by Michael P. Coleman
As I listened to Lenny Kravitz’ new album, very fittingly entitled Strut, one question circulated through my mind:
How could I have missed Lenny for the last 20 years?
Kravitz burst onto the music scene in the early 90s. Prior to two weeks ago, I was familiar with his breakout song, “Let Love Rule”, and another hit, “American Woman”. I knew that he is the son of The Jeffersons’ Roxie Roker, and that he was married for a while to former Cosby kid Lisa Bonet. I also knew that he’s now dabbling in acting with effective performances in Lee Daniels‘ The Butler, Precious, and The Hunger Games franchise. But largely I’d missed out on his music.
Kravitz’ new self-written and produced album has changed that. Lenny’s incendiary Strut is one of the must-have albums of the year. If justice prevails, it will garner him a nomination or two come Grammy time.
There is not a single throw-away on the album. Since reviews often include highlights, I’ll try: the new single, “The Chamber”, is fantastic. The title track? Trust me, you’ll strut when you hear it. It’s unforgettable hook includes the line “Strut…let me see you work / this is your chance for you to go berserk!”
Other highlights? How’s “Frankenstein”, you ask? I may have awakened the dead as I jammed to it last night. “I Never Want To Let You Down”? Trust me, Lenny…you absolutely did not. “The Pleasure And The Pain”? He’s giving me both of them in equal doses, and it hurts so good. “Happy Birthday”? Happy birthday to YOU, Mr. Kravitz. “Dirty White Boots”? Kravitz almost had me headed to DSW to look for a pair.
The album’s perfect blend of funk and rock is blissfully reminiscent of the best of Prince. Not the Artist Formerly Known As. I’m talking Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999 Prince. He even does the seemingly impossible, transforming Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ Motown chestnut “Ooo Baby Baby” into a smoking hot rock anthem that is bound to be a winner in concert. Throughout Strut, Kravitz’ vocals are as smoldering as the cover art…and if you think that’s hot, wait until you open the gatefold CD cover.
I almost didn’t mention the album’s cover art, for fear of taking away from the incredible music on Strut. Again, I don’t know how I’ve missed out on Lenny for the last two decades, but better late than never, right? I’m told he’ll be touring soon to support the new album. See you at the venue – in the front row.
Michael P. Coleman is a Sacramento-based freelance writer and new Kravitz Konvert. Katch up to him at michaelpcoleman.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP
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