For the album, 19 Entertainment has paired Lambert with some of the best pop producers in the music industry, including Greg Wells, who has worked with Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson. "The surprise is that he's also a gifted songwriter," says Wells. Lambert plays a taste of the album for me on his iPod. He describes it as "edgy pop." It has the kind of catchy hooks designed to go platinum.

"I'm working my ass off right now," he says. And it's already paying off: He just rented a three–bedroom house in Hollywood Heights and has his eye on a Jaguar coupe. "I've started looking at them and I'm like, ooooh. I'm not gonna lie and say money doesn't mean anything to me," he says. "It's fun to have money. It's nice to have nice things and live comfortably, and that's one of the reasons why I wanted this. That's one of the trade–offs of fame. It's the American dream."

"Adam, is that you?" A woman is passing by our table. Seeing him, she stops; her hands fly to her mouth. She begins to tremble and weep. Lambert gets up to give her a hug.

"It's going to be okay," he tells her, laughing. "It's really going to be okay."

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