Lenny Kravitz

It Is Time for a Love Revolution (Virgin)

Lenny Kravitz hates it when critics call him retro, contending that love, revolution, and smooching should belong to every generation. But the problem with Kravitz's 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 "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, he rips off himself, especially on songs like "If You Want It," which borrows the mood, the central premise, and, yes, a lyric from his 1993 hit "Believe." Throw in some of the most basic metaphors conceivable — guess what "Back in Vietnam" is about? — and you've got an album only a ninth-grader could love. Then again, Kravitz's tunes helped me get lucky at a Sno Daze dance or two back in the day, so maybe I should stop complaining.

 
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