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"Let Love Rule" was released back in 1989 as the debut album from Lenny Kravitz. The Rock singer, who also introduced elements of Funk and Soul into his music, came with this as his first offering to the game as he brought something fresh with a very varied set of influences which inspired his sound; highlighted by the many instruments which he himself plays when recording the record.
1. "Sittin' on Top of the World"
Lenny kicks off this album with a fresh one as he comes with a very nice tune which initially comes through in acoustic fashion before it then develops to take on more Blues (in terms of the style in which he sings) and Funk in the way the rest of the music surrounds him. It makes for a very nice one, however it is held back by a few bum notes that the singer comes out with along the way; thus preventing it from being a flawless starter.
2. "Let Love Rule"
Advancing the music a little more, we find that in this one the artist greats us with a nice little low-paced commercially-directed Rock song that's quite laid-back, but during some point hints that things may be taken a bit further into more Hard Rock (although it doesn't actually come with this particular track). It was a tune that I wouldn't have liked if anyone but Lenny did it and so his charm seems to be the biggest factor in the music here.
3. "Freedom Train"
This is a short one on the release and has the artist showing just how nice his is on the electric guitar. I saw it as a stand-out piece on the album as we get a short blast of a little intense material where he takes things back a little towards his influences in the Psychedelic Rock of the sixties and early seventies to push for a sound that few other in the late eighties were really going for (as it would have just sounded outdated).
4. "My Precious Love"
The artist sounds to be a bit all-over-the-place when you consider when he's been on the past few tunes and where he takes things here as he goes for a Soul tune here. I thought that it was a bit of a mistake to take a traditional approach as his vocals are so raw and so sound as though he's just desperate to include this on his debut when in fact it doesn't suit the overall sound of the piece at all.
5. "I Built This Garden For Us"
Kravitz seems able to pull things up a little as after a few tunes that simply didn't do it for me at all, he's able to push for a fly sound that shows that he's able to control his influences and isn't always taken away with them and so is able to come up with his own unique interpretations of the a fusion of styles instead of going all-out in a direction that may seem a little too far for the way that this release seems to be going.
For this one, you find that we get a straight-forward mid-seventies Funk sound coming through the composition this time around. I thought that it was great to see more of this side of things being brought into the mix of the release, and so it may excite those who were down more with the Blues Rock elements of his music. It played directly up to my tastes, by is far from where we were on the last cut.
7. "Does Anybody Out There Even Care"
On this one the music backing up the vocalist is pulled right down to something quite minimalistic. I felt that this was a bad move as at this point in his career, the artist's voice really wasn't too good at all and so he's not really able to carry the whole song in the way that he'd probably wish or hope it sounds like. He tries to get away with the approach that many others have, but in modern times it just sounds wack.
8. "Mr. Cab Driver"
We get an up-tempo this time around as the New York decides that he should try out a style quite far from what he's usually about and so turns to a little Rockabilly with elements of more traditional Rock of this sort of time. I felt that it was good in the socially-conscious nature of the music as he attempts to address racism, however I wasn't all that keen on the actual song itself as the Rockabilly side of it put me off.
He suddenly takes things in a completely different direction once more as here he decides to slow the pace right down for this one as he tries to push for a cut that has him showing off more of what his vocals are about in a more intimate setting as we get a simple acoustic session where the guitar and a harmonica are the only things assisting his voice. It wasn't really for me, but I can see where he was trying to take it.
The album ends here as he comes to bring a cut that has him singing the Blues once more, but trying to put it into a modern setting. I thought that he did a good job with this one as he manages to get the most out of his powerful voice (without losing pitch) for once on the thing and it carries the messages in his lyrics better in order to ensure that you aren't put off by that to start off with.
I saw this as a decent album from the artist. There was a lot within it that I took a liking for, however I'm sure that many would find it hard to look past his vocals on the majority of the tunes as they are lacking quite a bit and so take away from the experience of hearing the music as you'd like (and would expect from a professional piece such as this).
This was Lenny Kravitz first album, released in 1989 and it is very much his own work as he didn't really use other musicians or producers in creating his very own vision of a musical landscape.
This album is all about love and the love he felt for his then partner, Lisa Bonet (Formerly of the Cosby Show). The album was a slow starter but eventually sold over 2 million copies once it had reached Europe.
While Kravitz as any new artist is, was compared and denigrated for being a poor man's Jimi Hendrix, they share a funky soul filled musical style but this album is much more about the musings of a man in love, than someone trying to push back musical boundaries.
For me the standout song, Mr Cab Driver is fun, funky and really sums up Kravitz as a performer, yes it does sound a touch like Hendrix, but no more so than any song of this kind would. It has a catchy chorus and a real hook to it.
Other songs include Let Love Rule which is a trippy psychadelic musing on love, I really like this song and it doesn't sound like its from the eighties it sounds older and is rich in style and content.
Sittin on top of the world is another highlight with its lovely arrangement.
Flower Child is funky in a prince-esque way whilst I built this garden, has an amazing arrangement that really marks Kravitz out as a rule breaking musician not afraid to take risks.
The album is an incredible debut, it does sound a bit like Hendrix, but sounds a bit like the beatles, a bit like T-rex a bit like John Lennon and a bit like Prince, it overwhelmingly sounds like a musician with an eclectic taste who wants to experiment and use his voice and skills to create new musical boundaries.
I really enjoy the album and it still sounds fresh today, a definite 4 out of 5 album that marked Kravitz down as a future star.
Sittin' on top of the World
Let Love Rule
My precious love
I build this garden for us
Does anybody out there even care
Mr Cab Driver
Blues for Sister someone
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Sittin' On Top Of The World
2 Let Love Rule
3 Freedom Train
4 My Precious Love
5 I Build This Garden For Us
7 Does Anybody Out There Even Care
8 Mr Cab Driver
11 Blues For Sister Someone
12 Empty Hands
13 Flower Child