Lenny Kravitz

It Is Time for a Love Revolution

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Never let it be said that Lenny Kravitz lives in the past -- he knows that 2008 is all about the resurrection of Led Zeppelin, so he's constructed his eighth album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, as a virtual tribute to the mighty Zep. Once he dispenses with the neo-title track -- a signature two-chord, fuzz-tone stomp recalling "Are You Gonna Go My Way" -- Kravitz turns his attention to a stack of old Zeppelin LPs, borrowing the close of "When the Levee Breaks" for the coda of "Bring It On," echoing "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" on "I Love the Rain," recycling the JB groove of "The Crunge" twice (once freshening it up with some Dirty Mind synth on "Will You Marry Me"), and then stitching together the verse of "Ramble On" and the chorus riff of "The Rain Song" for "If You Want It," all before inverting the "No Quarter" riff for the song's furious conclusion. Clever classicist that he is, Kravitz does all this without outright thievery, drawing knowing allusions to sacred texts and then meticulously constructing an album that feels and plays like an LP from the golden age of gatefolds. What his newfound obsession with Jimmy Page's guitar army has done is revitalize his overly familiar aesthetic, giving him another palette of colors to splash across his re-creations of the past. This new coat of paint surely helps It Is Time for a Love Revolution feel fresh, but it also helps that he has written some of his best classic rock pastiches in years, songs powered by big hooks and bigger harmonies. As sonic sculptures, they're damn near irresistible but, as so many Kravitz songs are, they're about almost nothing but the sound. Always one who favors a sledgehammer to a scalpel, he bluntly addresses his dying father in "A Long and Sad Goodbye" and the Iraq War in "Back in Vietnam," never digging deeper than the messages in the titles, while the rest of the record is dominated by rhymes only slightly more complicated than those of "Fly." Then again, insight has never been among the chief reasons to listen to Lenny Kravitz: his knack for shaping sound always has been his main gift. And by the measure of pure sound, It Is Time for a Love Revolution is a glorious feast of retro-rock pleasures -- a feast of empty calories, perhaps, but sometimes fast food is more irresistible than a five-course meal.

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