Lenny Kravitz: Black And White America

First new material from Planet Kravitz in three years.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

With working titles of Funk and, erm, Negrophila, it comes as no surprise that the follow up to 2008’s Is It Time For A Love Revolution? finds Kravitz acknowledging his long standing debt to soul, funk and gospel.

His ninth solo album, then, is crammed full of musical and lyrical nods to everyone from Curtis Mayfield (Black And White America) to Gil Scott Heron (Life Ain’t Ever Been Better Than It Is Now) and Prince (Sunflower), delivered with the zeal you’d expect from pop’s most assiduous magpie.

It also exudes a creative freedom that must come naturally when you’ve sold 35 million ‘units’ – it’s doubtful R&B-meets-ragga mash-up Boongie Drop would have made the cut otherwise. While his ear for a killer pop-riff remains acute – In The Black is a neat re-hash of Kim Wilde’s Kids In America – there’s little else here for those who prefer Lenny in Flying V-toting Superfly mode.

With 16 tracks weighing in at a hefty 66 minutes, it’s also way too long, but Kravitz’s soul-searching is never less than propulsively funky and, having recovered from a nasty bout of bronchitis in 2008, its feels like necessary cleansing of the creative pipes: funk as therapy.

Paul Moody is a writer whose work has appeared in the Classic Rock, NME, Time Out, Uncut, Arena and the Guardian. He is the co-author of The Search for the Perfect Pub and The Rough Pub Guide.