Lenny Kravitz is BACK!!

Got may hands on an advance copy of ‘Baptism’ on Friday, and haven’t stopped spinning it for 3 days!

For those who are partial to Lenny’s earlier stuff (Let Love Rule - Areyougonnagomyway?") this album will delight you to no end! The CD doesn’t sound ‘old’ per se, but is filled with touches of his older funk-rock style. Hell, there are even a few chord progessisons that I swear are used in the older songs. And oh, yeah, on a couple of tracks, Lenny had brought back a horn section (though with a bit too much reverb, more on that below). He seems to be recording in analogue again, reviving the energectic ‘live’ feel that was lacking in his digital work (see: “I belong to you”).

OK, here’s a breakdown:

“Minister of Rock and Roll”. Sounds like something from the soundtrack to a Jerry Bruckheimer film, and very well done. Not so deep as lyrics go, but catchy and cool.

“I don’t want to be a star”. I’m not a big fan of the “I’m famous and rich, but don’t want to be” kinda-songs (I’m looking at you, Pearl Jam :frowning: ) but this one is done quite well. Lenny puts on a bit of an Elvis-voice in the bridge that sounds neat.

“Lady”. Has to be about Nicole Kidman. A good, catchy tune about his “little lady”. Really good rhythm and some great hooks.

“Calling all angels”. As near as I can figure it’s about how much he misses his Mother. A nice acoustic ditty with some beautiful imagery.

“California”. Lenny Kravitz does the Beach Boys! This is a fun, top-down, crusing in the sunshine tune. About him in the early days of his career and how he met a girl (Lisa Bonet, I assume) and took off to California.

“Sistamamalovar”. About an all-encompassing sister/mother/lover figure (duh!). Starts with an awesome beat that I can’t help but share with my neighbours!

“Where are we runnin?”. All over the radio…no explanation necessary.

“Baptized”. This is one of the songs that sounds like ot could be a re-work of a much older song. Slow, acoustic-based track, that really highlights Lenny’s singning ability. The chorus is really catchy, and the song features a church-esque choir toward the end to fill it out.

“Flash”. This is one of the songs with the horns. Kinda heavy on the reverb instead of the crisp sounding horn, but it works alright. The song seems to be about his ‘glam’ period. The line “Flash, it makes me feel like a queen”, is a little disturbinng but sa was seeing Lenny in high-heels.

'What did I do with my life". Lenny turns 40 this year. This song is an introspective into his own life where he wonders if he’s done everything the way he should have.

“Storm”. Another awesome beat-heavy song. Lenny uses a beat pattern that sounds like it should be from a drum machine, but brings it to life with real drums (what a concept!). Features a verse by rapper Jay Z, which is a cool thing to see from Lenny.

“The other side”. Oh yeah, the piano is back, too. A nice, ‘earthy’ song about seeing people who have passed on ‘the other side’.

“Destiny”. An EXCELLENT song to end with. If you (like me) spend time and money to track down Lennys singles to get the acoustic versions of songs, you’ll love this track. Just Lenny and one acoustic guitar. No reverb, no double tracking, no layering. Its like Lenny is in your living room singing just to you.
The disc has that useless copy protection that does little more than confuse my portable player, but seems to work fine on my home stereo. The packaging is a little curious…the photo layout inside confused me. I SWEAR some of those photos are damn-near exact to the photo layout in “Areyougonnagomyway?”. Perhaps that was an intentional homage to his beginings, who knows?

I am very impressed! This is Lenny’s best work in years! The only thign that bothers me is that it appears he will be spending the summer concert season in Europe!

The samples on Real Player sound tasty.

I tend to like every 2nd disc of his- LLR, Are You Gonna Go, and 5 are all terrific. Since I was kinda “meh” on Lenny, hopefully the pattern will hold.