"If you think that what I do and how I live's too much, I don't really really give two fux," Adam Lambert asserts on his new single, aptly titled, "Two Fux." The defiant guitar-pop anthem, co-written by Ferras, Sarah Hudson, Big Taste and Trey Campbell, sees 35-year-old Glambert oozing with newfound self-confidence, as he admits "people think that I'm from Mars" before shrugging the assumption off with a cool, "Whatever."
Lambert's new music has developed tremendously from 2015's The Original High, both sonically and lyrically, abandoning the narrative of wanting more and honing the realization that he's enough as is. On the album's dramatic opener, he repeats the grim line, "My heart is a ghost town," above Max Martin's euro-pop production--a far cry from today's empowered "Two Fux," drenched in '70s glam production. "No one gets me like myself," he says now with aplomb.
Currently on an international tour with Queen, Lambert's gone from American Idol to queer rock icon, filling frontman Freddie Mercury's shoes each night with his own powerhouse vocals and newly magnetic fire-orange hair. Flanked by drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May, he wails classic hits--"We Will Rock You" and "Another One Bites the Dust"--slipping in his own original material, as well, including "Two Fux," which nearly sounds like a lost Queen song.
OUT caught up with Lambert this week to discuss creating his new single, defying the status quo and revisiting his glam-rock roots.
OUT: Lyrically, how did "Two Fux" come about?
Adam Lambert: This song was an idea that started with Sarah Hudson and Ferras, who are two dear friends of mine. I've known them for years and we've written together a handful of times. This is the first time something has solidified for us, where I was like, "This is it. Let's put this out." It's great because every time we get in the studio, it's all laughter and ridiculousness. We have a lot of fun together.
Ferras is a queer songwriter and Sarah Hudson is a known LGBTQ ally. Why were they important to work with this time around?
I went about things differently this time. Not to say my last process was negative at all, because I love The Original High and I loved working with Max Martin. But I got back from Australia last year after doing X-Factor and was feeling very creative, and just started talking to some songwriter friends of mine. Sarah [Hudson] and Ferras were two, and I was just like, "You know what, let's do this for fun--no pressure." It was very casual and nonofficial, and there was something really nice about that. It lent that kind of energy to the project--very matter-of-fact, very much a reflection of where I'm at, right now.
How does "Two Fux" speak to where you're at mentally?
"Two Fux," to me, kind of sums it up. I've been writing a lot in the past about chasing the original high--I was longing for something that was out of reach. And now with this project, I'm at a place in my life where I'm like, "You know what, no--I'm cool." I'm just going to do my shit and not really make any apologies for it--not really try to be such a people pleaser. I think everyone has these upswings and downswings in their life where they're trying to figure out where they're at, and right now I'm at a place of feeling a lot more self-assured.
What in your life has led to this new state of mind?
The age has something to do with it. I've seen cycles--things come and go, trends happen, movements start. There's this amazing movement, right now, that has been going on with trans visibility and gender fluidity, and all these things that we've been aware of, but the fact that they're being pushed out to the mainstream and being really addressed--it's very liberating. I feel like there's a narrative and a conversation happening about things I've always felt strongly about. People are tuning into something that's very exciting and I feel like I may have a voice in that conversation.
Why is "Two Fux" a strong introduction to the larger project you're working on?
It's basically a mission statement. That chorus, saying, if you think what I do and how I live is too much, I don't really give two fucks. You know, the world we're living in right now is a little scary. There's a lot of hatred out there and a lot of negativity. Our country's politically and socially divided. And to be able to put out a song that addresses everything, saying, "Look, you may not like me, but I'm not going to let that take me down. I'm not going to let that ruin my day. I'm going to do me." I think people want some of those self-strengths. It makes me feel good to listen to it, and hopefully it makes others feel good. It's not taking itself too serious--the lyrics are ridiculous and silly, and I think it'll give people a reason to smile.
You've already performed it live on tour with Queen. How has that been?
It's been great. I had the opportunity to play Brian [May] and Roger [Taylor] some of the stuff I'm working on, right now, when we started tour rehearsals two weeks back. Brian immediately called me after I sent him "Two Fux" over email and he said, "I can't get it out of my head. I listened to it once and it's stuck already." I said, "That's a good sign, don't you think?" We started talking about it and decided to play it on the road. The song has a sort of glam sensibility to it, so it's something that was not a big stretch for the band to adapt to.
Do you consider Queen close mentors through the album-making process?
I'm inspired by them and always love their opinions on things, but this song was pretty much done and dusted by the time I played it for them. This is my project and I love being an honorary guest of the band, and I get to go on tour with them and sing the songs that have made them iconic. But I need to have my projects for my creativity, too. In the spirit of Queen, that's how they've created their music. A lot of their songs were written by individual members--Freddie wrote a bunch of great hits, Ryan's written a bunch of them, Roger and John, too. I think they totally understand that drive to have their own creative voice, as well.
How do you think "Two Fux" relates to your greater discography?
I would think that for a fan, they might be excited because a lot of these influences on my new project are going back to my roots a little bit more. I've done lots of sonic experimentation--Trespassing was really this electro-punk kind of pop, and The Original High was this dark, European pop sound. This new project sort of leans back into the glam-rock thing that I identified with from the get-go. There's a lot of '90s influence on it, a lot of '80s and '70s. My icons are people like Freddie Mercury, Prince and George Michael--these are artists I started listening to again towards the end of last year to break the cycle of listening to what was trendy or Top 40. I got a little fried on the sounds everybody was using, so I went back to why I wanted to make music in the first place. It feels full circle--it feels like my take on modern rock.