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Lenny Kravitz 

It Is Time for a Love Revolution (Virgin)

Wednesday, Feb 27 2008

Lenny Kravitz hates it when critics call him retro, contending that love, revolution, and smooching should belong to every generation. But the problem with his new album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, is not just its bland message; it's that it rips off artists like David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Queen, lock, stock, and (pole-) smoking barrel. "A Long and Sad Goodbye" sounds suspiciously like "Bohemian Rhapsody," while "I Love The Rain" is pure Zep. Kravitz even gets his J. Lo on via "Love, Love, Love," which anachronistically updates her "Love Don't Cost a Thing" for the 1970s. ("Don't need no air condition, don't need no one to get me laid," he explains, confusingly.) Mostly, however, Kravitz rips off himself, especially on "If You Want It," which borrows the mood, the central premise, and, even a lyric from his 1993 hit "Believe." Throw in some of the most basic metaphors — guess what "Back in Vietnam" is about? — and you have an album only a ninth grader could love. Then again, Kravitz' tunes helped me get lucky at a Snow Daze dance or two back in the day, so maybe I should stop complaining.

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Ben Westhoff


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