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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Lenny Kravitz
It Is Time for a Love Revolution

Rating: 7.6/10 ?

February 18, 2008
Up until 2001, you could count on a couple of things from a Lenny Kravitz album: a plethora of muscular riffs paired with indelible hooks, and rhyming elementary enough to ensure he could secure a gig on Sesame Street should his music career ever flop. Unfortunately, that year's Lenny and the 2004 follow-up, Baptism, offered a relative dearth of his customary catchiness while retaining plenty of banal lyricism. But on It Is Time for a Love Revolution, Kravitz sounds fresher than he has in a long time (maybe ever), returning to dynamic, hook-heavy retro rock with a contemporary twist.

The album opens with the one-two punch of the stomping "Love Revolution" and "Bring It On," a swaggering, bluesy number propelled by a Zeppelinesque riff. Kravitz carries the momentum into "Good Morning," a psychedelic pop tune that gets a jolt from his gritty, lurching guitar line, and the funk-flavored pick-me-up, "Love, Love, Love."

Kravitz still has a place in his heart for soft rock, though. He gives a nod to syrupy balladry with "I'll Be Waiting," which mines the same plaintively romantic vein as his smash "Again." Even softer - and better - is "A New Door," a piano-driven tune with a sweet, effortless melody that sounds like he's been spinning some old Commodores LPs.

Revolution's dead weight comes in the form of languid, mid-tempo songs like "I Love the Rain" and "A Long and Sad Goodbye" (and long it is, breaking the tape at nearly six minutes) that dominate the back end of the album. But Kravitz manages to mix in enough dynamic tracks to keep things from veering too far into insomnia-curing territory. Funk jam "Will You Marry Me?" kicks its way out of the speakers, and "Dancin' Till Dawn," bolstered by a fiery sax solo, struts with a sultry soul groove.

Lyrically, Kravitz still works mainly in predictable rhymes and hackneyed phrases - "Don't let it all pass you by/ Looking through life's window pane/ Don't sit around wasting time/ That would be a crying shame" (from "If You Want It") - and positive-vibe mantras - "It is time for a love revolution/ It is time for a new constitution" ("Love Revolution"). He also gets political with the Iraq War protest "Back in Vietnam" with lyrics that not surprisingly lack any real nuance or trenchant insight, but the fervor of Kravitz's vocal, coupled with hard-charging guitars and battering drums, gives the song a visceral power.

With this album, Kravitz apparently decided that it is not only time for a Love Revolution, but it's also time to have fun again, to get back to being an ax-wielding badass who can crank out some infectious, vintage rock-inspired anthems. Good choice, Lenny.

Reviewed by Jason Middlekauff
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Jason Middlekauff



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