Personnel: Adam Lambert (vocals, background vocals); Monte Pittman (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Ric'key Pageot (keyboards); Brian Frasier (drums).
Programmer: Eric Mayron.
Audio Mixer: Nicolas Fournier.
Arranger: Eric Mayron.
Like Take One before it, Beg for Mercy is a collection of demos Adam Lambert recorded prior to American Idol, yet there's a difference between this 2011 set and its 2009 predecessor: musically, this is much, much closer to what Lambert wound up doing on Idol. Take One relied on colorless midtempo pop ballads, the kind of tune that could cross over given the proper injection of star charisma, but the songs on Beg for Mercy contain a different kind of swagger, leaning heavily on squealing loud guitars and bombastic operatic choruses, all dusted in a layer of glitter -- in other words, the kind of thing that brought Lambert fame. Of course, part of the reason this feels like latter-day Lambert is that these recordings have recently been polished by the members of Citizen Vein, all in the hopes of swaying Adam fans to purchase this album, but these new overdubs don't distract from the songs the singer wrote in collaboration with guitarist Monte Pittman, who played on the demos on Take One. It's clear that Lambert and Pittman are onto something: their blend of `80s metal, musical theater, Vegas power ballads, and sugary pop has a distinct style and, sometimes, some substantial hooks. This may not be as assured and glossy as For Your Entertainment, but unlike the material on Take One, the Adam Lambert American Idol introduced to the world is very much evident on Beg for Mercy. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine