Lenny Kravitz - Lenny
Lenny Kravitz is a very talented musician, make no mistake. He, like only a handful of artists, records his albums almost completely unassisted. He is also a good songwriter. He just seems to be having a problem finding his own place musically. Certainly he has achieved a huge amount of commercial success. So, he doesn't need me to tell him what he is or is not doing right. However, in many ways he still seems to be too connected to his musical roots. His sound seems not to have really grown over the years, at least in part because he has not been able to let go and be himself. All that said, I don't think there is a bad Lenny Kravitz album on the market. Every one of them will certainly entertain, and this one is no exception. It just seems that he could be even greater than he is. The albums that he has put out, this one included, would be fine in most artist's catalogs. It just seems that maybe he has stopped reaching for more. That would be a shame because he is capable of so much more.
For an example of just a glimpse of where he could go, one needs look no further than the song "You Were In My Heart" on this very disc. That particular song starts off feeling like dramatic soundtrack music, then an electronic percussive groove takes the cut. It seems to merge R & B with techno, but the screaming rock guitar that punctuates the piece and cool dramatic arrangement elevate it to near high-art levels. That song alone is worth the price of admission here. Another highlight is the opener, “Battlefield of Love.” Starting with the sounds of war, this one comes in with a screaming hard groove. It showcases Kravitz at his best, an artist who combines modern hard-edged sounds with a retro texture. The guitar solo on this piece feels a bit like Robin Trower.
Looking to the other end of the spectrum, the two weakest cuts on the set are “Pay to Play” and the closer, “Let’s Get High.” “Pay to Play” rocks out just about as hard as anything Kravitz has ever done. It's a little raw and underdeveloped, though. It's not bad. It just doesn't hold up that well in comparison to the rest of the music here. “Let’s Get High” is a pretty typical Kravitz rocker, but not especially significant. No, the title is not a drug reference, but actually an invitation to get high on "this feeling of love.” Of course, when the low points are as good as those two, it’s easy to see that this is still quite a successful release.
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