Friday, June 29, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 60: Lenny Kravitz - Circus

Album - Circus
Artist - Lenny Kravitz
Key Players - Lenny Kravitz does it all (bass,guitar,drums) on the bulk of the tracks. Craig Ross plays guitar on a fair # of tracks.

Produced By - Lenny Kravitz

Release Date - September 12, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Being a fan of his music there was a few to choose. For some reason when the time came I was drawn to this album. No real reason, other than I felt like giving Lenny a listen again.

Overview - This is the 4th studio album from Lenny Kravitz. The album was a little different than his previous records as it had some heavier religious overtones. His debut went Gold, and this album went gold but the two in between each sold over 2 million copies each (Gold in the USA is 500,000 sold)

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens up with one of the more well known Kravitz tracks "Rock And Roll Is Dead". Its a straight up rocking tune that asks the very question, or states that rock and roll is dead. For the bulk of the album Lenny plays all the instruments, which is quite a feat, but none of the drum, bass or guitar parts are over the top. They all do their "part" if you will. "Circus" opens with a single guitar that leads to a bass and drum beat. Its a much slower track than the opening track but Lenny is in fine voice on the track. Opening with a very "John Bohnam" esq drum beat "Beyond The 7th Sky" hits down hard. A single chord on guitar strums over the drum tempo and first verse of vocals. The are some pretty slick bass riffs towards the end, but the drums are really the showcase, again as simple as they are. The blistering "Tunnel Vision" follows. Hands down a top 10 song I have seen performed live (see the personal comments). The guitars are crunchy and there is a slight compression on the vocals. The bass pretty much takes the lead on this track. The guitar has a little more "waka-waka" wah wah pedal to it. The are some synths as well. The one semi-dud to the track is the guitar breakdown towards the end. Its slows the groove, but the drums bring it all back in for the second part of the guitar solo. Live, this track has some great horns. "Can't Get You Off My Mind" is the ballad, love song dujour on the record. This particular track was a single from the album and garnered some radio play. Opens with a dual electric and acoustic guitar and simple drum beat. The song is about the woe's of the road, or whatever else the listener wants it to be. Look at the title of the song! A little past the half way point a hidden gem of a Kravitz song lies in "Magdalene". There is something about this track that is infectious. Not sure if its the rhythm section or how he sings the line "She wears the pants on her hips to looooooooooow". Its got a great summer time groove to it. "God Is Love" opens with Lenny singing the words via a heavily processed microphone. Sounds a little like he is singing down a tube as well. Its a mellow, trippy track, that personally I find to be "skippable". "Thin Ice" is another heavy drum driven track. This track has a great funk feel to it with the bass and drums complimenting one another well. Never thought you'd hear this but "Don't Go And Put A Bullet In Your Head" opens musically like a lounge song. Its got canned back beats and a slow guitar chime underneath. Its a slower tune with some organ work as well. Nothing really flashy or ground breaking going on other wise. "In My Life Today" leads off with a solo acoustic guitar before the band comes in. A very psychadellic sounding track it is one of the longest tracks on the record as well clocking in over 6 minutes. Lenny has a lot of emotion in his voice on this track. The chorus is a great "sing along" chorus. Towards the end Lenny sings out the "today" line with a lot of phase on the vocal. He holds the note for a fair amount of time too. Personally, its a 'scan back' moment on the track, i could listen that one part over and over again. The album closes with "The Resurrection" which slowly fades up with acoustic guitar. After a little bit the drums come seemingly out of now where and hit down hard. Its got a very "Led Zeppelin feel" at times. As the song grows to a close Lenny emotes a lot more vocally. What may have bored the listener at the start should now have their attention.

Where are they now? - A new album is due on November of 2007. Lenny has also recently begun work with a design firm.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - Lenny does put on a great live show. The first live show I saw with him was February 9, 1996 in the pretty small, Orpheum Theater in Boston. I will never forget the live version of "Tunnel Vision" that was probably 15 minutes long and it slayed. The second time was May 28,1999 at the Tweeter Center. The thing that stands out about that show, besides it being the first concert i went to since my daughter was born was that during the closing tune "Are you Gonna Go My Way" the lights began to fade up in the venue then the power was cut. I made a b-line for the door at that point. I didn't want to be in some sort of melee (nothing happened)

FDF Overall Take - Like him or not Lenny is a pretty talented guy. Paul McCartney used to do the bulk of the work on "Wings" albums, and the same holds true for Stevie Wonder on his records, but for Lenny he just gets pigeonholed as some "classic rock knock off". As stated earlier, is the stuff overly "complex" no, is it fun and fits his sound? Sure. The peaks and valleys of this record are many. The good songs are good the not so good songs are not so good (talk about being vague). For the casual fan a "best of" collection will do the trick.

Lenny's myspacepage

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

These are using a new mp3 host. These tracks are from MTV Unplugged (all acoustic) the version of all along the watchtower is from the "Concert of the Century". Its a great version w/Eric Clapton.

******MP3's HAVE BEEN REMOVED August 2, 2007 5pm ET*************

Are you gonna go my way
Let Love Rule
Always on the Run
My Precious Love
Fly Away
All Along the Watchtower

Again, new host so if there are issues fire away in the comments.

One place you can buy the cd is

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 12:08 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Yeah, Lenny's pretty great. But Ben Harper's better.

(Oh snap, no he didn't.)


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