Mama Said

Mama Said

Lenny Kravitz has been served more sour critical ink for his often bald-faced, "channeling" of classic rock and r&b than any artist in recent times. It's not that pop artists as far back as the Beatles haven't suffused their music with similar cloning, but that few have done it with Kravitz's shameless abandon. The follow-up to his surprise breakthrough Let Love Rule is at least grounded in some genuine emotion (the break-up of his tumultuous marriage to actress Lisa Bonet), even if it serves it up via a is-it-real-or-is-it Memorex? sensibility that freely draws on sources as varied as Zeppelin ("Always on the Run," with guest Slash subbing for Jimmy Page), Curtis Mayfield (the falsetto-fueled Philly soul of "What Goes Around Comes Around"), and John Lennon ("Stand By My Woman"). Still, it's delivered with undeniable passion and chops; a fine evocation of 1971-even if it was released two decades later.

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