With the demanding opening track “Rock and Roll Is Dead”—which, with its tough-minded guitar riff, immediately evokes memories of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin—Lenny Kravitz shows he's not ready to concede defeat for the music he grew up on, even if the lifestyle was getting to him at that moment. Kravitz may be a modern rock artist with his big toe always testing the waters of funk, R&B, and any style he feels he can pull off. But he knows what his core audience admires most about him, and it isn’t just his fashion sense. Circus was released during a low point in Kravitz’s life, yet several of these songs are among the finest he’s ever recorded. The title track features stellar harmonies and a warm, revolving riff. “God Is Love” turns up the spirituality as well as the psychedelic sounds with an intriguing treatment of organ, drum, and vocals. “Don’t Go and Put a Bullet in Your Head” is a literal plea to his audience to not follow Kurt Cobain’s example.

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