LENNY KRAVITZ & r & & r & It Is Time for a Love Revolution & r & & r & 4 Stars & r & & r & As the reigning avatar of 1970s power rock, Lenny Kravitz is the most retro-cool guy in America. He grabs a hook, pens a catchy lyric, lays down a solo, even a string section (if it's a power ballad like "I'll Be Waiting") -- repeat 14 times and you've got a new record. So what if it's a paint-by-numbers approach? There's something undeniably primal about it -- like he has the secret formula for tickling the part of your brain that sets your head rocking.
All Lenny's records are personal, and this one's no different, with odes to a lost relationship with his dad ("A Long and Sad Goodbye") and, like any musician these days, our current military predicament ("Back in Vietnam"). But his flower power sentiments ("Love Love Love," "Love Revolution") are still the best. As it was in the '60s and '70s, so it is today -- time, indeed, for a love revolution.
-- TED S. McGREGOR Jr.
DOWNLOAD: "If You Want It"
Bob Mould has reached the age where it's hard to believe that there's much left for him to do without sounding like he's ripping himself off. With Husker Du and Sugar long behind him, Mould stretches back through his musical history in order to fashion his latest effort, his first since Body of Song in 2005. Regrettably, he does so with mixed results. None of the tracks from the new album actually suck, but none of them actually shine. As a whole, the album resonates with competence, which is something of a backhanded compliment.
Even amid the limitations of most of the songs, "Old Highs, New Lows" reveals Mould at his best. His voice resonates and reverberates across his meditations in this dreary number, punctuated by acoustic guitars and keyboard wonders. If only more of the songs possessed this kind of completeness. There's always next time.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.