Lenny Kravitz
Black and White America


2.5
average

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
August 31st, 2011 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Boongie drops.

From its ill-advised working title – Negrophilia (!!!) – to its egregiously bloated tracklist, everything about Black and White America seems like an exercise in bad judgment. In an age of online file-sharing and Internet-driven buzz, where everyone is either hopelessly brainwashed by the popular music currently burning up the charts or buried under a surge of indie isolationism/elitism, Kravitz is apparently yet to realize that his core demographic is getting increasingly smaller. To that end, his insistence on producing a “special project” of funk songs seems anachronistic at best, and hilariously misguided at worst.

Truth be told, the nature of the project probably wouldn’t have mattered as much if the songs themselves were any good, but Kravitz’s predilection for writing albums that are only mildly sprinkled with gems – in the fashion of particularly sparse chocolate rice cupcakes – works against him like never before. The album-opening title track may have the benefit of a funky bass line and decently introspective lyrics (“In 1963 my father married a black woman/And when they walked the streets they were in danger,” Kravitz explains), but it is nowhere near powerful enough to launch an album of this size. Elsewhere, “Come On Get It” has Kravitz straining angrily against himself with repeated and energetic exhortations of “Come on! Get it!” (surprise), yet the track never quite manages to get anywhere even mildly interesting.

Yet, the record’s most baffling inclusions are reserved for the tail-end of affairs: “The Faith of a Child” and “Dream” – soppy ballads that both sound like they were inspired directly by the tepid “Cry” and “Don’t Walk Away” off the late Michael Jackson’s Invincible – only thoroughly emphasize how out-of-touch Kravitz really is with the art of writing a solid and filler-free album. Even a pair of belated appearances from Drake and the throne-watching Jay-Z isn’t enough to rescue Black and White America from its own disaffectedness. All told, although the entire affair isn’t patently bad, it succeeds in being so unremarkable that it ends up being instantly disposable. Lenny Kravitz has bottomed out – yet again.



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3
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

S'up guys. Comments and criticism always appreciated.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011


6487 Comments


Album's probably an excuse to tour again...

Nice review man!

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

Tyrael
August 31st 2011


20900 Comments


Alternate summary: meh

Fantastic review Irving!

eggsvonsatan
August 31st 2011


1087 Comments


Sounds like Lenny Kravitz making his best attempt at being poignant and relevant.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 31st 2011


23909 Comments


ugh I can't stand Lenny Kravitz

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

aok
August 31st 2011


4440 Comments


excellent writeup as usual good sir, so have another pos. i like some old kravitz - probly not gonna check this out though.

maybe you could benefit from a bit more imagery - like what's going on with you as you hear the stuff or what messages is kravitz subtly trying to convey? if that even makes sense.

cheers 1rv1ng

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


16431 Comments


good review, it seemed a little short/empty at first, but the conclusion wraps things up rather nicely. pos.

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks for all the kind words guys.

@ aokuneff and Sowing: Yeah, the review is a bit on the short side. And to be frank - it's nowhere near my best. I had worked on a much longer one for the past five days or so, but it simply wasn't working out for me. I deleted that particular iteration and wrote this one instead in under half an hour. In my defense, I appear to have got a bit of a problem getting my head around writing negative reviews recently...I guess I just kinda dislike writing about albums I don't enjoy?

Promise to do better for #56 =)

aok
August 31st 2011


4440 Comments


i haven't written any negative reviews, and i'm not planning to any time soon either. The energy it would take to wrap my head around beats i don't like, i'd rather just use writing about the stuff i do like.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The energy it would take to wrap my head around beats i don't like, i'd rather just use writing about the stuff i do like.

Yeah I have to say I feel you. Unfortunately, writing negative reviews is also part-and-parcel of being a music reviewer, so...

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


16431 Comments


LOL ITS STILL A GOOD REVIEW

aok
August 31st 2011


4440 Comments


yea man, i posd it. i was just saying i personally would struggle with a neg review

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

LOL ITS STILL A GOOD REVIEW

Haha, it's not good "enough" for my liking though SS. It's my goal to improve with every review...and it just didn't happen as much here. But that's okay -I'll just have to do better next time. I guess it's true what they say - you are your harshest critic.

Also, am I to assume you are currently working on a RJA review? ;)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


16431 Comments


dude you know me too well

i tried twice and gave up twice, maybe tomorrow

madden '12 is cutting into my review time, not to mention that there hasn't been a really great release IMO in weeks

Irving
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I actually tried reviewing the new RJA about a week ago and simply couldn't do it. I think it was the I-don't-wanna-write-about-albums-I-don't-care-about thing again...also I couldn't really decide whether I really hated the album or found it standard "radio metal" throughfare.

(I eventually decided on the former; objectivity rating - you understand.)

There hasn't been stuff that really piqued my attention this week too. And hey - I've been distracted by a sports game a lot in recent times as well. Holy shit so many similarities.

iFghtffyrdmns
September 2nd 2011


7047 Comments


an actually short review from Irving!? WHAATTT!?!?

still, you packed quite a lot into a few small paragraphs, so very well done.
I'd say it reads like a 2, but really that's just overly nitpicky haha

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 3rd 2011


7311 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haha I've actually done many short reviews actually - there must be at least six of them floating around on this site. So it's not THAT random =p

Thanks for stopping by, iFght =)

bonus
December 17th 2011


47 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Accurate review. Lenny's output is becoming increasingly low in quality. Use to look forward to new music up until his self titled "Lenny" album.

TheMilQ
July 7th 2012


57 Comments


well... I only love the opening song! nice review though!



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