Lenny Kravitz

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Let Love Rule, 6/10
Mama Said , 5/10
Are You Gonna Go My Way , 5/10
Circus , 4/10
5 , 4/10
Lenny , 4/10
Baptism (2004), 4/10
It Is Time For A Love Revolution (2008), 4/10
Black and White America (2011), 4/10

(Translated by Elena Castelli from my original Italian text)

Lenny Kravitz is a peculiar character of rock music. A black musician as Hendrix, Kravitz boasts a multicultural background as anybody ever had and an almost unique sensibility. Lenny Kravitz, born in New York in 1965 to a black television actress and to a Russian-Jewish tv news producter, grew up in Los Angeles (where he had as schoolmates the current Slash and Maria McKee) and in the Bahamas, became famous with Let Love Rule, in Which he plays guitar, organ and drums, as a late proponent of the Woodstock generation (or better, Monterey) who recycled the fusion of soul, funk and rock made famous from Hendrix, Sly Stone and Prince, and the most baroque psichedelia of the 1960s', using the pretext of hippies themes.
What made him famous were neither the pieces of that record nor the following Mama Said, in which he runs with more control from Stop draggin'Round in Hendrix Style to the sweet soul of It Ain't Over Till It's Over, from the Lennon's lament of Stand By My Woman to the violent single Always On The Run, but rather Justify My Love which was written for Madonna in 1991.
Are You Gonna Go My Way repeats wearily the pattern of previous records, ranging between a Hendrix rock and an ever more sensual popsoul style. The news are a hard-rock tracks like Is There Any Love In Your Heart and a funky disco track like Sugar. However, that record will become his best-seller.

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Circus (Virgin, 1995) marks Kravitz' zenith as a multi-instrumentalist, but his vocal style at the border between Prince and Lennon is still tediously derivative (Don't Go And Put A Bullet In your Head, In My Life Today) and his songwriting has never been amazing (and now that he has found a spiritual life he can get really moronic). What is amazing is the way he rips off the greats of rock and roll, from Rolling Stones (Rock And Roll Is Dead) to Led Zeppelin (Beyond The 7th Sky). The latter, especially, are copied in every nuance of the album, so much so that one feels this is a Led Zeppelin tribute of sorts. The heavy funk Tunnel Vision is the standout, or the least predictable song.

5 (Virgin, 1998) presents a reformed, "domestic" Kravitz, who dedicates songs to his mother and his daughter (Thinking Of You and Little Girl's Eyes) and mourns his failed marriage. Live and If You Can't Say No are the tracks that sound like Kravitz. Everything else sounds like a lame mainstream album.

The stunning single Again (2000) presents yet another Kravitz, with little or nothing in common with the retro master and a lot in common with 1990s' alt-rock.

Lenny (Virgin, 2001) offers more of Kravitz's radio-friendly hard-rock: Stillness Of Heart, Battlefield Of Love, God Save Us All (similar to Joe Walsh's Rocky Mountain Way), and especially the anthemic Let's Get High. The whole album flows smoothly and casually, mainly because it is difficult to tell If I Could Fall In Love from Dig In or from Bank Robber Man.

Baptism (Virgin, 2004) offers generic Kravitz-ian fare (California, Minister of Rock 'N Roll) for unflinching fans.

It Is Time For A Love Revolution (2008) and Black and White America (2011) sound like exercises in ripping off the classics of hard-rock.

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