Whataya want from Adam Lambert?

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By Louis Peitzman

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me” wasn’t written as a song about celebrity. I mean, that’s not the impression I got the first 80 or so times I belted it in my car. To me, it’s about a failing relationship, the sense that no matter what you do you can’t please your partner. It speaks to that frustration but also a desire to change. Or maybe I’m way off base, because the music video released today tells a different story altogether.

In it, Lambert vents his angst to — well, no one in particular. We see footage of him getting into a limo and losing that crowd-pleasing smile. We see him yelling at cameras that may or may not be there. And suddenly those lyrics mean something else entirely. Whether or not “Whataya Want From Me” began as a love song, it’s now Lambert’s response to feeling overexposed and put-upon by rabid fans and an oppressive celebrity culture.

Way more subdued than his first video, “For Your Entertainment,” “Whataya Want From Me” has a somber quality that works well with the message: Glamberts, chill the eff out. There’s nothing particularly shocking about it, and I think that makes sense — Lambert isn’t going to shove his tongue down a bassist’s throat at every turn. Even if that is, well, what we want from him. There’s a far mellower side to him: what better way to reflect that than with some heavily muted tones?

It’s a good song and a solid video. Not satisfied? Back off a little and maybe Lambert will offer something a bit more Lady Gaga-esque next. I know I’m ready for “Fever” to get the “Bad Romance” treatment.