Recreating Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz is easily the craftiest chameleon in the music industry today. Since bursting onto the scene in 1989 with Let Love Rule, Kravitz has impressed with his impressions. From Hendrix to Prince, the resemblance talk has never ceased, and Lenny, with his Jimi-like guitar distortion and a probable penchant for Purple Rain, has begrudgingly assumed the role of reincarnated rock star. But he is a rock star nonetheless....

Just look at him. If you looked up "hip" in the dictionary, you might find a picture of Lenny Kravitz. The man makes Shaft look like Steve Urkel. But even his stylishness causes the comparisons. Remember when he was married to Lisa Bonet? Between all the dreadlocks and nose rings, it was hard to tell the Kravitz-cool from the Cosby kid. If he ever marries Macy Gray, we're going to need nametags.

Which leads us to an interesting question. Can Kravitz's sixth album--simply titled Lenny--put an end to the cloning conversations and establish him as a more unique act?

Nah--but he's too cool to care, and if you like Lenny Kravitz, you probably won't care either.

Kravitz doesn't try anything drastic with Lenny, producing a predictable mix of mid-tempo vibes with thick rock textures and the occasional ballad that has become a staple of his music. Actually, the few instances in which he journeys out of his comfort zone prove to be the most disastrous. The experimental looping beat box of "Believe in Me" is nose-bleed inducing, and the random record scratching of "Pay to Play" falters miserably, as do the inexplicable gunshots and bomb blasts on "Battlefield of Love."

Kravitz runs into more problems by impersonating himself on "Stillness of Heart," a cut that sounds exactly like his last hit, "Again." I'm not even sure why he bothered to change all the words. Speaking of words, the song goes something like this: "I'm out here on the street/ there's no one left to meet/ the things that were so sweet/ no longer move my feet/ I've got more than I can eat/ a life that can't be beat/ yet still I feel the heat/ I'm feeling incomplete."

Hmmm--it does rhyme, Lenny. One gets the feeling that if the first line had ended with the word "orange," it would have been a lot shorter.

The best moments of Lenny come when Kravitz sticks with what he does best. "Yesterday is Gone (My Dear Kay)" is a vintage wailing power ballad that soothes the soul, as does the mournful "A Million Miles Away." "Bank Robber Man," an autobiographical account of Kravitz's false arrest after being mistaken for a criminal in Florida, is a driving rocker that has a legitimate message on racial profiling.

Overall, Lenny proves itself to be your average Kravitz. It's not perfect, but it has its enjoyable moments. In the words of Kravitz himself on the first single, "Dig In": "Once you dig in/ you'll find you'll have yourself a good time."

And you can't argue with someone that cool.


Share and discuss “Recreating Kravitz” on social media.