Lenny Kravitz hates it when critics call him retro, contending that, like Mark McGwire, he's not here to talk about the past. Further, he goes on, love, revolution, and smooching should belong to every generation. But the problem with Kravitz's new album, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, is not that it delivers a bland message, but that it rips off artists such as David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Queen, lock, stock, and (pole) smoking barrel. "A Long and Sad Goodbye" sounds suspiciously like "Bohemian Rhapsody," while "I Love the Rain" is pure Zep. Kravitz even gets his J.Lo on via "Love Love Love," which anachronistically updates "Love Don't Cost a Thing" for the Seventies. Mostly, however, he rips off himself, especially on songs like "If You Want It," which borrows the mood, the central premise, and, yes, a lyric from his 1993 hit "Believe." Throw in some of the most basic metaphors conceivable — guess what "Back in Vietnam" is about? — and you've got an album only a ninth-grader could love. Then again, Kravitz's tunes helped me get lucky at a Sno Daze dance or two back in the day, so maybe I should stop complaining.
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