CD Review of Lenny by Lenny Kravitz
Label
Virgin Records
Lenny Kravitz: Lenny

Reviewed by Red Rocker

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I
f I hear one more person say that they "gave up" on Lenny Kravitz after his cover of the 1970s hit "American Woman" a few years back, I'm gonna spit! The fact is Lenny has always been a huge fan of the 1960s and 70s classic rock and roll scene, and to that end, a personal ode to The Guess Who seems perfectly suited.

Fresh off his Greatest Hits project last year, Kravitz steps up and delivers a grand schedule of soulfully driven guitar rock tunes. "If I Could Fall in Love" sticks right with the proven Kravitz formula of useful guitar riffs, brooding bass lines, and the signature psychedelic vocals which have powered many similar tracks in the past, like 1998's "Black Velveteen." The album title serves a unique purpose, because this time out Kravitz chooses to go it instrumentally alone more than ever before. Lenny finds the author producing, writing and performing all 12 tracks, as well as playing drums, bass and even piano throughout most of the record. The multi-faceted Kravitz never proves his master musicianship more than on this year's smiling radio smash, "Dig In."

The soul ballad has become a trademark for Kravitz's better works, and Lenny is no exception. "A Million Miles Away" and "Stillness of Heart" both play like familiar old favorites you've known and loved for years. While "God Save Us All" picks it up a notch to a groovy, bluesy tempo, it still manages to fill the room with enough sexy and lavish 70s sentiment that you'll be waiting for Horseshack or Ann Romano to appear. Finally, "Bank Robber Man" is a riff-heavy spoof on Kravitz's unlawful arrest at the hands of police who mistook him for a real robbery suspect a few years ago.

Legal or not, Kravitz strikes again with enough arena power rock to land on pop's Billboard charts, while maintaining dignity with his roots rock fan base. No short cuts here, no 70s cover hits, just a straight-forward collection of Lenny playing Lenny. The wonderful result is a new studio record that plays like a greatest hits compilation from the first spin.

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