Video Analysis: Adam Lambert’s “If I Had You”
Note how one of the reply tweets is from former child star Alisan Porter. Yep, Curly Sue is all grown up, and she’s game for cavorting in the woods with Adam Lambert, smart girl.
These two have some history: Porter appeared with a pre-Idol Lambert in the much-lampooned Ten Commandments musical that hit Los Angeles back in 2004, the one that starred Val Kilmer as a singularly improbable Moses (quoth the NYT’s Charles Isherwood of Kilmer’s performance: “He is not a gifted singer”). A filmed version of the stage production is available on DVD, and… yeah, the critics aren’t wrong. It’s pretty impressively ungood, start to finish, though the camp aficionado in me did appreciate the bit in the opening sequence where one of the Pharaoh’s goons chases after an infant-toting Hebrew woman while bellowing “GET THAT BABY!” Still, Lambert and Curly Sue both sing their sandals off, and Lambert scampers around the stage without pants for the first half, so, y’know, it’s worth tossing in the Netflix queue.
So next we have Lambert stomping purposefully through the woods en route to the festivities. The sharp minds at MTV have pointed out that this part bears certain thematic and stylistic similarities to the classic (“classic”) video for Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance,” and gadzooks, they’re sort of right.
And I feel absolutely no shame about my love of “If I Had You.” This is the song that kicks off with, “So I got my boots on, got the right amount of leather…”, a lyric so irresistible and so ludicrous that my brain pretty much short-circuits right there every time I hear it, making me unable to focus on the rest of the song. Something about how love is even better than stripper heels and Maseratis, I think. Judging by this video, Lambert’s definition of the right amount of leather is roughly eight times more leather than any other person would deem the right amount. Leather overcoat? Check. Leather boots? Check. Leather pants? Check. Leather fingerless gloves? Check and check. This kid never does anything half-assed, by gum. He commits.
Another costume change! Now he’s got dreadlocks, a jazzy silver top hat, a sequined coat, a bunch of dangling jewelry… you know, I can’t even tell what’s going on with the rest of his outfit; I just know that it’s kind of awesome. There are elements to Lambert’s style that defy analysis.
One of these days, I’m going to write a long, rambling, brainy doctoral thesis about Lambert’s entire American Idol experience, in which the viewing public received its first balls-out blast of his unstoppable charisma. Ten years from now, this kid is going to be ruling the world. At least odds are good he’ll be a benevolent dictator. Glitter-covered platform boots and peppy dance tunes for everyone!