Review: Lenny Kravitz – Raise Vibration

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Look. You’re reading a review from a guy that was one of maybe 100people at a small club called The Cotton Club in downtown Atlanta when Lenny Kravitz came into town to support his debut album Let Love Rule. I was not late to the party. I was one of the first.  And I remember this random guy standing next to me at the show as he leaned in and said, “You will never see him in a venue this small ever again.” and he was right.

I loved most of Lenny’s albums, but I just had a hard time wrapping my brain around his last album Strut and I made my displeasure evident. Prince gave me a lot of heat for that review. I always knew when he was unhappy with me because his support would disappear and he would go dreadfully silent for 6 months. He had really tweaked all of those edges to create a true masterpiece this time around.

There are some really good experimental rockers like the title track Raise Vibration that shoves the delivery of an Are You Gonna Go My Way but packs the focus on straight forward rock guitar in a Gary Clark Jr-esque vibe. The song starts out with just Lenny and the guitar chopping raunchy chords and slowly begins to add more elements. It actually has spirit, energy and emotion as if he has rediscovered his mojo.

These songs that really have his song writing muscles charged up this time around. As if he’s found his muse. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it wasn’t just the title track that delivered on that off kilter shuffle, but also songs like Gold Dust delivering a stutter step chord progression and thick nasty vocal harmonies.

There are so many layers to this album. Even slow songs like Johnny Cash are thoughtfully put together and vocally strong and cleaned up.  Here To Love is yet another slow song that continues his message of love for your brother. “There’s no room for hate. We are just one human race. We must rise above. We are here to love. There’s no time to waste anymore.”

But what seems to be the pillars of the album would certainly be songs such as the very Curtis Mayfield lo-fi Pusherman vibe of It’s Enough that even shares the same message of public outrage of racism and ignorance that still hasn’t changed all of these decades later. “45 caliber in the face. Shot him in the head because of his race. Now that he’s dead, will we plead his case? While the execution is out on grace. I just thought that things would get better. It’s enough.”

And what would a Lenny Kravitz album be without the funky dance hits and this one doesn’t fail to deliver. Majesty of Love is like a disco hit stripped from the Chic era days of Studio 54. That accompanied by Who Really Are The Monsters which is more of a dirty thumper taking us back to the gritty world of Black Velveteen.

The album is filled with more surprises and I was very pleased with the softened exit with the closing track I’ll Always Be Inside Your Soul that is a perfect song structure that somehow is calming, but not sleepy.  Written as if Prince himself woke Lenny up in the middle of the night and laid the lyrics on the cool side of the pillow. Completist. Final. Buttoned up perfectly like Stevie Wonder as he was sewing up Innervisions.

This album is exactly what I expected to hear from Lenny Kravitz a couple of years ago and I am so glad that he finally delivered. This album is fantastic and probably one of my favorites in this genre of music out of the past few years that I can honestly think of. I knew that his album was coming, but I just thought he was too far off track to ever get back to it. And I am so glad that I was wrong.

Do not hesitate to pick up this album. It is magic. I truly love this album. Thank you Lenny Kravitz. Get this album now. 5 out of 5 afros without hesitation.

5 out of 5 afros

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