You cop Lenny Kravitz’ new joint, self-indulgently titled Lenny. First listen, and you love everything except one song (“Let’s Get High”). It sounds to you like Lenny is experimenting with different musical styles, and displaying his range.
“Yesterday Is Gone” reminds you of Oasis. The dopest ’80s throwback you’ve heard in years might be “Dig In.” The anthemic “God Save Us All” draws a thick line between rock and gospel. The album is chock-full of genre tunes, and since your wife is a devout Lenny fan, you can’t wait to let her hear it. You even wait until you’re in the car, because she likes riding to new music. Turn the ignition, hit the road, pop in Lenny.
“Lenny is my boy,” she says, “but this is some contrived bullshit right here!” You look at her shocked, as your eyes scream, “Baby!” She … hates … every … song. Every song. You were set to write a stellar review. You were thinking about giving it 4 1/2 stars. Now you’ve got a snafu on your hands, an opinion diametrically opposed to your own.
Days later, you realize that your difference represents the story of Lenny Kravitz’ career. From his debut Let Love Rule, to the funk of his innovative 5; to the pop success of last year’s hit “Again,” and finally to the nostalgic Lenny, dude has always been a musical hermit. He walks to the beat of his own drum and plays every other instrument, masterfully, along the way. Each album is an experiment. That’s why two of the three albums he’s dropped since 1993’s Are You Gonna Go My Way have been heralded his best.
Lenny is another well-crafted experiment that may not be intended for everyone’s pleasure. 5 was wifey’s cup of tea. Lenny is yours. Turn the ignition. Pop it in. Ride, when she’s not in the car.
Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.