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Lenny Kravitz

Baptism

By Jim Fester

Fort Wayne Reader

2004-06-14


I’m a sucker for every 60s/70s wannabe band that comes down the pike: the Black Crows, Oasis, the Singles, Sloan, even Jet… Give me a band with dopey haircuts and vintage guitars and I’ll give you my $14.99. So why do I find Lenny’s retro shtick about as compelling as soggy bread? Maybe it’s the marketing. Maybe it’s the feeling I get that if Lenny hadn’t discovered rock n’ roll, he’d be just as fulfilled shaking his stuff on a catwalk. I don’t know. But to give the guy his due, I have enjoyed many Lenny Kravitz singles in the past (well, the first 8,000 times I heard them, I enjoyed them), and Baptism boasts a handful of tracks that should keep radio and music video busy for the next year or so. First single “Where Are We Running” kicks along nicely over the kind of killer guitar riff Kravitz specializes in, and though the sentiments of “I Don’t Want To Be A Star” might be tough to take from a guy who recovers from a break-up with a supermodel by dating a world-famous actress, the tune itself is very catchy. The bubblegum pop of “California” is another good one. On the other hand, Kravitz stumbles a bit when he tries to get the funk out, surprising for someone so well-versed in Sly Stone. He also comes on way too heavy during the ballads, with nothing here to hold a candle to “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” the closest he’s come to writing a real classic on par with the influences he wears so proudly on his designer sleeve.

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