer’s signature, bombastic vocals.
1. “Whataya Want From Me”
This showstopping, P!nk-penned ballad from Lambert’s 2009 debut album, For Your Entertainment, isn’t just his most instantly recognizable hit. With its plaintive chorus and sky-high vocals, “Whataya Want From Me” is also the rocker’s highest-charting single in the U.S., having peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 2010.