The very title of Strut makes Lenny Kravitz's intentions for his tenth album plain: he wants to swagger, he wants to get off on his moves. To underscore the whole carnality of it, Kravitz calls the album's opening track "Sex," just the first song in a parade of pleasure, pain, and dirty white boots. Any of the attempted sociopolitical overtures of 2011's Black and White America have been abandoned, jettisoned along with the stylistic excesses that pumped that album to double-LP length. Strut doesn't bother with any of that nonsense. Like so many records from the golden age of the LP, it's just 12 songs and if it weighs in at a slightly hefty 53 minutes, it's because Lenny has a hard time stopping a good groove and Strut consists almost entirely of grooves. He'll slip into a sultry slow jam -- "The Pleasure and the Pain," "I Never Want to Let You Down," and a cover of Smokey Robinson's "Ooo Baby Baby" that's fine but unneeded -- and he'll tip his hat to Bill Withers on "Frankenstein," but he devotes most of the album to disco and glam, dedicating individual tracks to each style ("The Chamber" is pure glitter-ball rock & roll, "I'm a Believer is all foot stomps and handclaps) but usually finding the point at the Venn diagram where it's all big beats, heavy hooks, and dirty sex. Kravitz deploys all his considerable sonic skills on songs that are purposefully trashy and unapologetically fun and the result is pure pleasure.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine