Lenny Kravitz has joined the ranks of our modern Renaissance men (Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael), writing, arranging, producing and performing every song on his sixth studio album Lenny. Kravitz adds layer upon layer, creating a minimalist one-man show of acoustic and electric guitars, live percussion and drum programming. Most striking are “Believe in Me” and the spiritual “You Were in My Heart,” a track filled with swirling synthesizers and a subtle yet momentous string arrangement. The rich “If I Could Fall in Love” and the first single “Dig In” are home to the kind of crunchy electric guitar work, ultra-simple structures and super-catchy melodies that have become Kravitz staples. “Dig In” evokes Sheryl Crow at times—only with slightly less keen lyrical content. Unfortunately, the simplicity occasionally presents itself as a glaring flaw; Kravitz’s neo-hippie sentiments abound on tracks like “God Save Us All” and “Stillness of Heart” (“I’m feeling incomplete/What am I buying/My soul is crying”). The autobiographical “Bank Robber Man” tackles racial profiling (“Do you think that I am the one who did it just because I’m tan?”) and is ironically followed by the track “Let’s Get High.” Still, the singer’s classic rock influence (and devoted recreation of it) is once again evident on Lenny, with tracks like “Yesterday Is Gone” and “A Million Miles Away” recalling the crisp harmonies of John Lennon and the electric guitar riffs of Jimi Hendrix.
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