It’s been a whopping 25 years since American singer/songwriter/actor/philanthropist Lenny Kravitz burst onto the scene, quite notably he self released his debut album Let Love Rule because labels just weren’t buying it; we’re sure that those labels would still be spewing over how successful he is now. He’s responsible for holding the record of most consecutive wins in one category AND most consecutive wins in one category for a male at the Grammies (Best Male Rock Performance from 1999-2002), and not to mention some great acting seen in Precious and most recently and currently The Hunger Games franchise. Lenny is back with his tenth studio album Strut, it’s his first LP since 2011’s Black and White America so the world is hungry for some more Kravitz, the release will also be the first release on Roxie Record which is Lenny’s own label.
The album’s sophomore single Sex begins the show with its gnarly, enthusiastic arrangement and Kravitz’ vocals are as good as ever; lead single The Chamber is a bit shaky in parts, the vocals don’t really deliver the verse as well as the instrumentation does, but the chorus is delivered with precision. The attitude we know and love from Kravitz is present in the rough Dirty White Boots, whilst New York City is six minutes and twenty-three seconds of classic rock n’ roll that’s addictive; The Pleasure and the Pain is a nice, smooth rendition with a great melody and a memorable guitar riff. The melody in the verse of title-track Strut is almost a direct unenthused rip off of his own hit Are You Gonna Go My Way, which is a little disappointing, but the chorus kind of makes up for it with its vocal delivery; at least the tempo and the guitar parts were different.
Frankenstein has a great rock-meets-soul vibe that keeps you entranced in its entirety, She’s A Beast has a more laid back sound to it with its acoustic guitar introduction, its guitar parts sound Country influenced; there’s a good ring to I’m A Believer, its inspiring lyrics and catchy chorus keep you hooked. Happy Birthday has a great piano part playing along in the background and a cool guitar solo, but the overall impact of the track wasn’t so big as it lacks the gift of wow; you can almost sing Happy Birthday over the top of I Never Want To Let You Down and vice versa, they are both similar sounding tracks which is a little nail in the coffin for the album’s diversity between tracks. Ooo Baby Baby isn’t too bad of a track, it allows for the album to end on a smoother more classic kind of a vibe.
Strut definitely goes Lenny Kravitz’ way, but the last handful of tracks just didn’t seem to cut it, which is unfortunate because there were a handful of tracks that really stood out; the highlights were definitely Sex, The Chamber, Dirty White Boots, The Pleasure and the Pain and Frankenstein. There were a few moments where particular sounds began to appear exhausted and recycled (particularly with Strut, Happy Birthday and I Never Want To Let You Down) which really led the album down the less versatile path, not that the overall vibe wasn’t crash hot or anything, but we just needed to hear something a little different. 25 years in the business and Lenny Kravitz still has it, he just needs to release an album that is more killer and less filler; Strut is a good album from the icon, it just doesn’t raise any bars like some of hi past work.