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Lenny Kravitz - Baptism LP [Virgin]
Lenny Kravitz - Baptism
Tracklist:
1. Minister of Rock 'n' Roll
2. I Don't Want To Be a Star
3. Lady
4. Calling All Angels
5. California
6. Sistamamalover
7. Where Are We Runnin'?
8. Baptized
9. Flash
10. What Did I Do With My Life?
11. Storm
12. The Other Side
13. Destiny
Virgin seem to be going through a red phase. Many of their recent releases seem to have a red theme to the art work. Recent examples being thboth the N*E*R*D and Kelis LPs and associated singles. Now the mad rocker Lenny Kravitz is back and guess what, his LP cover has a red theme too. He is pictured lying back naked in a pool of red liquid with his quitar across his chest. I'm not sure if the liquid is blood or simply paint and whether there is any signi=ficance. Their probably is with the title of the LP being Baptism.

The LP weighs in at 13 tracks long and is pretty much Lenny's own work. What I mean is that he has written, produced and performed all of the music with their only being one guest on the whole album. As a return favour for appearng on Jay-Z's LP the rap superstar appears here courtesy of Roc-A-Fella.

Lenny Kravitz has always been one to do his own thing and whilst his influences have been obvious, e.g. Jimi Hendrix, he, never the less has paved his own path and this LP shows that with total creative freedom he is indeed his own man.

This his 7th LP kicks off with a super funky bassline and lovely open drums. Lenny sings in a real pained and emotional way, but although it is what is expected from a track called Minister Of Rock 'N Roll I feel that the electronic guitar spoils the track. On I Don't Wanna Be A Star for some reason I get a feeling of '80s icon Terrance Tret D'Arby. This is an easier and more hypnotic track and demonstrates Lenny's versatility and songwriting ability.

Lady is an ode to a woman he fancies in a bit of a more jump up style whereas Calling All Angels is a slow paced ballad in all senses of the description with its soft pladding piano accompianamnet and Lenny's gentle rendition. As the LP flips baqckwards and forwards California comes with a real power guitar riff, but the singing is basic and not energetic. There is a Bee Gees retro feel for sure to this tune.

Sistamamalover brings more funk and this is more the side of Lenny that I am feeling rather than the heavier rock element. Lenny is a mish mash of styles and over the years he has found the ideal ways to combine all this and it makes for an authentic sound.

What could be the title track Baptized doesn't have thr impact you would expect. It is another slow track and when compliling the tracklist for this I would have tried to make the songs sit next to each other with a flow and ebb rather than this continual stark contrast. Flash seems to be a rather average rock track. What Did I Do With My Life? starts off like the old Hamlet advert, but progresses like a rock opera track or something like that. It is very much a story telling track and emotional too.

Nearing the end of the LP we get to hear Jay-Z's contribution which is pretty much slotted into a more standard Lenny Kravitz track as you might have a rapper slotted for one verse into an R'nB track. Jay-Z has grown on me since his last album and here he put in a reasonable performance. The track has a bit of a simper and less full arrangement which does lend its self to the addition of an MC, but in a way with the rest of the LPs content this could seem a little out of place.

All in it is pretty much the LP you would expect from Lenny and for me there were definately moments that made this worth checking out. The cover booklet as with many booklets these days features moody photography of the singer / songwriter in his studio picturing him playing both guitar and drums depicting his Prince like contribution playing a multitude of instruments as he does. The complete lyrics for the LP are reprinted here too.

http://www.virginrecords.com

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