Friday, 19 September 2014
REVIEW: LENNY KRAVITZ- STRUT
Let rock rule! That's what Lenny Kravitz has been doing since the late eighties in the name of love. Despite once proclaiming 'Rock and Roll is Dead' heres a guy that's been spinning out the stone, jukebox classics since young fathers of todays' dads where young fathers. Sorry to make you feel old, but from 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' to 'Always On The Run', to 'It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over' and 'Heaven Help' to 'American Woman' and 'Fly Away' it's just crazy. Crazy to believe that the man behind all these monster truck, mega rock hits of Guns and Roses (and that reminds me countless hip-hop collaborations) is 50 when not only does he look, but he sounds forever young to boot. It's even harder to believe that it was almost just over three years ago that we reviewed his beautiful 'Black & White America' album (born from the 'Baptism' of that brilliant albums cutting room sessions) and said it was hard to believe that it had been over three years since his last album before THAT (the spiritual and soulful sequel to his lasting 'Let Love Rule' dynamic debut, the inspired and influential 'Its Time For A Love Revolution' redemption). Its crazy that it all seems like yesterday. Today this music man is catching fire in more ways than one, acting up amazingly in a pair of 'The Hunger Games' movies and a handful of Lee Daniels classics ('Precious' and 'The Butler'). Even his daughter Zoe (remember the sweet sentiment of 'Flowers For Zoe'?) is a 'First Class', 'X-Men' actress. Still inbetween all this extra curricula and parent/teacher night work the former Romeo Blue still take us to music school as he still has time to 'Strut'. A move that goes with 'Lenny', 'Circus', 'Mama Said' and the other '5' albums as yet another tote of classic Kravitz. Album number ten in the catalogue looks to take him back to that same numerical top countdown.
It all starts with some 'Sex' though and a familiar "sexy, sexy," sample his friends Jay-Z and Pharrell changed clothes with. Now what more do you expect from a man that wrote an anthem for the NBA basketball league called 'Come On and Get It'? Still the Thicke of todays misogynistic music should not blur lines. This attractive number and second single is anything but seedy. Still from the barrell of the gun to the heart of matters its got nothing on the 'Chamber' music and its vivid, fall, winter warmer video. "You look through me like an open door/Do I exist to you anymore/'Cause when I'm talking to you there's someone else that you're hearing" croons Kravitz between cigarettes and chess references , proving in the bitterness of beauty turning to betrayal the first cut (or single for this matter) is the deepest and darkest. Checkmate! 'Strut' steps even sexier on 'Dirty White Boots' that where made for walking like a blonde Sinatra. "Come up to my room/No matter the weather/Drop the window shade/And take off your sweater/You are all I need/To make me feel better/Let your hair down/And give me that leather" is more classic Lenny in the sense that he can pull off lacing his words with lust when it is done with the justification of love over lingerie. Then the maids favourite from Manhattan does what a lot of artists, especially rock stars from this area, its five boroughs and beyond do and names a song after his hometown. Still the empire state of minds 'New York City' will one day rock M.S.G. as the type of anthem the likes of U2 could only dream of taking a bite out of the Big Apple for. And you thought you had to release free albums to keep rock alive in this iTune age. "Broadway lights and taxi cabs/Everybody's moving fast/Uptown, downtown, what's your thing/She can take what she can bring" sings Kravitz about the other woman that raised him apart from his 'Jeffersons' mother. The other woman being the city of N.Y.C. "She's a queen that stands her ground/Nobody can take her down" he adds in fitting testimony and tribute at this time of year all these years later.
'The Pleasure and Pain' delves deeper into both sides of the love/hate coin of the ying and yang of relationships. Its another outstanding ode 'Again' from the multiple million selling Grammy winner who will always 'Stand By My Woman'. The 'Strut' title-track keeps stepping in an album that moves and shakes across the genres like the classic career of the soulful rock God. Then things get real beauty and the beast on the formidable 'Frankenstein' with the tongue lashing lyrics "Sister, I need love/You say that I'm your baby/But I feel like Frankenstein/I need love", before 'She's A Beast' continues this monster mash up. The brilliant 'Believe' singer keeps the faith on the "hey",old classic rock puncuation of 'I'm A Believer' (much like his last album 'Stand'), before more wonder comes with a new 'Happy Birthday' dedication for every Lenny lover over the next 365 days for the rest of their lives. If that wasn't enough to tide you over then love continues to rule on the beautiful ballad of devoted dedication on album standout and new catalogue stand-alone, 'I Never Want To Let You Down'. Anyone that's truly been in love knows you can playlist file this one next to soul soldier Tank's 'Hope This Makes You Love Me' in real men baring genuine soul. With this and some Miracles classic cover closing on 'Ooh Baby, Baby' (which was recentely given the 'Soul' Seal of approval) even have the added bonus of 'It Wont Feel The Same' and 'Lift Me Out My Head' as the perfect pair, post album puncuation. A playlist that's all repeat and no skip. This new record is 'Elutheria' heaven sent. Love still rules for Lenny on his new album on his new Roxie Records label in honour of his mother. Catching fire off Academy actress co-star, Jennifer Lawrence for this records inspiration, Cinna fashions a new grand design for women. Right now even with a rock age to this season with Ryan Adams, Maroon 5, Counting Crows and the Gaslight Anthem, nothing looks or sounds as good as Kravitz. Now shake what the Jefferson's gave you and 'Strut'! TIM DAVID HARVEY