September 17, 1995 in Features

Kravitz Borrows Heavily From Everywhere

Jim Farber New York Daily News
 
Tags:music

Surprise! Another slavishly derivative record from Lenny Kravitz!

At least this time, rock’s most flagrant recycler decided to rip off some fresh targets. Instead of bowing to the usual totems - Hendrix, Mayfield, Lennon - Kravitz now slides down the inspirational food chain to slobber over acts like Wild Cherry, Rick Derringer and Ted Nugent. Half the tracks sound like rejects from “Cat Scratch Fever.”

What’s next? A salute to Styx?

Not that Kravitz leaves his early signposts entirely behind. The song “Tunnel Vision” finds some dubious meeting between Hendrix’ “Crosstown Traffic” and Derringer’s “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” while “The Resurrection” stitches flaky Led Zep-style psychedelia to the bombast of the Moody Blues.

Zeppelin proves a crucial reference throughout. The cut “Beyond the 7th Sky” takes its cues entirely from Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks,” while Kravitz offers a bar-band version of a Jimmy Page solo in “Thin Ice.” It’s enough to make the Black Crowes seem like pioneers.

At least groups like Green Day take sounds associated with other bands and personalize them with their own wit. But Kravitz’s nasal vocals hold no emotion, his wobbly guitar shows no character and his words display no experience.

When addressing a severe depressive in the song “Don’t Put a Bullet in Your Head,” he blissfully tells him, “just turn your life around instead!” When talking to a poor person who’s considering knocking over a liquor store, he tells the guy to just hang in there - a comment that could come only from a child of privilege like Kravitz.

Not that the singer cares much for the real world anyway. Like many people who have little to say about this world, Kravitz spends an inordinate amount of time feigning awareness of the next.


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