Learning from the best, making his own decisions.
It's no surprise really that Adam Lambert left "American Idol" with a messed-up sense of how best to use his amazing voice. Like most singing competitions, that show values long, towering notes above all else.
The rest of the world? Not so much.
On "The Original High" (Warner Bros.), Lambert figures that out -- in part thanks to his touring run with Queen and teaming up with Swedish super-producers Max Martin and Shellback, who helmed his hit "Whataya Want From Me." And the results are spectacular.
It's not that Lambert eliminates the big notes entirely, he just uses them more sparingly and to better effect. They become the crowning glory of the lovely ballad "There I Said It," the calling card of the funk-guitar-driven "Evil in the Night."
However, it's the mix of stripped-down rock and dance music, which powers the charming first single "Ghost Town" and the groovy Kylie-influenced title track, where Lambert really makes his mark.
On the Disclosure-like "Things I Didn't Say," Lambert positions himself as the American Sam Smith, with power to spare in his soaring high notes. That's right where he belongs.
THE GRADE A-