Sound — 8
On his last studio album, "5", some felt Lenny Kravitz had over-embraced his advance into recording and producing with technology suddenly added to his ever-refreshening arsenal of musical sounds and directions. The utilisation of atmospherics, much layering and textures within his work enforced the simple-go-effective rock of old times to be somewhat sacfrificed for a deeper, more emotional, subtle finished product. To say "Lenny", his sixth studio, is a return to form would not be far off the mark, but at the same time it would not tell the full story here. The sound is very much back to basics; the majority of the tracks with the feel of 4 or 5 musicians jamming in a rehersal space (not literally of course being Lenny)as a pose to the dozen of tracks worth of layers. However the record is arguably his finest yet from a production standpoint, cohesive and bold, and the sound tips it's cap more and more towards a soft-rock, borderline pop edge, so whilst taking a step or two back, the progression is still there in that respect. It starts off all energy, "Battlefield of Love" with it's tradmark funk-inspired riff, infectious chorus and awe-inspiring wah-wah lead guitar gets things rolling almost perfectly. After this, the rest of the album either follows suit or drives down an anthemic street, "songs written on an accoustic guitar" road. that's certainly not to suggest it's poor, on the contray, "Yesterday Is Gone", "A Million Miles Away" and single "Stillness of Heart" boast possibly the biggest chorus sections Kravitz has ever written in his career, structured and executed with a standard that would certainly beat any standards set within that genre proposed by a pop artist/indie artist. "Belive In Me", textured with atmospherics synths and vocal samples is the only real reprise of "5", closer "Lets Get High" also sounding somewhat in the same mold, but more anthemic. However, you just know Kravitz works best under pure-rock conditions, as groove-laden "Pay To Play", fast paced "Bank Robber Man" and standout single "Dig In" certify. All riff, solo, big melodies and nothing but pure anthem, Kravitz reminds us with these tracks amongst others that rock can be the most thrilling genre around, if only more people stepped up and had a go.
Lyrics — 9
With Lenny Kravitz it's simplistic, straight, easy rhymes and to the point but yet so, so emotional. It will grate those who like lyrics of a deep and symbolic nature, but for those who don't favour lyrics being presented like a morse code, Krav will do nothing but satisfy. Love and peserverence being the main topics, and many "I can relate" to that moments.
Overall Impression — 8
After a couple albums of slightly lesser material (compared to the very high standards set earlier in his career) "Lenny" comes back more mainstream yet more rocking for sure, this being certainly his best record since 1993's "Are You Gonna Go My Way". The simplistic combination of hard rock and soft rock a breath of fresh air down the necks of those genres which are on TV just far too much at present.