The Bottom Line
For the third single from Adam Lambert's stellar debut album For Your Entertainment, his record label has opted for the safe approach. "If I Had You" was co-written and co-produced by pop Svengali Max Martin, and, as such, it sounds a lot like other uptempo pop currently on the radio. Adam Lambert's distinctive voice does provide some interest, but if you truly want to hear what he can do, you will still need to pick up the entire album and not rely on the safe bets chosen to be singles.
- Adam Lambert's unique energetic vocals
- Easy to sing along with
- Dull standard issue production
- Not enough room for Adam Lambert to truly shine
- Written by Max Martin, Shellback, and Savan Kotecha
- Produced by Max Martin and Shellback
- Released May 2010 by RCA
Guide Review - Adam Lambert - "If I Had You"
For being a bit of a throwaway song, "If I Had You" does generate a nice head of steam. However, the charging guitars and synths all sound too familiar in the age of everything uptempo on the radio. It all feels very predictable from the opening of martial dance beats to the exposed breakdown to showcase Adam Lambert's voice. Since Adam Lambert's true gift in pop music since his days as an American Idol contestant has been his ability to bring something unique to his audience, it makes it that much more unfortunate "If I Had You" is ultimately so bland.
A focus on Adam Lambert's voice does bring out the pleasures that are present in the recording. He charges at the words with an energy that seems to barely control an urge to break out and wail. The effect is a propulsive force badly needed by the song. Late in "If I Had You," the lead-in to the song's breakdown gives Adam Lambert a chance to show some of his celebrated range and rock star moves.
With a gold certified album and a top 10 pop single to his credit, Adam Lambert has performed admirably on the pop charts since placing second on American Idol. He does not yet have the numbers to enter the ballpark of a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, but he is already a solid fixture in pop music circles. "If I Had You" fits easily into current pop radio playlists and may yet be another solid hit for Adam Lambert. Unfortunately it disguises his true capabilities as a singer.