Lenny Kravitz, Baptism

The self-proclaimed Minister of Rock 'n' Roll has been releasing some stagnant music as of late. Kravitz's bad luck began with the emotionless, but profitable single "American Woman" and continued on into 2001's Lenny. Baptism is supposed to represent a departure from his past works, but instead, we get a mix of old and new. "Lady," "Sistamamalover," and first single "Where Are We Runnin'?" are straight up rockers, cold and formulaic enough for rock radio. And "Baptism," "What Did I Do With My Life," and gentle closer "Destiny" are the strongest songs on the album because of the lyrics dealing with Kravitz's struggle with mortality. Also, the return of the saxophone on many of the tracks, a sound heard on his earlier albums, is a nice juxtaposition to the wild guitar solos. Baptism leaves me feeling content with Kravitz's musical direction, walking the line of popularity but reaching for depths of artistic growth. (Virgin/EMI) Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

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