Adam Lambert shot to fame on “American Idol” for his commanding reworks of chestnuts like “Ring of Fire” and his eagerness to take his voice as high as it could go; he finished second in Season 8, but got a “Rolling Stone” cover story and a gig fronting Queen out of the deal. On his third post-“Idol” album he pulls back a bit, allowing the contours of his voice to shape mature pop songs about longing and desire. The brooding title track ruminates on viewing the past through rose-colored glasses, his formidable voice dropping at times to a near-whisper; his falsetto makes the verses of “There I Said It” build even more deliberately toward the sorry-not-sorry chorus. Club-ready tracks like “Things I Didn’t Say” and “The Light” pair his moodier outlook with pulsing beats. And Queen guitarist Brian May shows up for a juicy solo on the grinding bad-girl tale “Lucy.” It’s an appealing snapshot of how Lambert has grown, and how he’s still willing to surprise his listeners and himself. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Lucy”Maura Johnston can be reached at email@example.com.