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Lenny Kravitz

Yahoo! Music Album Review

 

Lenny Kravitz - It Is Time For A Love Revolution

(Wednesday February 13, 2008 6:03 PM )

Released on 04/02/08
Label: Virgin

Asked recently why this album isn't big on the issues of the day (save for an unlikely Fab Four pastiche about Iraq) Lenny Kravitz explained he's always happy to talk issues, but that everything starts with love. Hence it is time for a love revolution, dear readers. Back in the real world, and in Lenny's recording studio particularly, everything seems to start with our hero sat stubbornly behind a drum kit, knobs turned to 11, while he bashes out some disturbingly turgid, wandering rock beats over the customary rifferama that we know and love. Well, 20 million album buyers can't be wrong! Can they?

Kravitz is one of those artists who plays and produced everything on his own records. This can be a good thing (saving at least three per cent on the bottom line immediately), but all too often it means there's nobody to tell you when what you're doing just doesn't cut it. At various times on "…Love Revolution", Lenny just doesn't cut it as a songwriter, a lead guitarist (don't even go there), a string arranger and, above all, a drummer. But the man can sing and for that much we, and he, should be grateful.

"Good Morning" maintains the album's opening axe-heavy gambit. It's Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" dressed in kitten's clothing with a solo that is so bad, Jimmy Page's infamous then 14-year-old girlfriend could surely have done better. Expect to find this hiding on one of those Jeremy Clarkson "Driving Anthems" CDs next Christmas. Things improve when Lenny puts the Marshall stack away and sings sweet as a bird on "If You Want It" and "I'll Be Waiting", though the latter is spoilt by his incompetent drumming.

All of which seems proof that he lacks touch, swing and, above all, soul. Eight studio albums into his career, you suspect that somewhere inside Kravitz the real Lenny is lurking, waiting to make a great record. The oft-touted list of influences - Beatles, Hendrix, Prince - hang so heavy around his neck that it threatens to strangle him. Could it be that the MTV-savvy rocker knows what his, largely white, public wants and is happy to provide it?

Elsewhere, "A Long And Sad Goodbye" echoes the opening chords of Lionel Richie's much-maligned "Hello" and the vocal is just as convincing on a tale depicting his recently deceased father's death. It's also the first 'truthful' song on this overlong 14 track set. Lenny - note to self. Hire a hard-nosed producer, a decent drummer, stop listening to The Cult circa 1987, put the love revolution back in its box and get the soul back into your music.

    by Andy Strickland

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