Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert

I got your thanks right here

• Thank you for the steaming pile of disco: I have a vague memory of Elvis Costello having once said something along the lines of, “Whitney Houston should have me write songs for her.” And I took that to mean that, while Houston may have an incredible voice, the tunes she puts it to work on are mostly shite. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I am interested in singers like Houston … and Mariah Carey and, especially, Christina Aguilera. Most of their songs are for sure shite, but their voices can go anywhere they want them to and I’ll always listen at least once on the off chance that they decide to take those voices somewhere compelling. Aguilera does it most often (“Ain’t No Other Man” straight-up rocks!)—in fact Costello even recorded a cover of her catchy ballad “Beautiful.”

American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert has one of those voices. He could and did take his voice in any direction he pleased during his run on the show, and unlike most of the Idols he shied away from brainless vocal calisthenics and used his powers for creative, emotionally charged arrangements. He even made the lads in Queen gush with comparisons to Freddie Mercury when they backed him up on the show. So, with his debut disc coming out this week, featuring collaborations with a slew of respectable songwriters—Lady Gaga, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, Justin Hawkins of The Darkness and Linda Perry (who actually penned Augilera’s “Beautiful”)—I was hopeful that there might be something worthwhile taking over the popular-music charts for the first time in forever.

By press time I have only listened to a 30-second sample of each song on iTunes, but I am no longer hopeful. Maybe the Hawkins-penned opener, “Music Again,” will rock and a couple of the ballads could be decent, but overall the album sounds like it’s an extremely over-processed, auto-tuned mess full of robot-musicians largely set to monotonous canned Euro-dance beats.

Painter of light and dark.

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• Thank you for the destruction of the light: If you’re a fan of Thomas “The Painter of Light” Kinkade, you might want to plug your eyes. A couple weeks ago, in a small underground gallery in San Francisco, a group of artists contributed reactionary refigurings of Kinkade’s work for a one-night show called Kinkade Cannibalized! Selections included Spence Snyder’s “Equilibrium” (pictured) exposing the hell beneath Kinkade’s surface, and show curator Kevin Evans’ image of Winnie the Pooh submerged in urine in homage to a story about Kinkade allegedly getting drunk and peeing on a figure of the Disney bear.

• Thank you for the weed: Apparently, the marijuana-smoking tolerance level in Chico is 4.5 (based on a scale where 1 is “very illegal” and 5 is “virtually legal”). According to the experts at—“a city-by-city breakdown on where to find the best stuff, with the least effort”—all a smoker has do is “Just get to know people in Chico, since mostly everyone smokes.” Thanks?

• Thank you for Chico’s best band: The Secret Stolen has an honest-to-rockness hi-def music video (by Josh Whiting) for the four-piece’s song “Deathstar.” Check it out:

• Thank you for Chico’s second-best band: The Yule Logs warmed up a chilly Christmas Preview evening last Sunday with some kick-ass bass lines, 12-string Rickenbacker melodies and sweet “Let It Snow” harmonizing. Check for the Logs’ full holiday schedule.