Lenny Kravitz: Black and White America

Lenny Kravitz
Black and White America
(Atlantic Records)

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Black and White America begins with a 70’s Stevie Wonder-like groove on the title track, then moves to James Brown-isms–complete with screams and staccato horns–on “Come On Get It” (every bit as moving as “Are You Gonna Go My Way”). Next is the slow, subtle, sexy, high falsetto leading “Liquid Jesus,” then the straight ahead (and so catchy handclaps and chorus) of “Rock Star City Life,” and the great beat but too-cliché rap vibe of “Boongie Drop” (featuring Jay-Z and DJ Military). Following is the truly poppy “Stand,” the bass pop of “Superlove,” the jangly “Everything,” the truly poignant “Looking Back On Love,” which opens into a nice medium love song groove. Then comes the absolutely perfect spick-and-span tight snap of “Life Ain’t Ever Been Better Than It Is Now,” with its layered production of horns/guitars and basically a whole song built on just one groove, then his John Lennon take on the strings/piano/horns of the beautiful “Dream,” all the way through to the piano roll and great guitar leading of “Push.”

There is funk here, rock and roll, specifically tight playing (especially the drums and bass) and some really good songwriting from a guy we expect all that from…and we get it. For a 70’s nut like me, the sounds and grooves on Black and White America just tickle me pink. (I know for a fact that Mr. K. is a collector of great 70’s recording gear and instruments and it really shows here.)

From beginning to end, Black and While America is a great, great album.

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