Lenny Kravitz Goes Back To His Vintage Vibes With ‘Raise Vibration’

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Lenny Kravitz dropped his 11th studio album, Raise Vibration on Sept, 7th, making a return to his earthy roots and iconic rockstar swagger. Those Led Zeppelin- esque chunky guitar riffs being-played-through-a-vintage-tube-Marshall-Stack-vibes are back in full force, along with a perfectly sprinkled dose of reggae. Motown soul and 70’s funk all played through a Helios console-the same one that would have been used by Zeppelin and Hendrix. Fun Fact: Lenny purchased the console directly from Leon Russell, Jimi’s keyboardist for Band of Gypsies. But we digress…at its core, Raise Vibration is a high testament to Lenny’s rocknroll swagger. And we couldn’t be more pleased.

This is one of Lenny’s best efforts to date, with songs that are both meaningful with heavy spiritual undertones-and at times, politically charged. Music lovers that have been following Lenny’s career are going to appreciate the mixture of the rastaman-earthy-hippie-rockstar vibes that Let Love Rule introduced us to him as along with the iconic rockstar swagger that Mama Said brought.

In a recent interview with Billboard Lenny explained that he practically dreamt the whole entire album, “Everyone stepped up to give their opinion like you should do this or you should do that.  And it got to the point where I was really confused about who I was at that moment after Strut. So I just had to stop all the noise and I got really quiet and just stopped. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Then all of a sudden, a few weeks later, I started dreaming, and the music started coming out in my dreams. It was beautiful, and I prefer that. I never really sit down to write. I always wait until I hear something, and it’s usually come to me in dreams. But I never really dreamt a whole album. But these tunes just started pouring out, and I just followed instructions, man. It was all about getting what was in my head, what I was hearing in my dreams, recorded as authentically as possible to what I was hearing subconsciously. There was no plan, no design. I had no idea how I was going to do it. And when you listen to the record, you can hear a lot of different textures, from rock to soul to reggae.”

The first single, “It’s Enough,” is an immediately likable song but the video for it can be tough to watch. The track’s video conjures up the soundscape of different cultures of people–namely the poor and people of color oppressed by raging war and police brutality. The song begins innocently enough with Kravitz wooing you in with a sweet, bouncing Marvin Gaye groove until the lyrics kick in and you realize the serious nature of what the song is about and that see that the video is using actual real footage, it might not be for everyone. 

On tracks like Raise Vibration, he beckons his listeners to seek out a relationship with God. “Just like Jesus/ As he teaches us, do it like the Lord/ Be a vessel/ never settle For the status quo/ Love will lead us and complete us/ This is what I know”

On “We Can Get It Together”, his lyrics pour out like a prayer from his soul, not unlike King David of the Bible in his Psalms. Deliver me from selfishness/ Deliver me from brokenness/ Deliver me so we can get it all together/ I thank you Father/ For giving me life beyond the grave/ Blood is the power/ So now I don’t have to be afraid/ I hear the truth, I know the taste/ I read your word, I feel your grace/ I need to do an about face/ Right into you so we can get it all together

“Here to Love” is a soulful ballad that commands the listener to “love, and not judge one another” backed by a full gospel choir that makes you feel like you’re in Church listening to a hippie-like charismatic preacher.

Another stand out track, “Low,” is a funk-tinged easy-groover about keeping a relationship grounded. It’s sexy, smooth, and dance floor ready. And for all the music heads out there,  Michael Jackson is on backing vocals—maybe one of the most absolute stamps of cool there is. 

Raise Vibration’s only serious shortcoming is its lyrics at times, which stumble whenever they reach for grand proclamations on the state of the world. Some may find some of his lyrics sappy like on “Here To Love,” a ballad that asks “Will we learn from the past / Our clock is running fast?” but his vocals are soulful and moving, and the sentiment is still very much needed in today’s society.

But, what is the thing that makes this combination of songs a good, solid album besides the piercing guitar solos, the psychedelic overflows of the synthesizers, the funky bass lines, the saxophone, the Christ-like messages…and of course – Lenny’s impeccable voice, which could literally hold its own as the lead in a gospel choir? The simple message of love-a message Kravitz has been spreading for 30 years now.

 

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