Intro: Lenny Kravitz demands respect. At 43, Kravitz has won four Grammys, repeatedly topped the charts and even starred in a series of commercials for The Gap. So why is his eighth studio album, “It is Time for a Love Revolution” such a misguided mess?
Pros: It isn’t all bad. Kravitz delivers quality musicianship with the abundance of fuzzy riffs and searing solos that populate his retro-rock jams. Sonically, he makes some effort to deviate from the classic rock mould, incorporating R&B and electronic influences to accompany his usual brand of funky pyschedelia. Throughout, the vocal effort is solid and soulful.
Cons: Aside from a general lack of inspired, compelling songs and a handful of downright baffling musical decisions — including an unhealthy fondness for back-up vocals — Lenny Kravitz’s most glaring weakness lies in his unoriginal, shallow and ridiculously heavy-handed lyrics. Among his profound insights: Jesus is good, the war in Iraq is bad and love is more important than material possessions.
Unfortunately, the album doesn’t feature any song as likable as previous hits such as “Lady” or “Fly Away.” But “Good Morning” is sure to make your head bob and it takes Kravitz in a refreshing aesthetic direction. The track features a violin alongside a persistent palm-muted guitar and a surprisingly nasal, yet effective, vocal hook.
Conclusion: “Love Revolution” wants to be a classic rock album, but by failing to bring new life to a tired sound, Kravitz gives us no reason to listen to him instead of his far-worthier inspirations. Worse still, the album is an inexcusable, indigestible 73 minutes long.
If this is the best he can do, maybe Lenny should stick to doing commercials for The Gap.
Staff writer Nick Sheidies can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.